Tag Archives: ricoh

Ricoh FF-9

There is something about this camera from 1988 that I absolutely love. I think it is the way the flash pops up from the side when it is needed. Or it might be the lovely selection of modes that are not easily found on other point and shoots, including multi exposure. It is a nice size for a bag, but not a pocket. AND it has a slot for a cable release, that is quite rare indeed. Quite smart looking all round.

I took mine on a trip to Blackpool when the weather was quite miserable. This camera coped beautifully as you can see by my results below.

What a cracking little camera 🙂 Cheap, cheerful..does what it says on the tin with a little extra class.

Oh and it looks like WordPress are updating their gallery settings, so things might be a bit iffy until they sort that out. Sorry about that, but if it stabilises I think it has lots more options for the creators.

Ricoh KR-10

Sometimes, I am enough lucky to be given cameras to try or am offered great swaps. This camera was one of those swaps. It is a basic SLR from 1980. It has manual mode or aperture priority depending on the lens. Two regular button batteries can power the coupled light meter guide in the viewfinder, but does not control the camera.

As you see it looks like a classic SLR should. It would be perfect for a beginner or someone who is not bothered by bells and whistles. You can find a few technical details here. The camera is activated by moving the film advance to uncover the red dot. Without a battery the mirror can lock up if the shutter is activated, but the red X will release it. The film advance has one of the shortest movement I have experienced.

The first time I tried it I didn’t particularly enjoy using it. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. Maybe I foresaw the test photos from an expired film.

As you can see the lens worked fine, but everything was underexposed due to the age of the film. At this point I was not sure if it was the camera or the film. I was using the camera in auto mode.

As everything seems to be working I gave it a second chance. I loaded it with fresher film, Kodak Ekta 100, and tried a different lens. I also put on a shutter release button as I have not tried one before. I thought pimping the camera might make me like it a tad more.

It worked, I enjoyed using the camera much more this time. Ironically, it was only spoiled by the button. It made the shutter much more sensitive. When I wanted to get a light meter reading by a half press, the shutter would fire. I got use to it eventually and stopped being so heavy handed.

Anyway, here are some of the photos from the second test.

Well, much better. If you want to get into film photography this camera is simple to use and cheap to buy. It is basic, no bells and whistles at all, but reliable. It is a Pentax K fit so lenses are easy to get. It is slightly bigger than a Pentax ME Super which I prefer, but much smaller than some other SLRs.

I have many cameras like this so I won’t be keeping this one.

I eventually sold it to a photography student, perfect.

Ricoh 800 EES

This is another swapped camera, I still have quite a few to go through from that pile of swaps.

This one is from 1974 and while searching for it online, the word rare came up a few times. It was quite tricky to find any information about it. From the information I did find, it has shutter speeds from 4 seconds to 1/800th. That is where the 800 in the name comes from. You can find all the technical details you need here..in French.

As you would have seen in the details I linked to, this camera uses an awkwardly sized battery. The person I got the camera from had a clever workaround which meant I could use the more convenient LR44. A pile of tinfoil wrapped in electrical tape. The other slot was a perfect size for 2 LR44, which are a slightly higher voltage. You might need to change the asa settings if you try this.

I took the camera to Bradford city center and Moses Gate Country Park. The weather, as usual, was rainy and cloudy. I used Fomapan 100 and pushed it to 400, though the camera does have a setting for 800asa film. I found the camera very quiet, but a little disturbing as there was no information in the viewfinder at all. The rangefinders second image was very faint so I added a piece of black tape to the viewfinder to aid focusing.

When I finally finished the film I developed it as usual and waited for it to dry. Then shock horror, my scanner would not turn on. SERIOUSLY!!! It is three months old and I haven’t used it often. I tried different cables, different sockets, but nothing I did would bring it back to life. I was left with the task of calling Canon. The guy on the line was very helpful, but it didn’t make it magically work again. I had to send it to their one and only service center in the UK. It came back in less than a week with a new power “thingy”. It was a bit of a worry as I am working part-time at the moment and scanners are not really essential or cheap. Anyway, I can recommend the Canon service center in the UK.

Moses Country Park


I do also have a cheap portable 35mm scanner. Though the cheap scanner’s results are ok, it crops a lot of the image. Neither scanners are as sharp as I would like. Here are some side by side scans from the two ones I have.

Ok, my final thoughts. I love this camera. If you can find a good one get it but be aware, it will not work without batteries and the batteries might be an issue.


Ricoh XR 500

As you can see from the label, I got the body of this camera for $10 in a junk shop. I already had a lens that fit it due to another purchase. It was clean but needed the seals replaced and for once I did a pretty good job.

It takes 2 regular LR44 batteries for the light meter, but it does work without them in a manual mode which a huge bonus. The light meter consists of a circle on the inside right of the viewfinder. Just match the needle to the circle by changing the speed or aperture. To turn the meter on, move the film advance lever to uncover the red dot. The film advance has one of the shortest movements I have come across. And that is it, all you need to know. Manual focusing of course.

The XR 500 was produced in 1978. There is also an auto version but it seems to be lacking features too and this great blog does not recommend it. However, how many features do you really need?

I did find it a little heavy and a touch big considering the lack of features. BUT you can pick them up very cheap on eBay so it is a perfect camera to start with if you want to learn the basics. PLUS the Pentax-K fit means finding a lens is also a breeze.

I put in some Fuji 1600 natura which I had had lying around for ages as I was going to a festival. I wanted to try it without a flash. In retrospect it wasn’t the best camera to try it with as I do have another camera with an f1.4 lens, this lens only had f2.5. Plus it was untested at this point. I also tried it on a very bright day, which was tough for the film too.

I have another roll of the film which apparently can only be bought in Japan, but really I wasn’t impressed. It might be the processing or scanning, so worth another try.

Keep or sell: I am going to keep the lens. The body is not worth selling from Japan due to the postage rates, so I think I will put it in my-not-sure-what-to-do-with box and lend it to people who want to try film. I would recommend the camera if you are short of cash, but there are funkier, better cameras out there if you can spend a little more.

Ricoh GR1v

This is the second of the cameras lent to me by an associate. The first being the Russian one here, which I was not impressed by. However, when I saw this camera from 2001 I almost snatched it out of his hand. Really a GR1…not only that a GR1v. Holy Guacamole, and I can use it?

Apparently, it had been stuck in a cupboard for a while…with…shock horror…the battery still inside. Luckily it hadn’t leaked so that was not a worry. So I put in a new battery and turned it on. The lens came out, but the LCD was completely blank. Apparently this is such a common problem that there are many blogs written about it. This one gives a way to fix it and so does this one. This blog gives you instructions on how to use it even if the LCD does not work. I wish I had read that first.

As it was not my camera and by far the most expensive camera I have held, I was not even tempted try to fix it. The Ricoh GR1v is worth over $200 broken…if it is working then double or even triple that.

When a couple of other friends saw this camera, they could not understand why…why is it so expensive? It is not big, it is a point and shoot, why?

I gave a few reasons. Firstly, the lens. It should be super sharp and with f2.8 it is great for low light situations. You also have control over which aperture is chosen, see the dial on the top. Secondly, and a great feature for those who know how to use it, you can override the ISO coding. That means you can push films, a 400asa can be used as 1600asa if you so wish. In P-mode the camera does all the choosing for you. There is also manual focusing, bracketing and a wide 28mm lens. There are a few other features, but most of these and those features were inaccessible to me due to the LCD issue. Basically for me, this really would be a point and shoot.

This great blog shows you what the inside viewfinder looks like, but this one was also not working…was the camera actually working? I put in a Kentmere 400 and got to shooting. Here is my test roll.

Wow, I love this camera. It is light, thin and easy to carry. It works in low light, just check out the forest and shrine photo. I was disappointed with the minimum focus length, but if the LCD worked it would not have been an issue.

Keep or Sell: It is not mine, I have to give it back. Would I buy one if I could…hmm tough question…It has many weaknesses, the LCD and the motor are both prone to breaking. So maybe not for the price. BUT if I was given one I might use it constantly until it broke.


Ricoh SE2

I thought this was such a funky looking camera, coupled with the fact it still had the lens cover…I had to try it. Then I found out it was a half frame. Did I still want it? Yeah, ok.

The seals on this 1976 camera were completely shot and disintegrated on touch. So I changed them before I even thought about trying it. The selenium cell seemed to be working fine, but what was that weird dial on the bottom? It turned out to be a spring loaded film winder. It worked intermittently, I was never sure when and how to charge the spring. If it didn’t cock the shutter you could also wind it manually.

There is a great blog post here in Chinese, (use Google Translate), that really explains how to use the camera, plus there are example shots of some pimped up versions. It almost made me want to do that to my camera. The review explained the red dot in the middle of the viewfinder. If there is not enough light a red dot will appear, it there is enough light the dot will be yellow. Mine camera’s dot was a little light and I didn’t really think about it too much. If you leave the camera on auto the speed is 1/125th, if you use it on manual aperture then it is 1/30th. That is way too slow for me so I left it on auto most of the time, but really…one film speed?

I took the film to a festival and then around and about. This camera got more attention and comments than any other I have walked around with, but did it work?

Yeap it worked. But as a half frame, it took forever to finish the film and there were a lot of shots. There are so many shots that this time I could not be bothered to remove all the hairs from scanning. I didn’t think the quality of the shots was worth the effort.

Keep or sell: I gave this one away because I don’t really like half frames…though this camera was one of the coolest I have tried.

Ricoh TF-500D

For me, this is a pretty ordinary point and shoot camera. It is one of the few times I was not attracted to or have any feelings towards a camera. I just wanted to get the film finished. I am not sure why. I was testing two cameras at the same time and I felt the same about both of them. I don’t think my love of cameras has diminished, but these two cameras definitely tested my resolve.

Anyway, this camera is from 1987. It has a focal length button to switch from 40mm to 80mm and a black light compensation button. You can read more about the technical details on the previous link and this one.

I decided for this camera to use one film on one day at one event. So I took it to Takaosanguchi and the Fire Walking Festival. Back in the day that is what you would do, take a camera and a film and use it at some outing…not like now where we document every second we breathe or mouthful we consume.

Here is my fuji 100 film.

I think the camera was a bit hit and miss. There is haze on some shots, but clear on others. But, crikey was it hot….we had to move back when the pile of spruce was lit. I could feel my coat melting. How those guys stayed close I have no idea, magic. You could stand in line to walk on the ash, but I had no desire to do that. My feet have the skin of a baby and blister at the slightest provocation.

Keep or sell: sold.

Ricoh Mate

This is a fully manual camera from 1960. I could not find much on the net about it, though of course, Butkus has a manual.

This junk find seems to have taken a bit of a ding to the f2.8 45mm lens barrel. There isn’t much to this camera. As I said it is totally manual, with a self-timer on the side. The V and X is where you will find this setting V = self-timer, X= normal shooting. The R on the back is for rewind mode. Focusing is performed by looking at the small diamond in the center of the viewfinder. And that is it. The camera is sturdy and solid…it can withstand a ding at some point in its life.

Here is my test roll.

The first few shots were over exposed, my fault not the camera. I think it worked very well.

Keep or Sell: Though it seems to be quite rare, it is not the camera for me. I have no attachment to it at all so will put it on eBay and hope for the best.