This camera is similar in operation to the Vitessa 500 in that it is a compact, zone focus viewfinder camera although this allows for full manual control of shutter speed and aperture or the semi-automatic  aperture priority .

It’s slightly more compact and simple look and it doesn’t have any exposure compensation also the batteries are more easily obtained.

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There is a hot shoe for flash as well as a PC socket on the side.  Film speed is set via a dia on the front of the lens with the other exposure setting using normal rings around the lens.

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There is a CdS meter to check exposure through the viewfinder which seems accurate enough in this example with the needle indicating the appropriate f. stop; it only adjusts according to the shutter speed.

Make Model Film/format Year Lens Shutter Aperture
Ricoh 35 ZF 35mm compact viewfinder c1976 Rikenon 40mm 1:2.8 B, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250 and 1/500 F2.8-16

It’s much more lightweight compared with the Voigtlander Vitessa and feels less solid. Film winding is via the conventional thumb lever on the top.  Rewinding uses a release button on the base and a flip out crank on the top which pulls up to open the back as with many SLRs so it should feel pretty familiar  for most film photographers.

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As mentioned this is zone focusing with comfortable feeling stops for landscape, group and portrait distances; actual distances in feet and metres is also shown on the focussing ring for other distances.  If I’m honest I have struggled with the zone focussing on both this and the Vitessa mainly I suppose because I am used to having what I see in the viewfinder accurate and a few times I forgot to adjust; just takes getting used to.

Shooting this camera is simple and fun and I quickly took the whole film in a snappy kind of way.  If I didn’t have the Vitessa I would keep this as a pocket option (I’m still tempted anyway) I think maybe this comes under the heading of ‘cute’.

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Below are the shots from the test film which was Kodak Gold 200.  I actually shot these on the same day as the Vitessa hence my comparisons and both performed well.  In many ways this is a nicer camera mostly because of its familiar operation and weight.

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As a postscript to this I had a near disaster with this camera in that, after taking these shots I managed to allow the camera to fall off the edge of my desk and following that the exposure meter appeared to stop working (well the needle disappeared in fact); this was to say the least disappointing.  So I started to disassemble the top to take a look and suddenly it started working again.  I re-assembled and all seems to be good; must have just got stuck somewhere – disaster averted :).