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.
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.
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.
|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.
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’.
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.
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 :).