Lens: Ricoh 40mm f2.8 Color Rikenon
Focus: 3 Zones with clicks, but does also have a distance scale in metres.
Shutter Speed: Auto only – not displayed in finder
Aperture: Auto only – displayed in finder via a needle
Meter: CDS sensor on the lens
ISO: 25 – 400
Price Paid: £2.50
I picked up this little compact camera, presumably from the 1970s, from a flea market in Christchurch NZ for the princely sum of $5NZ (~£2.50 at the time). It was completely covered in dust and the light seals were decrepit but it seemed the shutter fired. The needle didn’t move in the finder, but I thought I’d take the risk anyway. It looked pretty cool though and I was intrigued if the f2.8 lens would be a hidden gem. So on my return to the UK I bought some light seal material and had a go at fixing it up. I’d never done this before but its really easy (although more on this later). It took me the best part of a year to actually get through the expired roll of Ilford Delta 100 I put in there, mainly because I kept forgetting to take it with me. There wasn’t much excuse for this – its relatively compact (it’ll fit easily in a coat pocket) and not all that heavy, even though its construction is mainly metal.
So here came the moment of truth, I decided to start home developing B&W again recently and picked this test roll to be the first. Not great scientific method (testing my B&W developing skills and also a camera I didn’t know if was working in one shot). It became clear quite quickly after removing the film from the Patterson tank after development that something had gone wrong. After inspecting the negatives I deduced there must have been a light leak on one side of the camera. How could that be? Hadn’t I replaced the seals well enough? So I picked up the camera and realised that I’d missed adding a strip by the film door. I guess because all of this had pretty much perished, I’d not noticed that there should be foam here. Furthermore on inspecting the camera I also saw that there was a weird oily looking reflection from inside the lens. This certainly had appeared recently and after some quick searching online for the symtoms the results seemed to imply that the glue in the lens had come unstuck. So in summary, not a great test of this camera, but it does look like they have alot of potential (see a review below with some good image samples) and are going cheap on eBay so why not try one out?
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