Ricoh 500

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by grahams, Jan 10, 2006.

  1. I have been wanting a Ricoh 500 for some time, as it was the
    first "proper" camera that I ever owned, back in the late '50's.

    Produced from 1957 to around 1959, the Ricoh 500 underwent some
    changes in styling and specification. It is a basic rangefinder
    camera with a fixed lens. The "original" 500 has a flat top plate
    and does not have a bright-line viewfinder. A later model (De Luxe)
    has a stepped top-plate and a larger viewfinder with bright-line
    framing. Another variation was the flash synch/delayed action
    setting - mine has a small lever on the side of the shutter ring for
    X-M-V, a previous version had an adjustable ring on the front of the
    lens barrel. It has a 45mm f2.8 Riken coated lens which gives good,
    but not brilliant, results and exhibits a fair amount of curvilinear
    distortion. The shutter is a Seikosha with speeds from 1 sec to
    1/500th. The later model 519 was fitted with a 45mm f1.8 lens with
    exceptional performance. There is also a black paint version, which
    is quite rare.

    Two features make the Ricoh 500/519 stand out from the crowd - one is
    the focussing, which is adjusted via two "paddles" that protrude on
    either side of the focussing ring at the base of the lens barrel.
    With the camera held naturally, these are extremely easy and quick to
    operate with a finger of either hand. The other is the film advance -
    this is done with a bottom-mounted lever similar to the "Leicavit"
    concept except that it swings through an arc of about 160 degrees,
    and with practise, a fairly rapid frame advance rate is possible.
    The viewfinder is nice and clear, with a bright rangefinder patch.
    The strap lugs also swivel, which is a nice touch.

    Here are some of the shots from the first roll of film that I have
    had through the camera - Ilford Delta 400 processed in Ilfosol-S for
    7 mins at 20C. They were taken in Ipswich just after Christmas, St
    Nicholas Street being named after you know who.

    The Ricoh 500
    <img src="">

    Silent St, Ipswich
    <img src="">

    St Nicholas Street
    <img src="">

    Church in Ipswich
    <img src="">

    <img src="">
  2. Nice shots! I just received a 500 from my brother-in-law complete with a meter that slides onto the flash shoe. He purchased it when he was stationed in Korea in 58 or 59. Unfortunately it hasn't been used in years and the shutter is sticky It will work properly for a shot and then not work on the next one. Part of the time the shutter will trip when the film is advanced. I would like to get it fixed, but don't want to put a huge amount of money in it. If someone has any ideas let me know. Your posting makes me want to try mine out>
  3. Very nice work.
  4. I have a Ricoh 500 that I inherited from a dear friend. I value it for that reason, however it does perform rather well. Mine has the Ricoh 28mm wide angle adapter & case, which I've never seen anywhere else. I used a sharpie marker and put a black dot on the rangefinder, which makes it a lot easier to focus.

    I like this camera a lot, and would never part with it!
  5. Nice shots with a full range of tones. That's a rather unusual post box in the first shot.
  6. David - If I remember correctly, the emblem on the Royal Mail post box is "VR" - Victoria Regina.
  7. Memories, Memories---I had a Ricoh 500 back in the day (middle '50s) but my ex-wife took as part of the settlement. Since then I acquired a Ricoh 519M which I've been using from time to time for some years (backup for my Pentax MZ and Panasonic FZ4). As you can tell, I'm an amateur and have been since WWII. That 519M keeps right on clicking away. Incidentally, the meter works and is accurate enough to use. You just have tap the grid occasionally, I guess to wake it up.
  8. Nord, Jeff & Ed - How about posting some shots from your Ricoh's here?

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