Ricoh 500G re-redux

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by jdm_von_weinberg, Nov 26, 2010.

  1. Ricoh 500G
    Kadlubek Nr. RIK0440

    other posts on this camera: (French)
    Manual at

    This is my third, and I think final, trek into the wilds of Ricohstan. This camera has some most excellent posts here already -- such as , , and , to do only some of the more recent ones--so it won't need much from me.

    Ricoh is still a major player in certain kinds of operations such as copiers, and there still are Ricoh cameras aimed at the popular P&S market. They have supplied a number of cameras for rebranding by Sears back in the old days (in this case apparently the Sears 35|rf).

    I was first given a Ricoh Hi-Color 35 ( ), then saw an ad for a Ricoh 500 ( ) that prompted me to get one on eBay, and then, finally at nearly the same time, got this one on eBay too.

    Not to make a mystery of it, my favorite of these has to be the Ricoh 500, although the spring motor on the Hi-Color makes it a close second.

    I didn't try to meter automatically with the Ricoh 500G, although it came with an intermittently live battery. Instead I just used my Gossen meter, which in this case is not just nearly, but actually larger than the camera.

    I like the 500G, but found it much more difficult to focus than either of the other two Ricohs. The focus ring is a small ring on the front of the lens, and it's actually easier to change the speed, even accidentally, than it is the focus. I also found the small diamond of the RF to be a little hard to pick out in cluttered views.

    For all that, it's a pleasant little camera and the Rikenon 40mm f/2.8 seems to be a reasonably nice lens. If I take the great step and sell cameras, instead of just buying them, this may be one of the first to go.

    Again, for the record, I am staggered by the quality of so many of these RF and VF cameras at a time when "serious" photographers were all obsessing over the various SLR models. I know that at the time, I had no idea that the people packing these small cameras were getting so much potential quality for their buck.

    Here are the trio.

  2. The pictures were fairly decent from it - on Walgreens 200 C/N film.

    In emulating the market/street scenes that SP has done so well, I here went into the souk of my own town -- the Mall, of course.
    Top - one entry into the Mall - in this case, Macy's.
    Below, the brutalist post modern from the expansion of the mall some years ago.
  3. Next, A fetishist's delight
    and a potted abstract.
  4. Finally, the return of Fiesta Ware, Formerly the orange version of this pottery in the first wave of popularity for it, was made with a glaze of Uranium (U-238). I think the newer glazes are not radioactive.

    Then, a skylight.

  5. That's all folks.
  6. Very nice, JDM. That's really a cool little camera that grew on me the longer I had it. Very nice pics and a great demo of what it's capable of. That Hi-Color 35 looks really nice...
  7. The reason they had to be good back in the 1960's was that probably the majority of 35mm film sold then was Kodachrome. Projecting a Kodachrome slide on even a 40 inch screen is a very demanding test of a camera! A bad 35mm camera was made glaringly obvious by projected slides.
    Remember, Kodacolor wasn't even available in 35mm until 1958! 35mm was B&W or Kodachrome until then.
    These rangefinders were still the upper end of the market, if not the vaunted heights of the SLRs. Both were a very small market segment.
    The real working-class folks shot Verichrome Pan in some sort of box camera, likely a Kodak one taking 127, 620, or that new-fangled 126 film in a Kodak Instamatic. They might only shoot one or two rolls a year, but Verichrome Pan had great shelf life. Occasionally they might even spring for a roll of Kodacolor (or Kodacolor-X after 1963), but that was a big-ticket item. Color prints were very expensive then.
    Remember that Kodak made cheap cameras in phenomenal quantities.
    With little 3-inch square or 3-by-5-inch prints, any camera can look pretty good. This was way before 4x6 prints became common, which happened in the 1980's.
  8. The potted abstract is beautiful and has an ethereal atmosphere about it. Good camera indeed; perhaps you ought not to rest it for long. sp.
  9. Another very popular little camera, though I find the size, weight and construction not quite to my taste. You're lucky you didn't have to replace the gooey seals... But it's the results that count and one can't deny the quality of the images these little Ricohs produce. Thanks, JDM, for another interesting post.
    Good point, John, regarding the demands of slide projection. I've not seen that observation advanced before, but I shall record it !
  10. While Ricoh wasn't the big seller that Canon, Olympus, Minolta, and Konica was in RF, your results prove that it was a worthy competitor. Great shots and thanks for posting.
  11. Thanks all. John's point on Kodachrome and why these cameras had to be so good is a nice insight.
    Of course, although it might be clearer if you saw the whole roll of film, these were taken on Black Friday, and the mall was very busy.
  12. Is it me or is there a slight bit of fisheye distortion in Fiesta? I don't see it in the other shots though.
  13. No, the little 40mm does have a bit of "wide-angle" distortion. I was a little surprised to see that, but as you see, that particular subject with a straight line right near the edge was one that showed it off more. I don't see it in other shots and it's not normally an issue.
  14. I like the fact that these small cameras give so much "bang for the buck." I have a small Sears 35RF -- which is similar to the Ricoh 500G.
  15. Nice images, JDM. The little Ricoh 500G does take a bit of time to get the knack of working the small focus ring. I found my speed and accuracy improved with time. It's size, weight and optical quality make it one camera that I have hung on to over the years. Very few RF's come that small, that have lenses that sharp for so little money. And it looks so cool too!

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