Ricoh Auto TLS EE

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by yefei_he|1, Dec 1, 2007.

  1. Hello Friends,

    Has any of you played with a working Ricoh Auto TLS EE camera? How does it
    manage shutter priority with the M42 screw mount lenses? Granted only the
    special Rikenon EE lenses allow shutter priority, but still, I imagine they are
    still basically like all the other M42 lenses that the aperture diaphram is
    stopped down via pressing the pin. So does the camera adjust how much it presses
    the pin to set the proper aperture? That is quite challenging. On a related
    note, the Fujica D adapter allows M42 Fujinon lenses to be used on Fujica AX-5
    in shutter priority and program mode. Again, it must be controlling how much to
    press the pin to stop the lens. I wish some company would inherit the technology
    and make a new M42 camera that has shutter priority, aperture priority and
    program mode with M42 lenses.


  2. I have a TLS-EE (1973) but never took photos with it. The pressure needed on the shutter button is very stiff & heavy which detracts from convenient use. The open aperture lens operation & linkages looks to be rather unsophisticated as well. The cloth shuttered camera body is rather different than the earlier Copal Square equipped TLS Singlex. From what I understand the TLS-EE was not a hot seller so it was discontinued rather quickly. The similar bodied follow on SLX-500 (1976) is a more conventional stop down metering model with basic features. Ricoh TLS Singlex II (1976) was another later Ricoh M42 model, more of an upgrade on the TLS Singlex with similar specifications. That's the nicest of the M42 user cameras Ricoh's in my opinion despite stop down metering limitation. The much easier to use full aperture M42 cameras in my opinion were: Pentax Olympus FTL, Spotmatic F, Mamiya Sekor MSX & DSX, Fujica ST-801. Then there was the unique Chinon Memotron that emulated open aperture with most any M42 lens but again, a real heavy pressure on its shutter button was required. Maybe others can elaborate on the TLS-EE shutter priority feature and its unique lens to body coupling to achieve open aperture metering.
  3. Hi, Gary,

    I have a Singlex II and I think it's a nice solid camera as well. I think generally Ricoh is not as well regarded as some of the other brands such as Pentax, Olympus, Fujica, etc. But it did make quite a few innovative cameras, like the TLS 401, and the TLS EE. Is your TLS EE fully working, including shutter priority automation? I'm interested in acquiring it if you are not using it, you know:)


  4. I believe it must do some kind of distance registering as it pushes the single pin. The Mamiya NC1000, while not a screw mount is also a single pin camera, that sets the aperture by the amount the pin is pushed.
  5. You are right, Ken. The Mamiya NC1000 is like this. In fact I have an NC1000s. Nice little camera. So I guess when shutter priority was kept in mind during the design, it's not too difficult to achieve. This makes the EBC Fujinon M42 lenses more interesting. I'm sure they were out before the AX-5s and the D adapters. So, did the designers already have shutter priority in mind when they made the M42 lenses? And those lenses don't even have a special EE or Auto setting like the EE Rikenon and the Mamiya CS lenses.

  6. Yefei, Sorry, I want to hang on to my TLS-EE (at least for now) since I waited a long time to get a decent one on eBay at low cost. Watch eBay and they do show up on occasion. Since most folks don't understand that model or seek it out, they usually sell for less than $50. The ones with dead meters typically go for much less. I do like its build quality and rather unique mechanical design compared to other more popular Ricohs. I just don't care for its heavy shutter release. After using Copal Square shutters for so long and again afterwards, I wonder why Ricoh opted for cloth shutter on this model? Cloth type are typically much quieter but there must be other more compelling reasons.
  7. All right, at least one thing is clear to me now why "the open aperture lens operation & linkages looks to be rather unsophisticated as well". I found a manual online and it made it clear that the open aperture metering is not automatic -- one has to dial in the maximum aperture of the lens manually. That's clever and simple enough. Actually that's very nice -- open aperture metering can be achieved with any screw mount lens. Well not quite, since the maximum aperture that's allowed to be dialed in is 1.4, so those monster Tomioka f1.2 lenses are out of luck. OK, just dial in 1.4, use one's brain and remember to open up the aperture one stop more than indicated with those monsters.

    Gary, I'll start looking for that elusive under-$50 TLS-EE on the eBay. Hope nobody else reads this thread:)

  8. Yefei, I think the TLS EE automatic metering mode (open aperture) is dependent on using Ricoh's own 'EE' type lenses. Any other M42 lens would work in a stop down metering mode.
  9. Hi, Gary,

    I read the TLS EE manual posted on It does say any M42 can be used for open aperture metering. Which I think makes sense since the camera is capable of determining how many stops over/under exposure the combination of the set shutter speed and the fully open aperture is, and then, with the maximum aperture dialed in manually, it can tell what the correct aperture setting should be.

  10. Yefei, I just read the manual. Sounds like the open aperture 'optional method' they refer to is really a 'semi-automatic system'. You first take an eye level reading then move the camera down to set the aperture dial on top of the camera, then you place the camera viewfinder back up to your eye, focus and shoot. For all that effort I'm guessing its 'stop down mode' would be a lot faster and more practical under most picture taking situations. Anyway, if you want a much faster but different way to basically get the same job done, a metered Chinon Memotron camera should fit the bill with almost any M42 lens. Note: some M42 lenses will not seat on all M42 mount cameras - the Olympus FTL lenses are just one example.
  11. Right, Gary, It is open aperture metering with all M42 lenses, however unlike what we have come to expect with more modern lens mounts, it only shows the desired aperture setting, but does not take in the current aperture setting to compare against it. It would be a little easier if there's an aperture read out window that makes the aperture setting on the lens visible inside the viewfinder. But since the location of the aperture ring varies between different brands of lenses, it wouldn't be possible to cover all of them. This is very much like the Konica Autoreflexes, where the aperture setting is not communicated to the body and there's no aperture read out in the viewfinder. I found it inconvenient to use Autoreflexes in manual mode. I imagine it will be the same with the TLS EE. I agree the stop-down metering is more convenient.

  12. One correction. Looks like at least with the EE lenses, the current aperture setting does go into the camera body -- there seems to be a blue pointer on the aperture scale in the viewfinder that indicates the current setting. Must be some mechanisim similar to all those open aperture metering M42 cameras.

    I think I really need to get a TLS EE and actually try it out instead of analyzing the user manual all day:)


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