Today's mail included a lovely little package for me. It's a Ricoh Five One Nine, a rangefinder camera I had never heard of until I saw it for sale online. I was intrigued by the fact that it seemed to have some unique features, and I'd never owned a Ricoh, so I bought it. As you can see from the photos, it's in excellent cosmetic condition. Apparently, a former owner intended to continue using it, but never got around to doing so, because there is a full roll of film in it. Oops! Well, I wouldn't expect the first few frames to be anything worth keeping, anyway, but I really should get in the habit of trying the film advance before opening the back. But, that expectant owner naturally kept the camera in its delapidated, but protective leather case. So, it still looks beautiful. You're probably wondering about that "fang" hanging down from the bottom of the camera. Yes, that is the film advance lever. The fang swivels, so you can tuck it out of the way or lower it for action. I actually kind of like it. It works well. It has quite an interesting opening mechanism, too. On the bottom plate, there are two multi-functional knobs. One houses the film indicator wheel, the other surrounds the tripod/carrying case socket. To open the case, you twist both of the outer knobs roughly 45 degrees, from C to O, and the back is then free to slide off. Pretty slick. Unfortunately, not everything else works as well. As usual with these rangefinders, looking through the ... well, I hesitate to call it a viewfinder, because it's more of a view blocker. The framing line is still very clearly visible, the yellow focusing patch not so much. And it's dark and dingy, and I doubt it was ever much better, to be honest. That's not critical, though, since the camera won't focus. As far as I can tell, the horns sticking out from the sides of the lens are intended to help the user shift the focus. But, nothing short of a 3 foot pipe wrench is going to move that ring. It's frozen solidly in place, at 6 feet. Great for portraits, I guess, but not useful for the kinds of things I shoot. I don't think the shutter is all that great, either. The slow speeds I tried... well, I'm really not sure what happened. There was a sound, but it didn't sound like any healthy camera I've ever tried. The faster speed that I tried, 1/50th, sounded pretty good. Not surprising, given the state of the lens. It's sad, though, because it clearly was a well made camera. You can feel the quality in the parts that still move, and I would have loved to try it out, but being limited to 6 feet ... it's just sad.