Ricoh HI-COLOR 35

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by jdm_von_weinberg, Sep 21, 2010.

  1. Ricoh HI-COLOR 35

    1968, previewed at Photokina in that year.

    Kadlubek RIK1240

    It was kismet, fate, destiny. People were showing off their small, 35mm viewfinder and rangefinder cameras here, and I had nothing to show. Should I buy an Olympus, or eat a peach?
    I went into the local camera store to get the film for my various Exa posts developed, and I was showed a camera that I had not seen before, a Ricoh HI-COLOR 35. The owner didn't want it and so he offered it to me. When I got home, I found that the latest issue of Popular Photography, that is, my latest-- the issue of November, 1968, had arrived in the mail and there was the Photokina preview, with a story about the Ricoh Hi-Color 35!

    Its most interesting feature is probably the spring power motor drive that is built in. Like so many of these cameras, most features don't work without film in the body, so they are often mistaken for "dead." This one worked quite nicely, once it was loaded.

    I could not find a manual on this one, so had to work it out.
    I found out that the battery it needed was apparently an S76, not the larger one I had, so I shot a roll of Ilford XP2 in it using my Gossen meter rather than trying out the automatic (shutter priority?) exposure on it. Fortunately, I guess, since then it clearly belongs here on Classic Manual Cameras, right?

    First, here is the Photokina preview from Popular Photography of November, 1968.

  2. Here is my own shot of the Ricoh Hi-Color 35 with my Rollei 35 in the background and an Ilford film box in the foreground for scale. It's not so small as the Rollei 35, but it's still a tiny camera. Especially considering that it has a wind-up motor drive.

    The bottom view of the camera shows the wind-up knob, and the geared wheel beneath the lens for setting the shutter speeds.

  3. Honestly, I didn't want to spend a lot of time shooting my usual "masterpieces" if the camera turned out not to work, so I pretty much just snap-shotted around (cries of 'so what's new?').
    So here is the big bookstore. Since it has come to town, our anarchist bookstore has closed, as did the Waldens, but another locally owned new and used bookstore has thrived and still another kept going.

    As for the pictures, either (a) our placement in the New Madrid Fault Zone has affected the shots or (b) I am emulating Robert Frank [there are other possibilities but we won't go into those].

  4. The next two shots are just to see how the lens, a Rikenon 35mm f/2.8, does. I think pretty decently, especially considering the zone focusing.

    Top, more bookstore, bottom house siding.
  5. Finally approaching the camera store (B&L Photo of Carbondale, not to be confused with B&H of New York), and showing the processing facility at work, complete with highly skilled and able technician. ;)
  6. That's all folks.
    It's no Olympus or Rollei, but a very nice, serviceable camera. The motor drive is nice and needs no battery :)
  7. Nice shots. Great to see a working example of the Hi-Color 35. I found a Ricoh ad in a 1969 issue that listed the company's current models. I saw the Hi-Color there and thought it looked like fun. Thanks for sharing.
  8. Nice sharp pictures full of tones. I like the soft merging of the tones [Gradation] with the sharp definition in the pictures. Ricoh was not a market leader in the conventional sense. But, I think, they were technological leaders and produced many innovations, perhaps much like Studebaker and Packard in the auto industry. Thanks, sp.
  9. Impressive, most impressive. It looks very "sci-fi".
  10. That little Rikenon lens seems to produce nice sharp, well-toned pics, J.D.M. Nice find; I found one some time ago but the spring was kaput so I moved it on as a shelf queen. They're certainly a cute and relatively uncommon little camera. Thanks for an interesting post
  11. Very interesting and eye-catching styling. I have run across a couple of these types of view
    cameras and have found them to be very capable performers especially when you consider
    they were made for the average person to take a quick snapshot. Your photos show they
    were capable of more serious work in the right hands.
  12. JDM, Neat camera, but your shots indicate it's a Lo-Color model.
  13. Interesting post and unusual camera, thanks, but one thing intrigues me - what is a sewing machine doing in a photography shop? My wife would like to know, as she likes sewing machines as I do cameras.
  14. Great post, JDM. I saw one of these at the flea market a couple of years ago but passed on it, as there were a couple of pieces missing. It's nice to see what this camera is capable of. That's a very good lens!
  15. A good shooter, but amazingly noisy... the spring loaded motor drive is as discrete as a machine gun.
    Ricoh Hi-Color are funny camera"s"... with "s" because it was available with many different "dress" (leatherette with funny drawing).
    2 generations of model exist, the first you shown with rectangular release button on the front (named HI-COLOR) and 2nd generation with classic button on the top (named HI-COLOR 35). I'll try to publish a pics with both model side by side.
    If some of you are interrested, I have the manual scanned into 11 jpg, conctat me with MP.
  16. Cool camera. The shots sure look good and the spring wind is nifty.
  17. The sewing machine is used to stitch multiple photos together for panoramas.
    Gee, I thought everybody knew that.
    Nice and unusual camera.
  18. I think Marc has it on the sewing machine. Otherwise, I have no idea. ;)
  19. You forgot to mention the Hi-Color had an underwater "Marine Capsule" as an accessory.
  20. No, Tom, I didn't forget, I just plain didn't know. This little camera may be way cooler than I first appreciated.;)
  21. This camera takes a PX675 battery.
  22. I have several old mercury 675 batteries as well as the Wein cell, and they are much too big for the Ricoh. The only one that fits is the S76 silver oxide battery (1.5V), but I haven't had a chance yet to see if it actually works with the Ricoh.
  23. what is a sewing machine doing in a photography shop?​
    I thought it was for mending shutter curtains.
    But seriously, the real question is about the Agfa minilab. Is it an MSC101 ? What are they running through it now ? I haven't seen/used one ( or the D-lab) since Agfa packed up and left their Ridgefield Park, NJ digs a few years back.
    Also, that's a great excuse for being in the For Dummies aisle.
    Somebody catches you looking at CS3 For Dummies on the shelf, you tell 'em "No, I'm guestimating the distance for a test shot with my new camera." Then you whip out the Hi-Color.
  24. I don't have any details about the AGFA minilab, I think they picked it up (with the sign) someplace when the old one went down. If I remember (less likely than it used to be), I'll ask next time I'm in. :)
    Maybe it came with the sewing machine?
  25. Interesting camera and photos, I like the tones. Also attractive lab technician, did you get her number?
  26. The Hi-Color was a CDS cell version of the earlier Autoshot which sported a selenium cell around the lens. The cameras were pretty much identical, except that the flash shoe was moved to accomodate the battery compartment.
    I believe the "psychedelic" version with the stylish inserts in place of the plain leatherette, would have been the Hi-Color 35S. The "S" indicating it also had a self-timer.
    The Marine capsule was also offered in a smaller size for the spring driven half frames. I have actually used one of my Hi-Colors underwater and can report that it worked well, though I did not try the flash.
  27. I think the XP-2 does work better with higher contrast reality, as someone pointed out from Ilford's summary on another post. I was pleasantly surprised at the fine tonal gradations in the exterior shot of the bookstore, for example.
    My understanding is that the truly very attractive "technician" has already spoken for someone--sorry Ralf.
  28. Jean Moxhet very kindly provided the jpgs for the Hi-Color 35 manual so here is the pdf I've created from them for the thing.
    I also have to note that the manual does say a 675 battery, as Marc had noted.
  29. Here my 2 Hi-Color...
  30. Here a link to the 1970's catalog with the 3 different finish with funny leatherette. (
    I remember reading explanation about these funny "dress" been related to International Expo 1970 in Osaka. And the logo of the expo is visible on the catalog.
  31. Nice catalog, even though I can't read any Japanese. :)

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