Ricoh XR-10 and RKN 35-70/3.5-4.8: A Pleasant Surprise

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by CoryAmmerman, Oct 12, 2020.

  1. Hello Modern Film Camera enthusiasts.

    Thought I'd take a few minutes to share my initial experience with The Ricoh XR-10, also know as the KR-10x in some markets. I purchased this camera and lens combo a few years ago and never got around to running any film through it until recently. It's a bit more modern than the cameras I'm usually attracted too, but it had a low opening bid on eBay and uses the Pentax K mount (which is what I was actually looking for at the time), so I put in a bid. Apparently no one else was interested. So for the princely sum of $4.99 plus shipping, it made its way to my house.

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    It had been advertised in "unknown working condition," but everything works with one exception. Whatever mechanism is supposed to prevent you from advancing the shutter until an exposure is made does not work on my copy. Luckily, I only had one blank, though I did have an instance where two frames overlapped.

    It's not exactly a popular camera, so I'll add a bit of info here. The camera was introduced in 1984. It uses two SR44/LR44/357 style batteries to power both the meter and the electronically controlled shutter. The shutter offers speeds from 1/1000 to 16 seconds plus Bulb. There is no mechanical speed for use if the batteries die. Aperture priority automation with exposure compensation of +/- 2 stops (1/3 stop increments) is available in addition to full manual exposure. Exposure lock is also available via a small button on the right side of the lens mount that stores the current exposure setting until the shutter is released. the meter is activated by either the shutter release button or a rectangular shaped button near the grip where the user's middle and ring fingers rest while holding the camera. I have decently long fingers, which means this button is always being pressed whenever I'm holding the camera, but not a big deal.

    According to the literature I received about the lens, it is constructed of 7 elements in 7 groups. Though advertised as a "Macro Zoom." It's more of a close focusing zoom, as so many other lenses of this type are. The maximum reproduction ratio is 1:5 at 70mm and at minimum focus distance of 0.4m. Available apertures range from 3.5 to 22 in full stop increments. The lens is of the push/pull type. My copy zooms easily and smoothly, but the focusing is a bit stiff, though it is also smooth in action.

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    The image above illustrates what that 1:5 ratio looks like. It was taken at either f4 or f5.6. I would consider the bokeh acceptable, though the rather busy background of this image doesn't help.

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    This image is also at minimum focus distance, but at the wide end of the zoom. Aperture was f4, if I remember correctly.

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    The above image is cropped, but I didn't notice much vignetting in any of my uncropped images.


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    There does seem to be a bit of barrel distortion at the wide end, but I don't find it bothersome in most instances. I didn't notice any distortion at the long end, but I didn't really take any images that would demonstrate that very well.

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    I would consider sharpness to be good throughout the range. Contrast is also acceptable, but I have pumped it up a bit in post processing these images.

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    In case you missed that barrel distortion before, here it is again. Probably not the best lens for architectural stuff.

    Overall, I found the camera pleasant to use, and an altogether capable kit. Both the camera and lens incorporate plastic into their construction, but both feel solid. Definitely worth the $5 I paid. Thanks for looking.

    (Film was Fuji C200. Scans were done by me on an Epson V600, edited in Capture NX2.)
     

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