Ricoh Auto 35

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This camera should not be confused with Ricoh's 1990's fixed focus point and shoot camera of the same name.


The Ricoh Auto 35 is a fixed lens viewfinder camera made in Japan by Ricoh from 1960.

The camera design was very original for a Japanese camera. From 1964 the Soviet company KMZ made a copy of the Ricoh Auto 35/35V, named Zorki 11.

The 1961 Ricoh Auto 35V is an evolution of the Auto 35 model, and the Richomatic 35 added rangefinder focusing too. This was also copied by KMZ as the Zorki 10.

With a fixed focus lens, and selenium meter controlling auto-exposure, all the user has to set is the film speed, making the Ricoh Auto 35 a simple point and shoot camera.

The film speed is set by a control ring on the lens barrel with a scale numbered 6 to 2 (plus M flash sync and Bulb). These numbers are described by a table of film names on the back of earlier cameras, and film speed ranges in ASA and DIN numbers on later cameras. The numbers 2 to 6 correspond to ASA 10-16,25-32,40-64,80-125, and 160-200 respectively. This dial actually sets the shutter speed (e.g. 1/25, 1/32, 1/50, 1/100, 1/160 respectively) and the selenium cell determines the appropriate aperture using a trapped needle mechanism.

For flash exposure, the same dial is set to M (1/25) and then a small switch on the underside of lens barrel is set to the camera to subject distance within a specific feet/meters range. This control sets the following apertures: 6-8 feet is f/20, 12 feet is f/8, and 25 feet is f/4.

By using the flash distance setting (aperture control) and the film speed setting (shutter speed control), the camera exposure can be set manually, e.g. film speed option "6" combined with "flash distance 12 feet" gives an exposure of 1/160 with f/8.

Specifications

  • Type: viewfinder camera
  • Films: 35mm
  • Lens: Riken Ricoh 40mm 1:2.8 (3 element in 3 groups)
  • Filter size 49mm
  • Shutter: Seikosha 500 Series - 1/25-1/160 + B (user manual speed specification). Note: this spec., conflicts with information on Ricoh's website, which quotes a shutter speed range of 1/30-1/400 plus B.
  • Exposure control: Automatic Exposure.
  • Focusing: Fixed-focus 5 feet (2.5 meters) to infinity.
  • Dimensions: 132mm x 66mm x 59mm
  • Weight: 460 g


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