Ricoh Hi-Color 35

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The Ricoh Hi-Color is a viewfinder camera for 35mm film first sold in 1968, updating the spring-driven film advance concept Ricoh had promoted with the Auto Half of 1962 and the Auto Shot of 1964. THe Hi-Color went through several generations, with the key differences:

  • the Hi-Color (no "35") was the only model with a front-of-body shutter release,
  • the Hi-Color 35 has a top plate shutter release (There were two versions. Later models had a hot shoe while the early ones had no accessory shoe.),
  • the Hi-Color 35 S has a self-timer,
  • the Hi-Color 35 BT was all black and had a more trapezoidal body shape.

What all models had in common were:

  • a CdS meter,
  • shutter priority automatic exposure plus manual exposure control,
  • and spring powered motor drive.

The viewfinder comprises two objective lenses, an eyepiece, and two prisms in a double Porro formation [1], as found in binoculars.

One winding of the motor drive spring is sufficient for 15 exposures, which can be taken in rapid succession at the rate of one frame per second.

The USA Retail price in 1970 was $74 USD.[2] The 1979 Ricoh AD-1 and A-2 continued the spring-drive concept in a slightly trimmed-down body.


  1. A geometric prism with right-angled triangular end faces, such that light enters the rectangular face of the prism, is reflected twice from the sloped faces, and exits again through the large rectangular face. Because the image is reflected twice, it is not left/right reversed.
  2. Popular Mechanics, May 1970, p 144, Low-Cost Rapid-Fire Camera (second version Hi-Color 35)