Ricoh KR-5 III
|A few new tweaks to a classic formula|
image by Clay James (Image rights)
Ricoh introduced the KR-5 III in mid-1994, theoretically as a successor to the popular KR-5 Super II. This was the end of a long line of beginner-friendly "Ricoh KR-5-something" K-mount SLRs. The "Super II" and the "III" (in common with countless other entry-level SLRs across the industry) were actually engineered and built by Cosina; and the KR-5 III is not too distant a cousin to the FM 10 from Nikon.
The new model introduced a few small improvements:
- ISO setting is integrated into the shutter-speed dial, moved from under rewind crank
- An "ME" lever alongside the wind lever, permitting double/multiple exposures
- A depth-of-field preview lever (stopping down the lens) near the lens release catch
- A PC socket to connect off-camera flash, on the end of the body below the rewind crank
- Half-stop over/underexposure now indicated by lighting both the green and a red LED together
In common with most other Cosina-built SLRs of the era, the film advance lever locks the shutter-release button and must be pulled slightly outwards before the user can activate the metering display with a half-press or make an exposure.
In some markets (Asia & Pacific?) the same model was sold as the XR-8 Super.
A simple manual-focus, manual-exposure SLR such as this one is the type of camera most often recommended to newcomers and students of film photography. In contrast to old stalwarts like the Pentax K1000, the KR-5 III offers several genuinely useful additions, including the self-timer, 1/2000 second top shutter speed, and the depth-of-field preview, albeit in a somewhat more plasticky package.
- A report on the PMA Atlanta trade show in the June 1994 Popular Photography, pg. 56, calls it the "replacement" for the KR-5 Super II.
- In fact the two models were sold in parallel for some time afterwards, e.g. see the "35mm SLRs Compared" table in the December 1996 Popular Photography, pg. 108. If anything, the ~15% cheaper "Super II" appeared in more of the fine-print advertisements in this issue's back pages.