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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ricoh 500

This Ricoh 500 was an early acquisition some years ago when I first got interested in old film cameras. It bore a resemblance to the mid-century Nikon and Contax rangefinders, and it also had some interesting design innovations of its own. Dribbling a little lighter fluid into the shutter got it working well. The pictures from it were a disappointment, however; they were all lacking in sharpness.



I found some reports of similar experiences to mine with the camera, and it got parked on a shelf for the next five or six years.

Recently, I came across some rather nice images that others had made with the same camera. I decided it was time to revisit the Ricoh. This time I removed the lens retaining ring and screwed out the front lens group so I could get access to the shutter blades to clean them. More importantly, I correctly reset the infinity focus using the collimation process described by Mike Elek. The results speak for themselves.





More photos from the Ricoh 500 are in a brief slideshow:
Old Town Shadows.

5 comments:

jimgrey said...

Nice. That's some wicked reflection in that Civic.

robert said...

Very nice results. Wish I had your ability and patience to fix cameras. By the way what type of car polish do you use?

Mike said...

I'm not really very handy. I try to find old cameras that don't need more than routine clean-up, and I seldom spend more than $10 or $20 for any of my cameras. I have learned enough over the years to rescue some that I formerly thought were irreparable.

Margaret went to a car wash yesterday, so the Honda looks quite a bit better than is usually the case. Having a big tree hanging over your driveway isn't really ideal.

Julio F said...

Beautiful shadows silhouettes in the slideshow. I like the two stripes of light reflecting to the foreground in the first slide.

The lens is well adjusted now. These old rangefinders are very capable cameras!

Mike said...

It always seemed somewhat unlikely to me that there was anything seriously wrong with the Ricoh lens, but I've seen a lot of negative comments on it. It may be that most people just don't check the infinity focus. The 519 model has a much better reputation, but I don't see how it could really be significantly better than the 500.