The Ricoh 35 ZF is a fixed lens, zone focus compact from the mid 1960s. I’m not sure where mine came from: maybe my step dad, or Grandfather, or an aunt. It doesn’t much matter where, really. I (mostly) enjoy it, and when I don’t shoot it for a while, I start to miss it. When it first came to me, the light seals were bad, but I didn’t know it.
I shot a couple of photowalks with it, put it away for a year or two, then finally replaced the light seals with sticky-backed felt. It’s been smooth sailing from there. The fixed, 40mm, f/2.8 Rikkenon lens is beautiful: sharp, with good contrast and saturation. Exposure is full manual or shutter-priority auto, with help from a meter designed to run PX635 mercury cells. The meter probably runs a bit hot on 1.55v SR44/v357s, but I don’t worry about it.
The aperture varies from 2.8 to 16, but ring is narrow and hard to grab, so I usually leave it on A and try to stay on top of the shutter speed. My biggest problem with it is the ZF part: Zone Focus. I’ve gotten better with it over the years, but still forget to set focus distance regularly and I have no idea what .8 meters (or 2.6″) looks like in the real world, anyway. One of these days, maybe I’ll pick up a 500G. It’s pretty much the same camera, just with a rangefinder instead of the simple VF.
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