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Blast from the Past - RICOH 500 - ECHOES OF MY YOUTH - A NFF THREAD

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GrahamS
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Blast from the Past - RICOH 500 - ECHOES OF MY YOUTH - A NFF THREAD

Postby GrahamS » Tue Aug 30, 2016 5:43 am

I posted this thread on NelsonFoto Forums on Tuesday January 10th 2006



Graham Serretta

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:56 am Post subject: Ricoh 500 - Echoes of my youth. Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post


I have been wanting a Ricoh 500 for some time, as it was the first "proper" camera that I ever owned, back in the late '50's. Craig Nelson was good enough to let me have his Ricoh 519, a later model with a f1.8 lens but unfortunately it did not survive the trip over the pond. All is not lost, however, as I am now the proud owner of a Ricoh 500 thanks to the generosity of my good friend Dennis Gallus, who has very kindly sent me one that he had been using for many years.

Produced from 1957 to around 1959, the Ricoh 500 underwent some changes in styling and specification. It is a basic rangefinder camera with a fixed lens. The "original" 500 has a flat top plate and does not have a bright-line viewfinder. A later model (De Luxe) has a stepped top-plate and a larger viewfinder with bright-line framing. Another variation was the flash synch/delayed action setting - mine has a small lever on the side of the shutter ring for X-M-V, a previous version had an adjustable ring on the front of the lens barrel. It has a 45mm f2.8 Riken coated lens which gives good, but not brilliant, results and exhibits a fair amount of curvilinear distortion. The shutter is a Seikosha with speeds from 1 sec to 1/500th. The later model 519 was fitted with a 45mm f1.8 lens with exceptional performance. There is also a black paint version, which is quite rare.

Two features make the Ricoh 500/519 stand out from the crowd - one is the focussing, which is adjusted via two "paddles" that protrude on either side of the focussing ring at the base of the lens barrel. With the camera held naturally, these are extremely easy and quick to operate with a finger of either hand. The other is the film advance - this is done with a bottom-mounted lever similar to the "Leicavit" concept except that it swings through an arc of about 160 degrees, and with practise, a fairly rapid frame advance rate is possible. The viewfinder is nice and clear, with a bright rangefinder patch. The strap lugs also swivel, which is a nice touch.

Here are some of the shots from the first roll of film that I have had through the camera - Ilford Delta 400 processed in Ilfosol-S for 7 mins at 20C. They were taken in Ipswich just after Christmas, St Nicholas Street being named after you know who.



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Dennis Gallus



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 10:07 am Post subject: Reply with quote
Graham,

Those are nice B&W shots! I'm happy to see that you are getting such good results from the camera. I know they aren't considered rare, but other than a few on Ebay from time to time, I've never seen another in a camera shop in all my years of wandering.

I'll look forward to more posts.

Have a great day,
Dennis
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connealy



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 1:28 pm Post subject: Reply with quote
Congratulations on finally getting the 500. You've gotten some nice performance from it.
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sandeha



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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 4:49 pm Post subject: Reply with quote
That's an unusual little machine and you've got good results there. I've not been to Ipswich and didn't know it was that pretty.
Attachments
XT100315_Ricoh_500_Web-2.jpg
My Ricoh 500 Mk2
St Nicholas St Ipswich.jpg
St Nicholas St Ipswich
St Nicholas St Ipswich.jpg (103.1 KiB) Viewed 3574 times
Silent St Ipswich.jpg
Silent St Ipswich
Silent St Ipswich.jpg (90.74 KiB) Viewed 3574 times
Farmhouse.jpg
Lincolnshire farmhouse
Farmhouse.jpg (114.35 KiB) Viewed 3574 times
Church in Ipswich.jpg
Church in Ipswich
Church in Ipswich.jpg (122.19 KiB) Viewed 3574 times
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GrahamS
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Re: Blast from the Past - RICOH 500 - ECHOES OF MY YOUTH - A NFF THREAD

Postby Dennis Gallus » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:58 pm

Graham,

By golly, has it been that long since I sent the Ricoh 500 over to you? It's good to be reminded of that old camera. It was extremely user-friendly, and gave decent results. I think you squeezed every bit of the performance out of that 45mm/2.8 lens, your B&Ws are great. The image of the churchyard appeals to me in particular.

What I said back then is still true, I've never seen another of these old Ricohs in all of my wanderings of used camera shops. Perhaps I'll try the old camera shop in Tucson while I'm up there next week.

Best,
Dennis
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Dennis Gallus
Hereford, Arizona USA

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Re: Blast from the Past - RICOH 500 - ECHOES OF MY YOUTH - A NFF THREAD

Postby GrahamS » Thu Sep 01, 2016 3:23 am

Dennis, the Ricoh 500 is very precious to me as the first "proper" camera that I ever owned, at the age of 14, was a Ricoh 500 given to me as a birthday present by my grandfather. I learned the craft with that camera. I am pretty sure that I still have some prints in an old album from the Ricoh 500 which I will look for and post here if I find them. Thank you again.
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“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” Mark Twain


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