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Ricoh HI-COLOR 35

JDM von Weinberg , Sep 21, 2010; 08:29 p.m.

Ricoh HI-COLOR 35

1968, previewed at Photokina in that year.

Kadlubek RIK1240

It was kismet, fate, destiny. People were showing off their small, 35mm viewfinder and rangefinder cameras here, and I had nothing to show. Should I buy an Olympus, or eat a peach?

I went into the local camera store to get the film for my various Exa posts developed, and I was showed a camera that I had not seen before, a Ricoh HI-COLOR 35. The owner didn't want it and so he offered it to me. When I got home, I found that the latest issue of Popular Photography, that is, my latest-- the issue of November, 1968, had arrived in the mail and there was the Photokina preview, with a story about the Ricoh Hi-Color 35!

Its most interesting feature is probably the spring power motor drive that is built in. Like so many of these cameras, most features don't work without film in the body, so they are often mistaken for "dead." This one worked quite nicely, once it was loaded.

I could not find a manual on this one, so had to work it out.
I found out that the battery it needed was apparently an S76, not the larger one I had, so I shot a roll of Ilford XP2 in it using my Gossen meter rather than trying out the automatic (shutter priority?) exposure on it. Fortunately, I guess, since then it clearly belongs here on Classic Manual Cameras, right?

First, here is the Photokina preview from Popular Photography of November, 1968.

Popular Photography November, 1968, pp, 112-3


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JDM von Weinberg , Sep 21, 2010; 08:31 p.m.

Here is my own shot of the Ricoh Hi-Color 35 with my Rollei 35 in the background and an Ilford film box in the foreground for scale. It's not so small as the Rollei 35, but it's still a tiny camera. Especially considering that it has a wind-up motor drive.

The bottom view of the camera shows the wind-up knob, and the geared wheel beneath the lens for setting the shutter speeds.

Ricoh HI-COLOR 35 views

JDM von Weinberg , Sep 21, 2010; 08:33 p.m.

Honestly, I didn't want to spend a lot of time shooting my usual "masterpieces" if the camera turned out not to work, so I pretty much just snap-shotted around (cries of 'so what's new?').

So here is the big bookstore. Since it has come to town, our anarchist bookstore has closed, as did the Waldens, but another locally owned new and used bookstore has thrived and still another kept going.

As for the pictures, either (a) our placement in the New Madrid Fault Zone has affected the shots or (b) I am emulating Robert Frank [there are other possibilities but we won't go into those].

The Big Bookstore

JDM von Weinberg , Sep 21, 2010; 08:34 p.m.

The next two shots are just to see how the lens, a Rikenon 35mm f/2.8, does. I think pretty decently, especially considering the zone focusing.

Top, more bookstore, bottom house siding.

books, siding

JDM von Weinberg , Sep 21, 2010; 08:35 p.m.

Finally approaching the camera store (B&L Photo of Carbondale, not to be confused with B&H of New York), and showing the processing facility at work, complete with highly skilled and able technician. ;)

Not so big, but very nice, photo store & its services

JDM von Weinberg , Sep 21, 2010; 08:37 p.m.

That's all folks.

It's no Olympus or Rollei, but a very nice, serviceable camera. The motor drive is nice and needs no battery :)

Mike Gammill , Sep 21, 2010; 08:49 p.m.

Nice shots. Great to see a working example of the Hi-Color 35. I found a Ricoh ad in a 1969 issue that listed the company's current models. I saw the Hi-Color there and thought it looked like fun. Thanks for sharing.

Subbarayan Prasanna , Sep 21, 2010; 10:05 p.m.

Nice sharp pictures full of tones. I like the soft merging of the tones [Gradation] with the sharp definition in the pictures. Ricoh was not a market leader in the conventional sense. But, I think, they were technological leaders and produced many innovations, perhaps much like Studebaker and Packard in the auto industry. Thanks, sp.

Al V , Sep 21, 2010; 10:19 p.m.

Impressive, most impressive. It looks very "sci-fi".

Rick Drawbridge , Sep 21, 2010; 11:30 p.m.

That little Rikenon lens seems to produce nice sharp, well-toned pics, J.D.M. Nice find; I found one some time ago but the spring was kaput so I moved it on as a shelf queen. They're certainly a cute and relatively uncommon little camera. Thanks for an interesting post

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