Asking my Grandad if he has any cameras was a great idea - Ricoh 35 ZF

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by pm63, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. pm63

    pm63 TPF Noob!

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    I've been wanting to get into shooting film for quite a while now, first 35mm and eventually to work my way up to a MF system mainly for landscapes. I thought I would have to resort to eBay for a cheap 35mm SLR and did not expect my grandad to take no less than three out of the closet upon casualy asking him if he owned any. One was a very cheap plastic fantastic affair, the other quite a large made-in-USSR beast and finally this, the one that intrigues me most, a Ricoh 35 ZF. Apparently my grandma bought it when she came to London. Excuse the shoddy product photography, I was in a hurry:

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    I think it's a rangefinder (could someone please confirm?). Rikenon 40mm f/2.8-16, 1/8th to 1/500th and blub, 3 feet to infinity focus. Seems to be in full working order, but I'll need a battery for the light meter. EPX 675 batteries are no longer manufactured, but numerous sources state that for cameras that use this battery, zinc air hearing aid batteries (available for pennies from Amazon), work just as well though are 1.4v instead of 1.3 (does anyone know if this could cause a problem?). Fortunately I also managed to find the manual (PDF warning).

    There's no doubt it's a beginners camera - it even has an auto mode (set by the green 'A' on the aperture ring), but I'm excited nonetheless. I'll buy a roll of film tomorrow and shoot it off.

    What I don't understand is that in the light meter in the viewfinder, there seem to be f-numbers written (2.8, 4, 5.6 all the way to 16). Could someone please explain why this is?

    Also, it isn't an SLR so I can't see the effects my focusing is having on the image. Does this mean I will have to vaguely approximate with the distance scale on the focusing ring? What happens with shallow DOF at f/2.8 and around?

    This is probably a stupid question, but if I don't get the meter to work could I take the same shot with my DSLR, get settings correct and take them with those settings on film?

    Any help is much appreciated. I sure hope this baby works.
     
  2. randerson07

    randerson07 TPF Noob!

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    Yes thats a range finder.

    I run a 1.5 volt battery in one of my cameras that is designed for the 1.3 battery and it works ok but the meter is a bit off.

    If the viewfinder is similar to others ive seen(i havent seen too many) somewhere in there there should be a dot or a line, when using all manual you line the needle up with the dot or line for proper exposure. When using the "A" mode you set the shutter and the needle should move up and down, the corresponding f/ number will be the aperture that the camera is going to use to take the shot. Or I could be wrong here.

    As far as not having a meter, you could do that with your DSLR, or you could use the Sunny 16 rule http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunny_16_rule
     
  3. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    Yep, that there ain't no SLR. Y'all in rangefinder country now.

    If this is in fact a rangefinder, there should be a square or pair of squares in the viewfinder. The area in the square is in focus when they perfectly overlap. Is this is the case?
     
  4. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Strictly speaking the Ricoh 35 ZF is not a rangefinder. On a rangefinder camera you focus by super-imposing 2 images when looking through the viewfinder. The 35 ZF does not have such a mechanism and you focus by guessing the camera to subject distance, which you then match to the distances/symbols (mountain, person...) on the lens barrel.
     
  5. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    well, strictly speaking it is a camera with a viewfinder without a mirror ;)

    looks as if in nice condition!

    I used to shoot with similar cameras for quite a long time, in particular when travelling.
     
  6. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The Ricoh 35 ZF is a Zone Focus camera. That's what the "ZF" stands for.
    It doesn't have a rangefinder.
     
  7. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    Errr, oops. I assumed based on the look, but I was wrong.
     
  8. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The Ricoh 500 series are rangefinder cameras. They look very similar to the ZF.

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  9. malkav41

    malkav41 TPF Noob!

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    This camera is quite similar to a Konica I have. It's a Konica C35 V.
    Seen here:[​IMG]

    It is a Zone Focus cammy also but with pictographs of 1, 2, or 3 people on it instead of mountains, clouds, and sun, and the f/stops on it are for setting the flash. I'm running a roll through it right now to see how well it is working after having to replace the light seals.
     
  10. pm63

    pm63 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all the help and interest everyone. It is indeed a zone focus camera - the viewfinder is just a hole in the side of the body. I remember looking through the viewfinder the other day and thinking "Hmm, this lens sure has a lot of barrel distortion for a prime of intermediate focal length" before realising that the it has nothing to do with the lens! :lol: The zone focusing is also very strange for me to get used to, coming from an SLR background. It feel strange to guess distance and not to instantly see the results of your focusing through the viewfinder. I shot a muckabout roll of Fuji Superia the other day and actually forgot to set focus a few times because it all looked to be in perfect focus. I also had to guess exposure because I still haven't got the light meter to work. Camera is in good condition and fine working order - I suspected there may be light leaks because the closing door is a bit wobbly, but it's fine.

    Anyway enough rambling, it turns out that if you guess the distance correctly this little camera is sharp as hell. One of the good shots that came out, of my grandad's car: NB: this is not a negative scan, this is a photo taken of a print with my D40, so WB is off and obviously it is not as sharp, this is just a general approximation:

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    I won't post any more because they were all of me and my family but it is MUCH sharper than my D40 and kit lens could ever be, even at the supposed sharpest aperture. Very pleased with it. My next roll will be some B&W film (maybe Ilford HP5). Now if only I could get that meter to work. :mrgreen:

    And speaking of meters, my grandad gave me this one (again made in USSR!), but it still works fine:

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    However, I can't figure out how to use it. :( Any chance someone could explain?
     

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