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Ricoh 500G
© Alin Ciortea     2011-01-30 Categoria: Articole \ Toate




Some 2 years ago I suddenly realized I couldn't be a photographer anymore if I didn't own a rangefinder. Being on a budget and after some googling I went for a Yashica Electro 35 GTN. It was a really nice camera but something didn't feel right and I ended up selling it. That's when the search for the perfect rangefinder began. The Ricoh 500G is the result of this (long) search. OK, so what's so great about it? In fact, the question should be "what's not so great about it?". The only somewhat disturbing drawback is its viewfinder. Not that big, not that bright (compared to a Minolta Hi-Matic 9 for example - another simply great camera). This Ricoh (and its almost twin brother the 500GX) is one small rangefinder. In fact it's as small as it gets, in the same league with the Olympus 35RC or the Yashica Electro 35 CC and could easily fit a jacket pocket. You could carry it around your neck all day long and won't even know it's there. On the technical side, it features one major advantage over most of its competitors: coupled metered manual override. This means you can either shoot it in shutter-priority, or go fully manual and keep the meter's functionality (most other rangefinders of its time that had a manual option would turn off the exposure meter in manual mode, so users had to go back and forth between AE and manual if they needed a light reading). While in manual mode, the meter is also coupled to the shutter speed ring so the meter's needle will react to the change of shutter speed and indicate the aperture needed for correct exposure. While in AE shutter-priority mode, the needle shows the aperture used by the camera. The ISO range goes from 25 to 800, a bit low, but still better than some other rangefinders that stop at 400-500. And having the manual override it's quite easy to expose for 1600 or above. Optics-wise, the 500G features a nice little Rikenon 40mm f2.8 (a Tessar formula, if I'm not mistaking) that's quite capable. It might not have the fastest lens or be the smoothest film camera on the planet but at the end of the day it's the one 'budget' rangefinder I'd like to have in my pocket. PS: many whine about how difficult it is to change the light seals in this camera... well, it's not. Not as easy as other cameras, true, but not hard either. You just need some patience and enough foam pads (there are even instructions and foam sizes listed somewhere on the net but I can't find them right now). It took me about 15 minutes from start to finish.











Minolta XD-7 versus Ricoh 500G


B/W images shot on Agfa APX 100, color image shot on DM Paradies 100 (slide film)









© Alin Ciortea     2011-01-30
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