Ricoh 35 EFS

Introduction

My lightly worn Ricoh 35 EFS, resting atop a cable release.
My lightly worn Ricoh 35 EFS, resting atop a cable release.

The Ricoh 35 EFS is a compact film camera with a scale focusing 40 mm f/2.8 lens. Exposure is automatic, with a fixed shutter speed of 1/125 s, and an aperture which varies according to the light hitting the metering cell above the front lens element. It’s simple and error-prone, but used with care, can yield decent photos.

Shelf Life

The Ricoh lives on my shelf for two reasons: sentimental value, and fragility.

Mount Cook area, from The Hermitage. I can't remember anything beyond this; it's been more than 10 years.
Mount Cook area, from The Hermitage. I can’t remember anything beyond this; it’s been more than 10 years.

This camera belonged to my late grandmother, who gave it to me for Christmas when I was 11. It’s also the camera I used on my first overseas trip, my first school camps, and through my first couple of years of high school. For these, and many other reasons, it’s a large part of my photographic history, which I can’t bear to part with.

Waldronville Lagoon, viewed from the gun club at sunrise.
Waldronville Lagoon, viewed from the gun club at sunrise.

After its first trip to Cambodia, the base plate cracked where the battery for the flash is inserted. Fearful that further use may exacerbate the situation, I opted to retire it, before it became a pile of bits with a lot of memories attached. Fortunately, the electrical tape I repaired it with almost ten years ago is still holding.

Somewhere near Berwick and the Sinclair Wetlands. The road comes out at Clarendon.
Somewhere between Berwick and the Sinclair Wetlands. The road comes out at Clarendon.

Overall

Fragility and error-proneness aside, it’s been a good camera to me. Once I got the hang of scale focusing, photos were sharp. Exposure has never really been an issue, aside from the limitations of that fixed shutter speed when the light starts fading.

As much as I’d like to sit here and recommend it as a user, I can’t; it’s at the age, and level of plastic construction, where regular use is simply going to accelerate an untimely demise. However, as a display piece, or something for an outing once in a blue moon, I’d say it’s a pretty good bet.

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