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