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06-22-2012, 12:41 PM   #1
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Looking for a Ricoh SLR, what to get?

Since these are fairly unknown, I figure I might get one for pretty cheap, but I have to know what to look for. What's the difference between the XR and KR series, and what lenses were they marketed with? Thanks in advance for any help.

06-22-2012, 12:52 PM   #2
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Short answer: you need to get one of each top model in each model era. But beware of the Ricoh P pin!
Long answer: I'll listen in to the discussion also.
06-22-2012, 01:05 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
you need to get one of each top model in each model era.
I'm afraid that is going to happen
06-22-2012, 01:19 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcobain1992 Quote
I'm afraid that is going to happen
I'm curious about these also; myself I'd likely be partial to the first K mount ones, the ones that had Ricoh branded Pentax K lenses (Pentax had introduced the M series)... talk about anticipating history!

Meanwhile, to prime the pump, some ads:














And a vintage review or two:
No fooling: Modern Photography March 1978 Equipment Reviews

06-22-2012, 09:02 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcobain1992 Quote
Since these are fairly unknown, I figure I might get one for pretty cheap, but I have to know what to look for. What's the difference between the XR and KR series, and what lenses were they marketed with? Thanks in advance for any help.
I'm operating largely from memories of 20-30 year old info here, so don't take this as gospel. Seems to me that the XR series was the higher end of Ricoh K-mount gear. The KR types tended to have a limited range of shutter speeds and no DOF preview, but otherwise similar mechanics to the XR bodies.

My only experience with Ricoh is an XR-1s. I bought it in about 1980 and still use it occasionally. Similar in concept to the Pentax KX and perhaps Nikon FM. I chose it to use with my Pentax K-mount lenses because the XR-1 has a Copal Square shutter that I knew from experience was excellent in extreme cold. (I previously had a couple of M42 bodies with that shutter.) As I spent about 30 years in the Canadian north, that was very important. I know from direct experience that the XR-1 is significantly better than the MX in the cold. At least, it was when both cameras were relatively new.

The XR-1s is a solid camera, operates smoothly, and has a very good viewfinder. If you can find a winder in good shape, they are pretty fast. There is an earlier version, the XR-1, that I believe will not take a winder.

The XR-1s has performed very well for me, being very reliable under extremely bad conditions. I used it quite heavily for about 15 years. The XR-2 is very similar but has an electronically controlled shutter, so it can do aperture priority auto.

XR Rikenon lenses have a good reputation. The only one I've used is the 50/2.0. It is quite sharp, but with lower contrast than Pentax lenses of that time. Mechanical quality is very good but not up to Pentax standards. Note that this lens has achieved "legendary" status in some circles. I think this originated with a review in a photo magazine when the camera was released. As I recall the reviewer said the lens was comparable to the Leica 50/2 of the period. I'd say it has nice character and is well worth using, but does not beat out Pentax standard lenses of the 1.7/1.8 variety in terms of sheer quality.

Last edited by John Poirier; 06-22-2012 at 09:04 PM. Reason: correction
06-22-2012, 09:36 PM   #6
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Beware that there was also a Ricoh Singlex that was a sorta Nikon mount - opening A is larger then the Nikon's opening B, so it will accept Nikon lenses but the Rikenon F mount lenses won't fit a Nikon.

06-22-2012, 10:11 PM   #7
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I've used a couple of Ricoh K mount models and liked them, KS/KS Super I think from Sears is nice. But as far as Sears M42 bodies are concerned my new favorite is this one. I haven't actually taken it out to shoot with yet but it looks good to go so far and it's just lovely. I've had several people now tell me that it's capacities match it's looks. I believe it. This is one beautiful camera and they can be had cheap too. It's a re-badged Chinon CE. This plus a K mount adapter would make a fine addition to anyone's SLR kit. Bonus it's got some kind of early auto aperture thing that you can use even with M42 lenses. I haven't had time yet to read the manual all the way and to figure it out but it looks like a nice plus to me that ability.

06-23-2012, 01:58 AM   #8
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I used to have a KR-5 Super (until it got stolen) and I really liked it. a very capable camera

06-23-2012, 04:30 AM   #9
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I used to shoot film with KR-10M. I found it be quite good, even with the 35-70 manual focus lens.
Still have it, but have not used film for a few years.
06-23-2012, 05:22 AM   #10
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Thanks for the replies so far. I'd like to get a K-mount, because I have no K lenses/bodies except the K-x. Other lenses except the standard 50mm f/2 and f/1.7 seem pretty rare though. Please tell me, are the P mode from Rikenons and A mode from SMC Pentax compatible?
06-23-2012, 05:30 AM   #11
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KC,
As far as I know, the Rik P lenses ( whether pin removed or original) would be compatible with all Ricoh K mount variants.
For example I use Rik P on the earlier KR bodies
And Pentax-A lenses can be used but in M mode ( using the aperture ring)



KR-10
https://www.box.com/s/07b7c0299efa82881ec8

Actually I prefer the KR_5 Super2 with its red-green-red metering indicator.
Easier for me to see than the needle on the KR-10.

I am running a roll of Ilford HP5 through the KR-5 now, using the Rikenon P Zoom 1:3.5~4.5 35~70mm.
At the Motor Muster last week an old timer was pleased to see a proper film camera being used on the old cars.

Here is a test shot of the Rik P zoom
https://www.box.com/s/e0f7el4nt62vx6is2u43
It is quite OK for 9 by 6 inch prints,and light and versatile

But not as sharp as the XR Rikenon 1:1.4 50mm
https://www.box.com/s/iada51c2ublkjgznvkcs
06-23-2012, 11:52 AM   #12
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I have 2 Ricohs. I bought my KR-5 new in 1980 I believe, for $99.99 at Fox Photo ( a blast from the past ) And one thing is certain, it is a tough camera !! I bought it to take photos of fish, I am an avid fisherman, but practice catch and release, so never have physical "evidence" of my catches, The KR-5 has been...dropped in the Meramec river, dropped on an asphalt driveway, and was in a plastic bag on the bottom of a boat, that was NOT water tight, I picked up the camera, and water literally poured out of it.... but, it still works fine, I have never done any kind of work to it, it has original seals, and no light leaks. Basically, it is a K1000 clone, but only shoots up to 1/500 second.

I also have a KR-5 Super that my pop found at goodwill for $6, and it works well too, but I have only shot with it a few times, it is just a little fancier model of the KR-5, with 1/1000 sec, and a timer, and I believe DOF preview also.

Here's my KR-5 with original 55mm F2.2


Last edited by Stratman; 06-23-2012 at 12:25 PM.
06-23-2012, 11:57 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcobain1992 Quote
Since these are fairly unknown, I figure I might get one for pretty cheap, but I have to know what to look for. What's the difference between the XR and KR series, and what lenses were they marketed with? Thanks in advance for any help.
Fairly unknown? Perhaps in Eastern Europe, but here in N. America, Ricoh sold a ton of cameras. Unfortunately they also packaged them as a ton of models, with many being very similar to each other. Add in the almost identical Sears variants under a different set of names and you have a real mess. So...

XR vs. KR: XR are top-end models and generally have more features. KR usually share the same basic chassis, but with fewer bells and whistles.

Lenses: The cameras came equipped with a variety of XR and non-XR Rikenon normal lenses. The multi-coated ones are labeled as such. From the mid-1980s on there is the issue of the Ricoh pin to allow for programmed exposure. Lenses with this feature have bright green "P" on the aperture ring.

As for recommendations...I own three Ricohs and can give a strong recommendation for all three.
  • Ricoh XR7: Contemporary to the Pentax ME Super, but a better camera in most ways IMHO. At least, I made the decision to buy one over the Pentax when they were new and would make the same choice today. Bright, full information viewfinder, super-long battery life, Av and full-metered manual, exposure compensation, DOF preview, fully electronic shutter, CNC aluminum chassis under polycarbonate skin, and compatible with an optional power winder. Viewfinder uses a LCD virtual needle to indicate shutter speed. Standard K-mount. Size is a hair larger than an ME Super, while weight is about the same.
  • Ricoh XR-2s: Immedicate predecessor of the XR7 and has the same features as above except that the shutter is electro-mechanical and the chassis is stamped steel. The viewfinder display is modeled on that from the KX. In fact, the body mimics the size and control layout of the KX for the most part, though I prefer to shoot with my XR-2s over the KX. It is lighter and better balanced. Fact be told, the XR-2s is my go-to 35mm film SLR body and I have several to choose from. Note that most XR-2 and XR-2s bodies have broken self-timer levers.
  • Ricoh Singlex TLS: This one is probably not what you had in mind, but is included for completeness. The Singlex is similar in function to and was sold at the same time as a Pentax Spotmatic, but is larger and heavier and has the single advantage of a higher flash synch due to its vertical run metal Copal "square" shutter. The Singlex was very moderately priced back-in-the-day and has proven to be a VERY robust camera. Mine functions pretty much the same as new despite having never been serviced except for foam seals since it was made over 40 years ago. Not my favorite M42 SLR (I like my SV and Spotties better), but a very capable camera, none-the-less.
Here are the XR7 and XR-2s (winders attached) along with my Super Program:



Here is the XR-2s with my Pentax KX:



And here is the Singlex:


If you find a Ricoh for sale and need to know its feature set, the manual is usually available at the Butkus site:

Ricoh Camera instruction manuals


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-23-2012 at 12:52 PM.
06-23-2012, 12:11 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcobain1992 Quote
Please tell me, are the P mode from Rikenons and A mode from SMC Pentax compatible?
No. The systems are different, though a number of 3rd party lens makers supported both system on the same mount. Ricoh used a single pin and no contacts to support program and Sv automation on its program capable cameras. The lenses and manual focus bodies from both makers are cross-compatible in M and Av modes.

Pentax AF bodies may not be compatible with Ricoh P lenses due to the infamous Ricoh pin. This is the fault of Pentax engineers (the P mount lenses had been on the market for several years), but then again, compatibility with a direct competitor's product was probably not in their design goals.


Steve
06-23-2012, 12:21 PM   #15
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Many thanks to Jussi (Nesster) for posting his Ricoh ads. My original Singlex (lent to and subsequently pawned by my brother) was a black body and the ad for the same real brought on a wave of memories.

I was pleased the Jussi also included ads for the XR-P and XRS. The XRS was essentially a XR7 with two solar cells on the top of the prism housing that charged a second power system to supplement the regular batteries. The XRP, on the other hand, was one of the pinnacles of 35mm SLR development prior to auto-focus. A contemporary to the Pentax Super Program, it was better in most respects except that it was limited to Rikenon and 3rd-party lenses to support its extensive feature set. Too bad...too bad indeed!

I think that Hinman on this site owns and uses and likes XR-P.

Hin's Tech Corner: The Ricoh Love With Ricoh XR-P

http://www.techtheman.com/2010/03/ricoh-xr-p-and-pentax-k-lenses.html


Steve
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