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Ricoh Auto-Rikenon  (m-42) 50mm F1.7 Review RSS Feed

Ricoh Auto-Rikenon (m-42) 50mm F1.7

Reviews Views Date of last review
4 41,300 Sat June 8, 2013
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $22.50 9.25
Ricoh Auto-Rikenon  (m-42) 50mm F1.7

This was one of the kit lens offerings available on Ricoh screw-mount SLRs in the late 60s through early 70's.

Construction: All metal
Elements/groups: 6/4
Aperture blades: 6
Aperture range: 1.7 - 16 in full stop increments
Aperture direction: Same as Pentax
Minimum focus distance: 0.48m (1.6')
Focus direction: Opposite Pentax
Manual/Auto aperture switch: Yes
Coated: Yes
Filter size: 52mm
Weight: 200g
Manufacturer: Probably Tomioka

Note: This lens has been reported to foul the mirror on the Pentax Super Program and may be an issue on other cameras: LINK
Price History:

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New Member

Registered: March, 2013
Posts: 1
Review Date: June 8, 2013 Recommended | Price: $35.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp, consistent, beautifully built, focus direction like Ricoh GXR modules and Leica M
Cons: Focus direction opposite from Pentax manual lenses

My version of this lens does not have the silver ring close to the camera body, as shown on the database picture above -- the ring is black like the rest of the lens. Apart from that, my lens looks identical. I am using it on a Ricoh GXR with the M mount module. This being an APS-C crop camera, I cannot comment on the edge sharpness of this lens on full frame. With that proviso out of the way, I can safely say: This lens is a gem in every single way.

First of all, when you simply hold the lens, it is nice to the touch. It feels compact, solid-feeling and heavy-for-its-size (though not too heavy in absolute terms). I have used Takumar lenses and this lens is equal in built. It balances nicely on the (tiny) GXR camera.

Focussing is nice if you are using the Ricoh GXR system: The focus direction of this lens has infinity "on the right", as do the Ricoh A12 modules. Also, the Leica lenses you can use on the M mount module will focus in this direction (as will other M lenses from Zeiss, Voigtlander, etc.). Given the ability to "peak" the focus digitally, precise focus is easy and consistent: With the least bit of practice, you can focus as fast as on any manual SLR camera (or rangefinder, too, come to think of it). Consequently, this lens with the M mount can make up (to a degree) the sad fact that Ricoh never cared to give GXR users a proper telephoto solution.

Optically, the lens has very narrow DOF at 1.7 (as expected) which makes it great for portraits, especially given its 75mm equivalent angle of view. I have made more portraits with this lens than any other lens, just because they look great: I am not usually a people shooter, but this lens makes me want to do it (shoot portraits that is).

Stop the lens down a bit and it becomes very, very sharp indeed. I have compared this lens directly against a Pentax-M 50/1.7 and a Pentax-M 50/1.4, both highly regarded lenses. The Rikenon can compete with both, and with confidence. There is a difference in the looks of the lenses, but it's a difference in style and rendering rather than quality. All three are excellent. Compared to newer Ricoh designs (XR and non-XR 50s from the 80es), this lens is much better (!): There is no purple fringing whatsoever, no coma, no nothing. I haven't noticed much flare either, even without a hood. In the 100s of shots I have taken with this lens, there have been no nasty surprises at all. Sweet!

So let's think about it: What do you get? An optically perfect (on APS), nice-feeling, good-looking lens which will outlast us all -- all at the price of 35 bucks, from a reputable store, in optically perfect condition. (Browse around and you might find old beaters for even less). What's not to like?
New Member

Registered: January, 2013
Posts: 6
Review Date: April 5, 2013 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent build. Nice focus ring. Sharp
Cons: Unpredictable Bokeh

I bought this Rikenon 50mm 1.7 attached to an old TLS Singlex. The camera was a little worn, but the lens was in mint condition. It's a beautifully built lens, similar in some regards to the taks but I believe this lens to be a tomioka design. I own a lot of 50 and 55 primes, and to be honest, they are all good. This one is an interesting bugger. It's sharp even at 1.7 but definitely improves in sharpness when you stop down like all fast primes. Contrast is a little low and colors are definitely on the cooler side. I think it gives an interesting vintage look to pictures. One interesting thing is the bokeh. It's really a mixed bag. Some shots are kinda muted and washed out in the background, but then others have this super unique swirly bokeh around them. I really like it. The Rikenon 50mm 1.7 isn't not the best overall prime I own, that is a toss up between my SMC K 50mm 1.4 SMC K 55mm 1.8 and Mamiya/Sekor 55 1.4.
It really does have it's own personality and makes a nice addition to my collection.
Here is an example of that swirly background.
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2012
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
Posts: 632
Review Date: April 30, 2012 Recommended | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Fast, Cheap, Easy to Handle
Cons: Strange Bokeh...

Got this with a few other lenses today for 5$(As well as an old Vivitar flash which I intend to use as a slave) - Must say, quite sharp, regardless of the fact that the lens appears to have been through terrible treatment.(Edges of the rear element are scratched up pretty bad...not an issue as far as I can tell though)

Has an...interesting bokeh as mentioned before. Don't know if I like it or hate it.

A breeze to focus though, smooth and has some nice grippy indentions on the focus ring.

Would make a great portrait lens though, as it is just soft enough at 1.7 to capture detail, but not too much.
Otis Memorial Pentaxian

Registered: March, 2007
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Posts: 42,007
Review Date: July 6, 2008 Recommended | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Nice color rendition and build. Pleasant bokeh. Sharp at most apertures.
Cons: Soft at f/1.7, focus direction is opposite of Pentax, hexagonal highlights

I originally rated this lens at 7, but after further exposure to other M42 normal lenses of the same vintage, I have come to the conclusion that the Rikenon 50/1.7 is only a small notch below the 55/1.8 Super-Takumar, and the equal or better than the rest of its direct competition. New rating: 8

Edit (again):
I last rated this lens at 8, but seeing its performance on the 24Mpx K-3 I must bump my assessment to a solid 9.

I acquired this lens as part of a package with a Ricoh Singlex TLS at auction for only $25 for the pair. I was pleasantly surprised to find that both the camera and the lens were in near-mint condition and both were quite usable. Since that time I have had the pleasure of using the lens on my K10D when the fancy strikes me.

Build quality is very good and up to the standard of the time when it was made. Construction is all metal and all controls operate smoothly. This lens is somewhat larger and heavier than the Pentax Super Takumars of the era, but not out of line with comparable Nikkors, Hexanons, and Rokkors. The lens is single-coated and accepts 52mm filters.

Images taken with the Auto-Rikenon seem to have a special quality. It may render with low contrast compared to my Pentax primes, but much depends on light and subject. Color rendition is very pleasing and sharpness is quite good. Bokeh is generally smooth, though some users might be put off by specular highlights showing the hexagonal pattern typical of lenses with six-bladed irises.

Below are four example photos:

Unknown aperture on K-3

Unknown aperture on K10D

f/2.8 on K10D

f/5.6 on K10D

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