Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ricoh SLX 500

I have a big drawer where I keep some cameras that have problems. Every once in a while I will go through it and see if I can get an idea about fixing one.  A short while ago I pulled this Ricoh SLX 500 out of the drawer and found that it was working perfectly.  I don't remember what got it confined to the broken drawer, however the problem seemed to have cured itself.  Hopefully the other cameras in that drawer will follow the Ricoh's example and fix themselves also.

The SLX 500 is an economy model released by Ricoh in 1975.  Its configuration is common to many economy models sold during that time.  Usually these cameras feature a 1/500 top shutter speed instead of 1/1000.  Also they would be lacking features like a self-timer or depth of field preview.  Most of the time the standard lens would be slower.  In the Ricoh SLX 500 the standard lens is an Auto Rikenon f/2.8.  The Ricoh SLX is the economy version of the Ricoh Singlex.  And like the Singlex it is a solidly made all mechanical camera.  The meter does have the mercury battery problem, however there are work-arounds or you can use sunny 16 or a hand-held meter.

In its day the SLX 500 was probably a good deal at $250.  Today when you can get some of the best film cameras ever made very cheaply it probably falls pretty low on the list of cameras to have.  The standard lens is okay, however it doesn't seem as good in quality as some other Ricoh lenses that I have used.  Still since the SLX 500 uses the M42 mount you have a lot of other options.  And it is hard to find fault with the SLX 500 as a good basic reliable and seemingly durable camera body.

For B&W I used Arista.Edu 100 developed in Rodinal 1/25 at 3.5 minutes.  I have since found that 1/100 using one hour stand development seems to work much better for this film. 

As another test I put the Auto Rikenon f/2.8 on a digital camera.  Since the lens doesn't have a manual option I was limited to keeping the lens wide-open. I think these images show that the Auto Rikenon f/2.8 does have some potential.