Ricoh KR-5

The Ricoh KR-5 from 1978

The Ricoh K5 was introduced in 1978 and was the cheapest in the, then, line up of cameras. It’s nothing special nor is it anything terrible! People who often cast their eye over cameras will see plenty that is common. There were similar cameras available from most manufacturers at the time. This one came to me in the usual manner – a charity shop find. In the box was a couple of photography magazines (now recycled as not old enough to be of much interest!) – a roll of film, and a horrible lens case that had gone sticky – that went in the bin too! Inside however was a budget 28-70mm branded EXACTA “made in Japan” lens that looked ok, so I cleaned it up.

Exakta 28-70mm f3.5 – 4.8 PK Fit

Apart from the lens above, this sample came with the 50mm f2.2 Riconar lens, which sadly has a little bit of fungus, but luckily not enough to worry too much about – I’d just shot with the sun. The expiry date on the film was 1999! 200 ISO colour. I didn’t expect film of that age, colour, unknown storage, and a budget film at that (Foto Stop), to produce much, but I could test the shutter and focus at least, so in it went.

The camera offers 8 speeds B-500th, with flash sync at 60th. Wind on is in the usual manner but like some Nikons won’t fire unless the wind on is away from the body – drives me nuts! It has no timer but offers through the lens metering, with a simple needle. When it’s hovering over the circle in the middle, you have the “correct” exposure. The camera takes two KS76 batteries to run this, but seems to run at all speeds ok without them.

The top plate of the Ricoh KR-5

I chose to use the sunny 16 rule, and guessed at over-exposing by a stop. To my surprise, the results were surprisingly good!

This is 20 year out of date cheap film, with colour correction in photoshop.
The Forum Centre has gone but the Napper’s Court Survives!
Napper’s Court, Dorchester
A shady spot on a hot day.
Dorchester still has a proper hardware store!
More than a Leica!!
Lunch time!

All of the above photo’s were taken using the Exakta 28-70mm with the last two, using it’s macro mode. Apart from the fact the images were useable from the film, this lens was the revelation. Normally it’s something I would have passed by, but it seems to produce good results. The verdict is that I shall pass on the camera, to someone who can enjoy using it, with the 50mm, but I’ll hang on to the short zoom. It might be interesting to see how it performs with a decent roll of film. Cue Ektar 100!

4 thoughts on “Ricoh KR-5

  1. Pretty amazing results from that old color film, particularly if exposed at box speed. I usually give my expired color an extra stop of exposure, but most color films seem to have quite a bit of latitude for exposure error. It is possible to give old color a boost with longer time in C-41 developers like Unicolor or CineStill, but I have not tried that yet.

    I take it that zoom is K-mount, so usable with the bayonet mount Pentax and clones.I have several cheap zooms that are pretty sharp, but they are often annoying to use because the critical center focus spot blacks out if the your eye at the viewfinder is not exactly in the right position.

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    1. Hi Mike! Yes I too was quite surprised by the results – I used the sunny 16 rule loosely and hoped I was over-exposing by a stop, a few negs were a bit thin, but most ok. Yes the zoom is the PK fit, so will fit both my ME Super and my P30, really it’s the handy macro mode that I’ll use it for I think. I get the “blackout” too, not sure if it’s longer focal length that makes the angle of eye more demanding or that fact that it’s a zoom. I thought the results you got from your kodak 1a folder were pretty amazing – I especially like the shot with the spiral stair case, it has great tonal range! All best wishes, Andy

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