Sears 35 rf (Ricoh 500G clone)

I’ve got a lot of cameras with film in it that need to be finished up and developed. I’ve also been taking mostly family snaps, something to do with the end of the school year. Still here’s a camera that I had some doubts about, but turned out to be a good performer with great color rendition.

This is one of those Japanese compact rangefinders from the 70s, a rebadged  Ricoh 500G. It comes with a 40mm f/2.8 lens, aperture priority AE or full manual with the meter visible in the viewfinder even in manual mode. it’s a little bigger than, say a Konica C35, and has a nice, solid feel. This is no pocket camera. Even with a big coat pocket, I’ve found the lens and the knobs stick out too much and can easily get caught. It is small enough to cradle in hour hand as you walk about. The shutter button has a nice, curved knob on top that feels like a soft release.

The film I used was your pedestrian Fuji Superia 400 color negative, which is what I stick to for most of my compact rangefinders. It’s hard to screw up this film, wide latitude and very forgiving, yet still giver you rich color.

The manual controls means the camera is a little bit more fidgety than the full-auto models like the C35 and their ilk, but you get used to it very quickly. What I’ve found to be true for this class of cameras is that they are strong performer in good light. The 35Rf does a little better in trickier light situation because of the control of both the shutter speed and aperture missing in so many cameras of this type. The f/2.8 is sharp and plenty fast enough for most outdoor situations. I hardly every carry a flash, so that’s important. Besides, who wants to draw that kind of attention to yourself.

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3 Responses to “Sears 35 rf (Ricoh 500G clone)”

  1. Rock on 🙂 I’ve just ordered one of these.

    Who needs Leica when you’ve got Argus and Sears LOL

  2. I agree, although the lure of the Leica is strong. Until I can afford one, these Japanese rangefinder do all right by me, that and the old Soviet cameras.

  3. […] The busiest day of the year was November 11th with 57 views. The most popular post that day was Sears 35 rf (Ricoh 500G clone). […]

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