Ricoh 500G

Although having the same name, this is not the Ricoh Caplio 500G digital compact from 2007. It is one of the compact 35mm rangefinder from the 70s. These little gems, among them are the more popular Konica C35, Minolta7s and Olympus Rc, are the fathers of compact 35mm AF point-and-shoots. The Ricoh 500G is less popular among collectors, for some reason unknown to me, and not much information can be found on the Internet. Nevertheless, it is a much better camera in many ways than the Yashica Electro 35’s.

The 500G has shutter-priority automatic exposure with full manual override. Not just that, unlike many cameras with automatic exposure, the 500G is fully functional without batteries (except for automatic exposure and light metering of course). This makes the camera much more practical today beside being a collector item since it is also powered by the banned mercury batteries that power the Yashica Electro 35’s.

There is another advantage of the 500G over the Electro 35 which is the placement of its light metering sensor. With the sensor placed beside the front element of the lens and behind the filter (if there is one attached), no exposure compensation is needed for black and white or color-correction filters. The only drawback is you need to take off the filter before you can adjust the film speed. Like many other compact 35mm rangefinders in the 70s, the 500G has a fast “wide-normal” lens, a 40mm f2.8. Compared to many of the 35mm AF zoom lens point-and-shoots, this lens gives much better pictures and enables the photographer to shoot in darker settings without firing the flash.

The story behind my own Ricoh 500G…

The 500G you see here was given to me from a good friend of mine. He had two himself, so he gave one to me just because I need a quality ever-ready shooter in my daily carrying bag. Unfortunately, while I was attempting to clean the fungus inside the lens (in which I did successfully), I broke two “plastic” screws of the lens assembly and offset the rangefinder. Paying to repair it would probably cost me 2-3 times more than buyer another one. If anyone reading this has any experience in fixing this camera, please leave a comment. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Status: In Collection

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4 Responses to Ricoh 500G

  1. Pingback: The Smallest 35mm Full-frame Camera? | MY CAMERA CABINET

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  3. Christiaan Zeelenberg says:

    Nice to read your illustrative and informative blog!
    I just bought a Ricoh 500G in a thrift shop and found that the rangefinder does not seem to be respond when I turn the focus ring. Is this what happened to your camera? Would this be coupled by those two plastic screws that you broke? And can you tell me how I reach the rangefinder coupling to the focus ring?
    Many thanks in advance for your reply!

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