Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Ricoh SLX-500

A recent eBay purchase, the Ricoh SLX 500 is a solid 35mm SLR with limited choice of shutter speeds, featuring an all-black metal body, a hot-shoe, PC flash connector, stop-down metering, and an M-42 lens mount. It was introduced in the mid-1970s as a cheap beginner SLR, and also takes a Mercury battery. The camera I bought is in excellent cosmetic shape, and the Ricoh 50mm f/2 lens seems plenty sharp. Unfortunately, the meter is wonky, as the needle really jumps around so much as to be unreliable, so I used the camera with an external light meter. I had to replace the mirror bumper foam and the light seals on the back, or risk black gooeyness. As a note - before using any older SLR camera, check the mirror foam and back light seals before using. Chances are, the camera will need things replaced about 90% of the time. The hardest part is removing the old stuff, but it should take anyone less than an hour to do this.

The M-42 mount gives one the opportunity to use a slew of various old lenses from Pentax, Cosina, Ricoh, Fuji, Meyer-Optik, Carl-Zeiss Jena, and others. The shutter speed choices are limited to B, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 sec. , which isn't bad, as compared to something like an Argus C-4. From what I could find out, the original cost in 1976 was about $250 with the standard lens. The SLX-500 doesn't seem to have had the production run of cameras like the Singlex and Singlex II -both of which I owned at one time, nor does it have as meany features. It appeared at about the time the M-42 mount was being phased out in favor of the K-mount, and within a few years, a plethora of 35mm SLRs at competitive prices would be flooding the market. However, it IS a basic SLR, and despite the limited range of shutter speeds, it should be adequate for a lot of photography. I loaded mine with the old standby - Kodak Gold 100, and sunny-16 for exposure guide. For most of the shots I used the Rikenon 50mm 2.0 lens.

Like a lot of cameras from the 1970s, it's well-built, can be used as a weapon, and a battery is needed only for the meter.


Anonymous said...

Nice. It has a no-nonsense industrial look about it. It almost says, "I don't care if you don't like it that I'm taking your picture."

zdjecia issanka said...

Nice camera.. Could you post more photos? Im using digital camera but maybe I'll change my stuff.

Anonymous said...

i have got one this week, the mirror blocked high position.i just banged it on a chair to deblock it.
works perfect now.

Rachel Bittles said...

I found one of these cameras in the back of a cupboard in my art classroom. I couldn't believe no one had even known about it until I shown it to them.