Ricoh 500 Seikosha MXL
posted 12-5-02

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You are to be congratulated for possessing the RICOH 500, the first Japanese camera that adjusts itself automatically to various apertures and shutter speeds when setting it to the pertinent light value, a camera which boasts of many other fine features, too, a true product for both professionals and amateurs


(1) Eyelets

(2) Range-finder window

(3) M-F-X synchronization lever

(4) Lens

(5) Triggermatic -Action lever

(6) View-finder window

(7) DUO-LEVER focusing

(8) Flash terminal (European standard)


(9) Rapid rewind crank

(10) Accessory Shoe

(11) Cordless flash contact (hot shoe)

(12) Shutter release button

(13) Film counter

(14) Shutter speed setting ring

(15) Light value figures

(16) Diaphragm setting ring

(17) Light value adjusting ring

(18) Distance scale

(19) Depth-of-field scale

(20) Rewinding spindle slot

(21) View-and-rangefinder eyepiece

(22) Film rail

(23) Rewinding release

(24) Sprocket

(25) Take-up spool

(26) Take-up spool slot

(27) Device for setting back film counter automatically to starting point

(28) Back cover locking disc

(29) Tripod bushing (American standard)

(30) Film pressure

(31) Cartridge positioning spring

(32) Film-type indicator

(33) Back cover locking disc


Avoid direct sunlight.

Use 35 mm films in cartridge (not In magazines), 20 or 36 frames

( I ) Turn back cover locking discs so that the red <lots come in line with the red 0. (See Figure 4)

( 2 ) Place fingers against both sides of the back cover and pull down gently, holding the camera firmly. When putting on the cover again follow a reverse process, making sure it is fully engaged. Be sure the edges are it' position and the film pressure plate does not catch and get scratched.

Turn back cover locking discs so that the red dots come in line with the black C. (See Figure 5.)

( 3 ) Place your new film cartridge in the chamber below the rewinding spindle. (See Figure 6.)

( 4 ) Engage the end of your unexposed film firmly in the inner take-up spool slot. (See Figure 7.)


( 5 ) Make sure the perforations on the film are properly engaged on the teeth of the sprocket, and that the film is properly centered. Taking care that the film cartridge does not jump or fall out of the chamber turn the flange in the direction indicated by the white arrow. If it refuses to turn any more, it means the shutter is cocked; so do not force it on any account. Just release the shutter and it will go on turning. (See Figure 8 )

( 6 ) Make sure that the film end is properly engaged in the take-up spool slot, and then wipe off any particles of dust or finger marks on the film pressure plate with a soft brush or piece of gauze. When you have done this, put on the cover gently and firmly, taking good care that the film pressure plate does not get caught on the edge of the film, and turn the back cover locking discs, in the direction indicated by black arrow, so that the red dots come in line with C.

( 7 ) At the bottom of the camera, and on one of the back cover locking discs, you will find your film type indicator with ASA numbers. These ASA numbers stand for degrees of sensitiveness of films to light, so that when the ASA figure is high, less exposure or faster shutter speeds are required, while in case of a film with a low sensitivity the ASA figure is also low, so that greater exposure or slower shutter speeds become necessary.

This ASA exposure index is indicated on the packet in which your film is sold and probably in the Directions printed and enclosed in the packet. Bring this figure in line with the red dot by turning the dial with the tip of your nail on the tiny metal catch. This is done so that you might remember what the film speed is, a matter of utmost importance when taking pictures. If your film is a color film use the portion marked COLOR on a white base. If the film is a, daylight type, use the portion marked color on- a black base if me film is manufactured for use with artificial light. When the camera is empty, bring the catch (where there is no number) in line with the red dot. (See Figure 9.)

( 8 ) Bring out the triggermatic-action lever. (See Figure 10.)

( 9 ) You will note that the film counter shows "S" (Start). (See : Figure 11.) Release the shutter, or at least press the button I to ensure that it is released, and turn the triggermatic-action I lover with your left index or middle finger as far as it will go I to the left. This advances the film by one frame and cocks the shutter at the same time. If the lever will not advance, never force it; because it means the shutter has not been released. Release the shutter again and advance the film once more, and you will find that the arrow in the film counter is opposite a point closer to " I " than to " S " When the film is advanced for the 3rd time, the arrow points at " 1 ". Then set the LIGHT VALUE required and take your first picture. Anything taken on a frame before the arrow points at "1" is likely to be on an exposed part of the film, and therefore to be useless.


In taking a picture a certain amount of light must pass through the lens and reach the film. This is what is called an exposure. If the amount of exposure is too great or too little, the picture will be no good. In the conventional type of camera one has to set the shutter speed and the required f stop separately. The LIGHT VALUE device eliminates all this trouble, since any change in the shutter speed due to any change in the f stop or any change in the f stop due to any change in the shutter speed is done AUTOMATICALLY. It must of course be understood that the amount of light is about the same.

This is the first Japanese camera which makes AUTOMATIC the giving and ensuring of the correct exposure by simply setting the LIGHT VALUE indicator. This is a mechanical brain that computes the correct exposure for you, provided you know what the LIGHT VALUE is.

ASA/Index Snow, mountain and sea scenery Light subject, Distant scenes Subjects in shade, folks in open Dark subjects, folks in shade, building Among trees or in light room
50 14 13 12 11 10
100 15 14 13 12 11
200 16 15 14 13 12

a. For October to March subtract I from figures indicated. 
b, For mornings and evenings subtract 2 from figures indicated whatever the time of year. 
c. Your light exposure meter gives readings that tally with the figures given here. 
d. For color film you are strongly advised to use an electric exposure meter. 
e. Fit your electric exposure meter into the accessory shoe of the camera.

1. Set your light value by referring to the light-value table' or by taking a reading from an electric exposure meter.

2. Turn the light value adjusting ring and bring it into the required position. (See Figure 13, which shows that the light value is " 11 "). Disregard all shutter speeds and the relative openings in setting the light value. Just shoot.

3. If either shutter speed or opening (which affects depth of field of focus shown on a chart on another page) is not what you want, turn the shutter speed setting ring until your desired speed or opening is indicated. (Set Figure 14.)

When you want to have everything in sharp focus, turn the shutter speed setting ring to the left. If on the other hand you wish to have things on the far and near side of your subject out of focus, turn the ring to the right.

The extent to Which things are in sharp focus may be found by reading the depth of field scale. (See Figure 15 and 16.)

The f stops must be interpreted on the scale in such readings of depths of held as being a rough guide.

When the required shutter speed is a fast one, turn the shutter speed setting ring to the right until the required speed is brought in line with the red mark arrow V.

When the required shutter speed is a slow one, turn the ring to the left until the required speed is brought in line with the same red arrow V

Make sure that the shutter speeds are brought exactly in line with the click stop, since no intermediate speeds are obtainable.

So long as there is no change in the light value, the required exposure is constantly arid automatically ensured, whatever the shutter speed or f stop you set. However, at f/2.8 the f stop window stops moving any farther, so that if you move the shutter speed setting ring beyond this point, the light value figure will get out of line, and the result will be underexposure.

Similarly, when a slower shutter speed is required, moving the shutter speed ring beyond the f/22 point will result in the light value figure getting out of line, and this will result in overexposure.

Medial points just between the light values may be used, such as 3.5, 4.5 16.5.

The only case in which the light value cannot be used is when the shutter speed is 1/

When the shutter speed is set to " B " the shutter will remain open so long as the shutter release button is pressed. The figures stand for fractions of a second, so that I means I second, 2 means 1/2 second, 5 means 1/5 second, and 500 means 1/500 second. The aperture or opening is bigger in proportion to the smallness of the f stop number and is smaller in proportion to the largeness of the f stop number; and the opening itself is a 5-sided hole as illustrated in Figure 17.


As illustrated in the following chart (Figure 18), the depth of field of focus increases in proportion to the smallness of the opening or f stop, and decreases in proportion to its largeness. It is this range that is commonly referred to as the depth of field.

Consequently, apart from the fact that you will have to make sure your subject is in sharp focus, give full consideration to this important factor. For instance, in taking a picture of a person, the blurring of the background by using a wide opening will make the person stand out. On the other hand, when taking a group picture where people are standing in rows a small opening becomes necessary to ensure that the focus is sharp on every subject.

Thus, if you set the opening at f/8 and the distance scale at the red dot, everything will be in sharp focus from 10 feet to infinity. (See Figure 18.) For taking sequence shots referred to in a subsequent section this will prove of immense


1. As illustrated in Figure 19, place your right index finger lightly on the shutter release button and with both hands turn the Duo-lever focusing control.

2. Usually the image as seen through the view-and-rangefinder will appear " double " in the center tinted square, which means that the subject is not in focus. When this is the case, move the lever so that the two images merge, or, in other avoids, become superimposed. The subject is now in sharp focus.


To muddle means the possibility of missing a shot; so let us do things systematically so as not to miss our chance.

1. Get your light value set.

2. Decide on your depth of field and shatter speed.

3. Wind your film, which cocks the shutter, too.

4. Focus your subject.

5. Release the button and take your picture.
Steady your camera when you shoot by resting the camera against a part of your face and hold your breath for a moment as you shoot. (See Figures 23 and 24.)

The camera is built in such a way as to prevent the taking of double exposures and the skipping of a frame. In other words, there is no danger of DOUBLE EXPOSURES or BLANKS.

Do not advance the film until the shutter has been fully released. This is particularly important when using the bulb or slow shutter speeds.

After you have advanced your film, which cocks your shutter automatically. it is highly advisable not to change shutter speeds between l/l0 and 1/25 and between 1/250 and l/500.
Do not keep pulling the triggermatic-action lever when the camera is unloaded as it may put the camera out of

The only absolute guarantee against taking shots that are spoilt owing to any jolting of the camera is the use of the tripod. For any speed slower than 1/25 we recommend the use of RICOH " CINE " TRIPOD. When you use a self-timer a tripod is a necessity; and you will find your RICOH " CINE " TRIPOD ideal, as you can direct your camera toward any direction while it rests fitted on to it. It always pays to make sure that your important group and other pictures are not spoiled.

When using a self-timer or a shutter release, screw it on to the shutter release button groove. The RICOH SELF TIMER, which may be procured from your dealer, gives a wide margin of 7 to 15 seconds before the shutter is released. The length of time depends on the extent to which it is wound; so that you could experiment with it when the camera is unloaded and remember just how far you should wind it.

The RICOH SELF-TIMER is your answer for the family group picture and other pictures in which you wish to have everyone in, including yourself. (See Figure 25.)


The Triggermatic-action lever is an outstanding feature of this miniature camera, adding further to the maneuverability of an already maneuverable camera. ( Only a full pull on the triggermatic-action lever, which takes but a fraction of a second, and the film is advanced by a frame and the shutter set.

This LEVER-PULLING AND) SHUTTER-RELEASING ACTION is so rapid and smooth as to be a feature unequalled bi other cameras. If you bring the red dot on the distance scale to the center and set the lens opening f/8, its versatility is greatly increased, ENABLING THE TAKING OF PICTURES AT A RATE OF10 IN 10 SECONDS.

When you have come to the end of your film, it will refuse to advance any farther. If you pull your lever against this resistance, the perforations will tear and you may even spoil the last part of your film.   In order to prevent such a mishap it is wise to go a little easy on your lever after your 20th exposure or 36th exposure, depending on the number of exposures your film is expected to take. With most films 1 to 3 extra pictures can be taken than indicated on the film


In rewinding the film--to not open the back of the camera until this is completed--flip up the rewinding crank fully, shift the rewinding release button on the back-side of the top toward the letter "R" as indicated, and rewind in the direction of the arrow on the crank. Do not let go the rewinding release button referred to, while you rewind the films already exposed, because if you do, the film will tear owing to the locking of the sprocket. (See Figure 27.)

When the film has been fully wound back into the film cartridge, the crank will become extremely light.  Open the back of the camera and take out the cartridge carefully. The taking off of the back cover will cause the film counter to return  n automatically to S (Start). On no account open the back of the camera until you feel assured the film has been fully rewound. Neither should it be opened in direct sunlight, as strong light call pierce into the cartridge through the narrow slot.

The flash gun is your answer to taking pictures at night, especially of subjects that are in motion, to taking a portrait against the light, and to softening the too-sharp contrast in strong sunlight.

We have flash bulbs of various kinds, such as F. M, or Strobe. On an ordinary camera there is no course but to choose the kind of bulb for which the synchro mechanism is made. The Ricoh De Luxe L, however, is provided with M, F. and X settings, making it possible to use all brands of flash bulbs.  Set the synchro lever to M, F, or Strobe, according to the kind of flash bulb as indicated on the wrapper or box, and you will be ensured of your flash light and shutter opening fully synchronizing from 1 to 1/500, according to the conditions indicated in the following table, which illustrates the relation between the kind of bulb and synchro setting.


There are many kinds of flash gun; but RICOH 500 is provided with a CORDLESS FLASH CONTACT on the ACCESSORY SHOE, so that if you slip on your RICOH FLASH GUN BC-605, it will save you the trouble of attaching a flash cord on to the flash terminal. No dangling cord, and no failure in charging the bulb through faulty connection is your gift that comes to you in your RICOH FLASH GU N BC--605.

In taking pictures with flash, it is vital that the exposure  is correct. Otherwise, underexposure or overexposure will result, the danger being even greater in most cases than in day light conditions whet e the light is even. Any variation in the distance from the source of flash light to the subject results in a proportionate and great difference in the amount of light. Thus, it is extremely important to set the correct F stop according to the distance from the

To put it simply, granting that different types of bulb differ in their luminosity, the closer the subject the smaller must the opening be and vice versa.

With any packet of flash bulbs you bay you will find a table of what are technically referred to as GUIDE NUMBERS. If you divide the number which fits your case by the distance in-feet, the figure you get shows the f stop opening which is required for your shot. For example, if your film has ASA 100 Exposure Index, you look for your GUIDE NUMBER that is given for this Index.  If you wish to find out the distance-in-feet for a given f stop, divide the GUIDE NUMBER by the number that stands for the f


A number of accessories for this camera have already been mentioned in the foregoing pages, besides which we are happy try offer you the f allowing, manufactured specially by our Am.

Our lens holed dues the important job of cutting off unnecessary light or glare that may damage a picture. It is for this reason that the inner side of the hood is coated with black. Our hood is handsomely made and fits snug into an equally handsome leather case.

You, Ricoh filters ensure the taking Of pictures with the right tone arid texture, and are a NECESSARY PART of your picture-taking equipment. The most greatly used of the various filters are the UV arid Y1 and Y2 filters. The yellow filters help to bring out red and yellow tints and to tone down the blues, so that clouds are made to stand out against a filter-darkened sky. The degree to which a sky may be darkened will depend on the darkness of the filter and amount of exposure. When no filter is used, the sky is more than likely to come out flat.

The camera is a precision-built instrument that requires the greatest care and attention.

1. The lens is the life of the camera, so that it requires the most delicate handling. Consequently, do not touch it unless it is dusty or smudged. In removing dust or grit An not wipe, but first use a soft lens brush and, if necessary, wipe gently with a silicone cloth. When a camera is brought into a warm place from a cold place suddenly, it will get clouded. So wait until the camera and lens temperature reaches the room temperature, and the lens will clear up.

2. When you have taken pictures by the seaside or on wet weather, see that it is clean before putting your camera away, and wipe it, if necessary, with a piece of' soft

3. Do not leave the shutter cocked over a period of days, as this will weaken the shutter spring.

4. When not in use, place the syncro setting at X and the shutter At 1/25.  This is important in preserving the life of the camera.

5. When putting the camera in the case, set the distance at infinity.

6. In order to keep the camera from getting damaged through exposure to moist atmospheric, put it in a box arid in a dry, cool place. A chemical substance that will keep the air dry may be obtained.




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