Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ricoh 35 ZF

I got my first roll back that I shot through the Ricoh 35 ZF. Let's just say that sucker's sharp when you guess the focus right.

It's a zone-focus, shutter priority point-and-shoot camera. A distance scale is printed on the 40mm f/2.8 lens, starting at 0.9 meters/3 feet and ending just after 5 meters/15 feet. Since 1 meter is roughly 39", or 3-1/4 feet, the distance scale is an approximation. Landscapes are easy, you just twist the lens to the "mountain" setting. That's helpful, because I live in a mountain town.

In the shot above, I'm probably 3 feet away and have it set on the "torso" setting. Look how sharp it is! That's Tri-X film, probably 1/500 (the maximum) shutter speed, maybe f/11 or so.

Since the lens can open to f/2.8, it's usable indoors under good lighting conditions. Take, for example, the following shot. My daughter's room has a double window off to the right, and it's covered by a set of wooden blinds. You aim the louvers just right and it directs the light where you want it to.

At ISO 400, I'll guess it's 1/30 exposure at f/2.8. My hand is pretty steady, so I feel good about shooting at 1/30 all day long. I'm guessing around f/2.8 here because of the vignetting (which I love, anyway).

I really like this little camera. It's so simple to use. The toughest thing I've encountered so far is remembering to set the distance scale. But if you're thinking just a little, it'll give you razor-sharp images. It also makes almost no noise at all when the shutter clicks — street photographers will have a field day. Get it or any other old camera from Collectible Cameras in Phoenix, AZ — nice folks, great selection.

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