My Father's Camera: Ricoh KR-5


When I started to get interested in analog photography, I asked my father to give me his camera. I fell in love with it! The Ricoh KR-5 is considered by many to be a great starter camera for novices. It's a standard 35 mm SLR camera made by a Japanese company that is still in existence and currently produces digital cameras as well as office equipment. It was manufactured in 1975 and its only electronic component was the exposure meter — users have to learn to manually set everything else. The fact that so many people still use this film camera is a testament to the camera's quality and durability. Once a photographer knows how to use this, it makes using other cameras easier.

Credits: tsingtao

It offers superb optics and outstanding mechanical performance and reliability. The KR-5 featured a built-in, through-the-lens, full aperture CdS exposure meter which measured the light coming through the lens, enabling the photographer to set the proper exposure for a given lighting condition. The correct exposure is obtained by setting the shutter speed and f-stop in the right combination for the type of film, subject, and lighting conditions. The KR-5 was originally equipped with a Riconar 55 mm f/2.2 standard lens made of 4 elements arranged in 4 groups. The camera had a mechanical metal focal plane shutter with speeds from 1/8 to 1/500th of a second.

Here are some photos:

Credits: tsingtao

Technical Specifications

Camera Type: 35 mm SLR
Format: 24 × 36 mm
Film Size and Capacity: 35 mm perforated film in 12, 20, 24 or 36 exposures.
Filter size: 52 mm screw-in type
Lens Mount: ''K" type bayonet with 65° rotating angle
Shutter: mechanically-controlled, vertical-travel, shutter with speeds from 1/8 to 1/500 second plus B (bulb); flash X sync was from 1/8 to 1/60th of a second
Viewfinder: Fixed eye-level pentaprism
Focusing screen: Diagonal Split-image spot in microprism-image band surrounded by Fresnel field
Exposure Meter: Two CdS photocells TTL full open metering for center-weighted average light reading coupled to shutter speeds, film speeds, and f-stops.
Film Speed Range: ASA 12 ~ 3200 (DIN 12 ~ 36)
Exposure Meter Power Supply: Two 1.5V silver-oxide batteries
Flash Contact: "X'' contact on hot shoe for a cordless electronic flash unit
Exposure Counter: Additive, automatic resetting.
Dimensions: 139.9 (width) × 91.3 (height) × 48.0 (depth) mm (Body only)

The KR-5 is very easy to use. Just load the film, set the ISO, focus on your subject and adjusts the exposure by playing with the shutter speed and f-stop. That's all! The camera does not allow double exposures, but by rewinding the film, you can get some beautiful photos.

This is a review submitted by Community Member tsingtao

written by tsingtao on 2012-06-12 #gear #people #film #35mm #review #camera #old #vintage #manual #camera-review #easy #doubles #lomography #ricoh #user-review


  1. alex34
    alex34 ·

    Great article!

  2. sonliang
    sonliang ·

    Good review!

  3. tsingtao
    tsingtao ·

    Thanks @alex34 @sonliang

  4. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·


  5. litleandi
    litleandi ·

    I need to get one!!! =) Great writing. =)

  6. tsingtao
    tsingtao ·

    Thank you @herbert-4 @litleandi!

  7. brandkow93
    brandkow93 ·

    Great article and lovely photos, if you havent already try to definetily pick up some Pentax K mount lenses.

  8. tsingtao
    tsingtao ·

    Thank you @brandkow93! Unfortunately I don't have any pentax ..

  9. clickiemcpete
    clickiemcpete ·

    Nice review! I think what brandkow was saying is that the Pentax K mount lenses are compatible with the Ricoh and so there is a big variety out there that you could use. ;)

  10. tsingtao
    tsingtao ·

    @clickiemcpete Oh!! Thank you for the info.

  11. tsingtao
  12. emanuele
    emanuele ·

    Great article!

  13. sanfong
    sanfong ·

    Great!! I'm a Ricoh fan too!

  14. tsingtao
    tsingtao ·

    I love Ricoh @sanfong

  15. realmustache
    realmustache ·

    great review. i have a rikoh kr-5 super. it was my first camera and i love it. i bought the base, a kiron f/4.5 80-200mm macro lens, and a mc seikanon f/3.5-4.5 28-80mm lens for $40 at a swap meet back in 2004, i think.. i didn't know anything about photography or basic camera functions when i got it. i had to ask my then-girlfriend's dad why my pictures were coming out all dark and he told me that the batteries for the light meter were dead and needed replacing. i didn't even know older cameras took batteries, that's how little i knew. i later bought a smc pentax-a f/2 50mm lens for $10 when i was in college 3 or 4 years ago. i adore it and use that lens almost exclusively

  16. tsingtao
    tsingtao ·

    Wow @realmustache. You have a really long story to tell about this camera!

  17. sudhashunmu
    sudhashunmu ·

    wonderful article tsingtao .....the camera must be lucky to be in ur hand as ur pictures speake volumes of the camera

  18. tsingtao
    tsingtao ·

    Thank you very much @sudhashunmu !!

  19. tsingtao
    tsingtao ·

    @rkraneis I'm really happy with your purchase! Your website is very interesting, thanks!

  20. miniatuurmensje
    miniatuurmensje ·

    I bought this camera last year, I must try double exposures with my next roll.

  21. tsingtao
    tsingtao ·

    @miniatuurmensje And after i want to see the results!

  22. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    i paid 15 euros for mine, body and rikenon 50mm f1:2 lenses! is a lovely small SLR! great review!

  23. jcollet21
    jcollet21 ·

    I love my kr-5!!! Found her up in the loft in a box in a box and almost ripped my dads head off for not telling me about it! Got the original 50mm kit lens and a 300mm tele lens and the results are amazing!! I you can find one on eBay and are looking for a 35mm SLR, GET ONE!

  24. tsingtao
    tsingtao ·

    @jcollet21 it's an amazing camera!

  25. verdas
    verdas ·

    What about focusing? Does it take time to manually focus?

  26. tsingtao
    tsingtao ·

    No @verdas. The focusing is really quite simple.

  27. instantforest
    instantforest ·

    Thank you for writing this. I've just ordered this camera from eBay and an looking forward to using it.

  28. tsingtao
    tsingtao ·

    @INSTANTFOREST it's my favorite camera!

  29. coreyd
    coreyd ·

    Just got one of these. How do I get a correct exposure.

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