Even with just fixed focusing, two shutter speed settings, and a simple design, the Ricoh Auto Half was a popular half-frame camera during the heyday of compact analogue shooters. With an estimated production period from 1960 to 1963, this half-frame camera was a crowd favorite due to its easy-to-use features and quirky accessories.
The Ricoh Auto Half had a spring-drive auto crank feature that allows the shooter to shoot 25-30 half-frame shots in one winding (a similar winding feature is employed by the Fujica Drive half-frame camera). This made the Auto Half a suitable camera for street photography especially when the need for a quick snapshot arises. Photographers could count on its unconventional film winding feature at every turn.
Aside from the spring-drive feature of the Auto Half, it also had an unusual shutter placement — the shutter release is located at the front of the camera, near the lens and selenium cell. Not only that, but the Auto Half could also be used with various accessories like a tripod attachment (which is strangely located at the side of the camera), specialized filters (made in a rectangular shape to accommodate the selenium cell and lens) and a cold shoe flash.
The Ricoh Auto Half was also sold and rebranded as the Standard Gatling 72 and the Ansco Memo Automatic cameras. Later models of the Auto Half improved in design and functionality. Some notable models are the Ricoh Auto Half SL and E2 and EF variants.
Photos Taken by Our Community Members
Lens: RICOH 25 mm f/2.8, 4-element in 3 groups
Film: 35 mm
Meter: Selenium Cell
Shutter Speeds: 1/30s with flash and 1/125 for normal shots
Winder: Spring-driven wind
Flash: Cold Shoe Flash