Ricoh Auto Half

I love it when a camera surprises me. The Ricoh Auto Half did that. With its fixed focus and aged meter I wasn’t too sure what I would get. My expectations though were exceeded.

From Ricoh’s own history page this is what they have to say “…in 1962, rolled out the more advanced and handy Ricoh Auto Half—a half-frame, fully automatic camera with automated exposure, focusing and film-winding functions. Being compact, purse-sized and requiring no manual control skills, the world’s smallest popular-model automatic camera of the times proved to be a huge hit, particularly with female consumers.” And from their manual there is this gem. “When you leave your finger from the Release Button, the film is advanced automatically by one frame with the sound “Z-E-E”.

The 25mm f2.8 lens has fixed focus but that proved not to be an issue with any of the subjects I photographed with it. Pretty much anything 5 or more feet out is in acceptable focus. I really like the fact that as a half frame camera the image aspect ratio is naturally vertical “Portrait”. This is a nice change from the ubiquitous “landscape” orientation of most cameras.

Image quality was better than expected with flair only being an issue when I did my normal extreme test of allowing sunlight to hit the lens directly.

I really enjoyed using the Auto Half and because of its small size it will absolutely find a little spot in my camera bag.


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