Some cameras do not get the respect they deserve. The Ricoh KR-5 Super is an example of that. As a beginner’s camera, it is a perfect tool. It does not offer many specs, but the same as a fresh golfer could do with half a set, this camera offers enough to any aspiring film photographer. The exemplar I have came with several others from an estate sale. Never tested or looked at for a few years till it’s time has come. It is scantly mentioned online, and when found little information is given. Good old Buktus offers a user manual, being compiled by him it is a tad confusing. A search for a service manual leads to a shady web page which I steered away from.
It is a nice midsize SLR, neither overly big to hold nor too small for big hands. Comparing it to the Chinon I looked at recently, it looks and feels much better. A solid build and finish, no gimmicks, all controls naturally fall where you expect them to be. The original lens is a K-mount 1:2 / 50, more than enough for a starter camera. Speed selection is on the slim side, B, 8 – 1000. Again, more than enough for its target market. Horizontal metal curtain agile and quiet, good and bright finder makes shooting fun.
When toying with it the shutter fired intermittently. It took some time to realize that it only fires when the winding lever is pulled out past a red dot on the top. It is to lock the trigger and to conserve battery, as I found later. Guess reading the manual beforehand could help. The camera can be operated without batteries. They are needed only for the exposure meter and the red light that flashes upon shutter release and when is activated. Replacing batteries, the meter was still dead. After cleaning both threads with my world-famous sonic toothbrush it came to life. The viewer shows a lollipop and a needle. The first simulates the shutter speed, while the later the exposure. Both need to match for correct exposure.
This able camera is offered for small change and is worth buying. Same as Chinon, Ricoh sold many rebranded cameras. Under own brand, Ricoh produced three times more models than Chinon. The early models can fetch several thousand and many Ricoh models sell for hundreds of dollars.
The same model is offered as A-50, XR-5, CR-5 in different markets.