Ricohflex Model VII TLR
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Ricohflex Model VII TLR

A fully manual 6x6 format camera, without light meter, using knob film advance with "red window".

  • Taking lens: 8cm (=80mm) f3.5 Anastigmat. This is a decent 3 element lens with front cell focusing. On my camera, 3 of the 6 surfaces are AR coated. Other Model VII's may differ if they are older or newer. Later model cameras are labeled 80mm.

  • Shutter: Riken shutter has speeds of 1/25, 1/50 and 1/100 plus B. It is cocked and fired with the same lever or can be fired with a cable release. There is no double exposure prevention. The leaf shutter has two blades. The Model VIIs ( Photo ) has the Riken shutter with two more shutter speeds: 1/10 and 1/200 (Info courtesy of Amy at Goodwin Photo). The number of shutter blades and the minimum aperture may be different on the VIIs. I also have a report of a Model VII that has a Seikosha-Rapid shutter with speeds of B and 1-1/500. That camera was purchased in Japan and doesn't have the sport finder.

  • Aperture: goes from a marked f3.5 to f16, without click-stops. Beyond f16 the lever will continue to move to approximately f32 (though f22 and f32 aren't marked). The aperture is formed by 9 blades which gives nearly circular out-of-focus highlights.

  • DOF scale: is provided at top of viewing lens. Marks for f3.5, f4, f5.6, f8, f11 and f16. Markings appear to be based on a circle of confusion of 0.08mm (FL/1000) and so will give a somewhat soft image in critical applications.

  • Viewing lens: 8cm f3.5 and appears to be 3 element. On my camera only the front surface appears to be AR coated judging by the 5 white and one dim (blueish) reflections. So the coating was primarily a marketing ploy.

  • Finder: groundglass without fresnel so the corners are quite dim. There is a horizontal and vertical line about 1 cm from each edge of the GG. A flip-up magnifier (about 1" dia) is also provided for critical focusing. The Model VII also has the sport finder. The camera can be held at eyelevel and you look through a square hole in the back of the viewfinder shade. The front of the shade (the top of the camera when closed) has thin lines cut in it which mark the edges of what the camera will photograph. If you view with both eyes open you will see the frame superimposed on the scene.

  • Meter: none.

  • Focusing: the taking and viewing lenses are geared together. Rotating one to focus will turn the other. If the focusing helical grease has stiffened, like in my cameras, you may have to turn both the taking and viewing lenses together during some part of the rotation. A re-lube would solve this problem. My Model VII came with an aftermarket quick focus handle that attaches to the taking lens. Focus distance is marked on the viewing lens (in feet).

  • Film advance is done with a knob. There is no automatic stop. A red window is used to stop on the numbers printed on the paper backing of 120 film. There is no mechanism to prevent advancing without taking a photo (blank frames).

  • Film changing is done by opening the back and removing an insert that holds both spools. The old spool is moved to the takeup position, the film put in the supply position and the film leader is started on the takeup spool. The insert is put back in the camera and the door closed. The red window is used to judge when the film has been advanced to frame one.

  • Flash: My camera is synced for flashbulbs only. I have heard of Model VII's with X sync though (at 1/50 only). Mine has the bayonet style ASA flash connector (sometimes called the Kodak connector). X-synced Model VII's may have a PC connector, though I don't know for sure. Adapters from ASA to PC are available from Photo Emporium and other Shutterbug advertizers. When this was my only medium format camera I built a flash delay circuit to allow me to use a modern electronice flash. See the schematic here. No hotshoe or coldshoe is provided.

Click here to see photo of the VIIS model.

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