Riken/Ricoh produced low and high end Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) cameras in the 1950's and into the 1960's.
The Ricohflex family are budget priced models with 3 element lenses that are geared together for focusing. The bodies are made from sheet steel with a thicker steel lens plate. Many models used the Riken shutter that would only flash sync at 1/50. Shutter speeds are limited compared to Rolleiflex's and Rolleicords of that era (most have only 1/25, 1/50, 1/100 and B). All have the "red window" method to stop on the next frame though Riken produced an Auto-Stop feature that was factory installed on some cameras and could be user installed. They use push-on filters.
The original Diacord model (a.k.a Ricohflex Dia) as well as the Diacord G and L and Ricohmatic 225 have a cast aluminum body and helical focusing with a lever on each side of the lens panel (called "Duo-Lever Focusing System" in the Diacord G manual.). Better shutters were used giving more speeds: 1/10-1/300 (Dia), 1-1/400 (G) or 1-1/500(L and 225). The lens in the Dia is a 3 element design (AFAIK) and some Diacord G's have a 3 element Riconar lens. Later G's as well as the L's and 225 have the well regarded Rikenon 4-element (tessar style) lens. The Diacord models still use knob advance with separate shutter cocking levers, but the 225 uses a crank to wind and simultaneously cock the shutter. All models have automatic stop on the next frame and thus don't have the red window. They use Bay 1 filters and accessories (except for Dia). Click here if you want to build your own Bay 1 lens shade.
All models use 120 film to produce twelve 6x6 cm images. Some models have an insert (called Ricohkin or Color Adapter) which allows portrait orientation shots to be taken on 35 mm film. The Super Ricohflex came in several versions. The one with multiple red windows on the back works with an insert to allow 127 film to be used. There were additional models like the Super 44 ( Photo ) which takes 127 format film but these aren't covered here. No models were made that use 220 film.
See the Ricohflex Timeline.
Ricohflex Model I, II and V: These model numbers were never used.
Ricohflex Model III: was introduced in 1950. It has the same f3.5 Anastigmat lens as later models but apertures are marked to f22 (instead of f16). Has the Riken shutter with B, 1/25, 1/50 and 1/100 speeds. Compared to the Model VII it has a smaller viewfinder magnifier and a back locking mechanism that isn't as good. It has a folding viewfinder shade which was changed to the pop-up type in the Model IIIb (photo) which also has the later style larger viewfinder magnifier.
Ricohflex Model IV: Introduced in 1952. Earlier ones are labelled IIII which was later changed to the more correct Roman Numeral IV. Shutter speeds of B and 1/25 to 1/100 are supported. I don't (yet) know what the differences are from the III and IIIB models.
Ricohflex Model VI: Introduced in 1953, is a manual 6x6 format camera without light meter, using knob film advance with "red window".
Ricohflex Model VII and VIIs: Introduced in 1954 and 1955, are manual 6x6 format cameras without light meter, using knob film advance with "red window". Some have the Auto-Stop feature.
Ricohflex Model VII (Seikosha shutter): Introduced in 1954. Has Seikosha shutter with speeds of 1 sec to 1/500 plus B.
Ricohflex Model VIIM: Introduced in 1956. Has shutter with speeds of 1/10 to 1/300 plus B.
Super Ricohflex: Introduced in 1956, is a manual 6x6 format camera without light meter, using knob film advance with "red window(s)". Some models came from the factory with the Auto-Stop feature (though red window was still present). It was also available as a user-installed option (photo). There were four versions of the Super Ricohflex with three of them having 1/10 to 1/200 shutter speeds but one have 1 sec to 1/500 speeds.
Link to the Super Ricohflex user's manual.
Ricohflex Holiday: Similar to the Model VII, it has the Riken shutter with limited shutter speeds (B, 1/25, 1/50 and 1/100) but has a flash shoe and film reminder on the wind knob like the Super Ricohflex.
Ricohflex Million: Similar to the Model VII, but has a Riken shutter with speeds from 1s to 1/300. And hot shoe on side as well as PC connector on front panel. Photo coming soon.
Ricohflex Dia: The original Diacord. The name plate says Ricohflex so it is sometimes confused with the geared focusing Ricohflexes. Some Diacord G's appear to have been nameplated Ricohflex which adds to the confusion. The Diacord L manual shows the camera with a Ricohflex nameplate. So L's may also have been produced with the Ricohflex nameplate.
Ricohflex Dia M: A cheaper version of the with speeds from 1/10 to 1/300. Photo coming soon.
Ricohflex: The next version of the Dia. Has bayonet 1 fittings on taking and viewing lenses. Has Riconar 3 element taking lens. Photo coming soon.
Diacord G: manual 6x6 format camera without light meter. Knob advance with automatic stop on next frame.
Link to the Ricoh Diacord G User's Manual.
Diacord L: manual 6x6 format camera with uncoupled light meter. Knob advance with automatic stop on next frame.
Link to the metering section of the Diacord L User's Manual.
Ricohmatic 225: manual 6x6 format camera, with uncoupled light meter. Has crankwind and shutter cocking with crank, automatic stop on next frame.
Ricoh Auto 66: match needle metered 6x6 format camera (similar to Rolleimagic). Knob advance with automatic stop on next frame.
Ricoh shutter care tips.
For more Ricohflex info see Dan Colucci's web page.
See the Stereo Ricohflex Sam Smith made from two Model VI's.
Follow my progress on making a MF stereo camera from a pair of Ricohmatic 225 TLRs. Click here.
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