The Ricoh Auto Half E2: It's clockwork, 08 May 2023

The Ricoh Auto Half E2: It's clockwork, 08 May 2023

I was browsing the Kamerastore website recently, as you do, and came across an unusual looking camera, the Ricoh Auto Half E2. In the photograph on the site there was a large wheel on the bottom. At first I thought that this was something that the Kamerastore had used to balance the camera, but then I realised it was a part of the camera itself. But what was it?

A short Google search revealed that this was a clockwork winder. When wound up the mechanism would automatically wind on the film to the next frame. It was a clockwork motor drive! What was even more interesting was that the Ricoh Auto Half was actually a half frame 35mm camera.

Now I was really interested. I had been looking for a 35mm half frame camera for a while, but models like the Olympus Pen or Yashica Samurai were well out of my price range and I wasn't really interested in the half frame option on the Diana Mini.

It was also appealing that the Ricoh was only 15€, so what was the catch? According to the description, the camera had not passed Kamerastore's quality inspection. It would work, they said, on manual but the selenium cell was no longer functioning. Well, it had a manual mode, so that was good enough for me. 

The camera arrived this morning. It's a little beat up, and won't work without a film, but after you wind it up and take a photo the camera makes a satisfying whirr as it winds the film to the next frame.

The body is a little beat up, and there's a dent on the back. I will also need to replace the light seals. The selenium cell might not be working, and if so I'll have to use it in manual mode to begin with, but I'm checking up on possible solutions to get that working again. 

If all goes well it'll be ideal for the #ShittyCameraChallenge​, alongside my medium format half frame camera the Bencini Koroll 2. I'm detecting a theme.

#Ricoh, #Clockwork, #HalfFrame, #FilmIsNotDead, #Analogue, #IShootFilm, #ShittyCameraChallenge, #Vintage,