Ricoh is a Japanese company that is still in existence (in 2017) and currently produces digital cameras as well as office equipment.
The Riken research institute (abreviation of Rikagaku Kenkyūjo, 理化学研究所, meaning Physico-Chemical Research Institute) and the Riken foundation exist since 1917. In 1927 was created the Rikagaku Kōgyō K.K. (理化学興業㈱, meaning Physico-Chemical Development Co., Ltd.) to market products derived from the research of the institute. On Feb. 6, 1936, the photographic paper division became Riken Kankōshi K.K. (理研感光紙㈱, meaning Riken Sensitized Paper Co Ltd) and was placed under the responsibility of Ichimura Kiyoshi (市村清), who is thus considered as the founder of today's Ricoh. The factory was located in Ōji (王子), Tokyo.
In 1937, Riken Kankōshi bought the company Asahi Bussan and its associated manufacturing facility, producer of the Olympic and Super Olympic cameras. This company had started the distribution of Olympic cameras in 1934 and released the Super Olympic in 1935 or 1936. In November, Riken reorganized these into the dependent company Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō (unrelated to the other Asahi Kōgaku predecessor of Pentax), which would continue the production of bakelite cameras and leaf shutters in a semi-independent way.
In March 1938, Riken Kankōshi itself became Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō K.K. (理研光学工業㈱, meaning Riken Optical Industries Co., Ltd.). The same year, it announced the Riken No.1, a 3×4cm camera with focal-plane shutter, which was actually released in 1939 as the Gokoku. The camera was produced in the Ōji plant, and was followed by the Ricohl, Roico, Ricohflex B, Gaica or Kinsi before the production was ended by the war.
In parallel, Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō gradually took over the distribution of the cameras made by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō. The Olympic Camera Club established by Asahi was turned into the Ricoh Camera Club (理光カメラクラブ), and its magazine Shinkō Graph (新光グラフ) was taken over by the parent company. Riken also sold cameras made by various subcontractors, whose identity is not always known. The subcontracted models were sold with lenses and shutters made by Riken, but the degree of involvement of the company in the assembly of these cameras is unknown. Riken sold a few lenses to other manufacturers as well.
In 1941, the subsidiary Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō became Asahi Musen Kōgyō K.K. (旭無線工業㈱, meaning Asahi Wireless Co., Ltd.). Its factory was in Magome, Tokyo, at the location of Ricoh's current headquarters. In addition to cameras and optical products, it was making wireless equipment. In 1942, the two companies Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō and Asahi Musen Kōgyō left the Riken Foundation which was the last link remaining between the Riken Institute and its offshoot companies. The production and sales of cameras was stopped during the war, perhaps around 1942 or 1943. Part of the optical division was transferred to Asahi Musen at the time, apparently including the camera department, to preserve the know-how.
After the war, the subsidiary Asahi Musen introduced the Steky in 1947. Asahi Musen soon became Asahi Seimitsu Kōgyō (旭精密工業, meaning Asahi Precision Industries), which was in charge of all the camera development and manufacture in the late 1940s and early 1950s, in the Magome plant. The main designer was Fujimoto Sakae, who previously worked for another major camera maker, and who made efforts to prepare the factory for mass production.
Work on an improved version of the wartime Ricohflex B TLR camera started immediately after the war, and the resulting Ricohflex III was launched in 1950. It was the first of various geared-lens Ricohflex models, which met a large success on the domestic and export markets, and initiated the 1950s "TLR boom" in Japan. The company made almost no attempt to produce bellows camera, except for the Ricoh Six in 1952.
The subsidiary Asahi Seimitsu was merged into Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō in April 1953, and all subsequent camera activity took place in the main company. The first 35mm camera was the Ricolet, released the same year, followed by various viewfinder and rangefinder cameras.
The Ricoh Auto Half half-frame camera with spring motor, released in 1962, was another commercial success, made in various versions until the early 1980s.
The company finally took the name of its products, becoming Ricoh (K.K. Rikō, ㈱リコー) in 1963. From 1964, it made a few 35mm SLR with interchangeable 42mm screw lenses, most of which were called Singlex. In 1977, it switched to the K mount introduced by Pentax, for a series of cameras called XR, made until the 1990s. The only autofocus SLR cameras made by the company were the various Mirai, with non-interchangeable zoom lenses.
In 1994, Ricoh released the Ricoh R1, a compact camera with panorama mode. It was followed by various other deluxe compact cameras, such as the GR1, and the company continued this trend into the digital era with the GR Digital.
In 2009, Ricoh released the Ricoh GXR, an interchangeable lens camera without bayonet. The GXR is an interchangeable unit camera system in which lenses are changed by using a slide-in mount system to attach camera units to the body. The lens, image sensor, and image processing engine are integrated into the lens units so the body itself does not contain an image sensor.
In 2011, Ricoh announced it was acquiring the Imaging Systems business of Pentax. After the acquisition the name of the company was changed to Pentax Ricoh Imaging. In August 2013, the company is now known as Ricoh Imaging.
Interchangeable Lens Unit
Viewfinder, fixed lens
- Super Olympic D (made by Asahi Bussan then by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō)
- Super Olympic DIII and DIIIA (made by Asahi Bussan then by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō)
- Asahi Seimitsu 35mm stereo (prototype, c.1951)
- Ricolet S
- Ricoh Auto 35
- Ricoh Auto 35V
- Ricoh Auto Shot
- Ricoh Hi-Color / 35 / 35 S / 35BT
- Ricoh Super Shot 2.4
- Ricoh 35ZF
- Ricoh Infomatic
- Ricoh AD-1
- Ricoh A-2
- Ricoh 35EF-S
- Ricoh 35 FM
- Ricoh 500 ST
Point & Shoot
Rangefinder, fixed lens
- Ricoh 300 (1958)
- Ricoh 300S (1960)
- Ricoh 35 Deluxe (1956)
- Ricoh 35 Deluxe L (1957)
- Ricoh 35 electronic
- Ricoh 35 New Deluxe
- Ricoh 35
- Ricoh 35 L (1962)
- Ricoh 35S
- Ricoh 500 Deluxe
- Ricoh 500 G (1971)
- Ricoh 500 GS (1973)
- Ricoh 500 ME (1980)
- Ricoh 500
- Ricoh 500 GX (1977)
- Ricoh 500 RF
- Ricoh 519 Deluxe (FiveOneNine)
- Ricoh 519M
- Ricoh 520m CdS
- Ricoh 800 EES
- Ricoh Elnica 35 (aka Ricoh 35 Electronic)
- Ricoh Elnica 35M
- Ricoh Elnica F
- Ricoh Jet
- Ricoh Mate (1960)
- Ricoh Ricohmatic 35
- Ricoh Max
- Ricoh S2 (1958)
- Ricoh S3 (1959)
- Ricoh Super Shot
- Ricoh Wide (1960)
- Ricolet II (1955)
- Riken 35 (1955)
Rangefinder, interchangeable lens
SLR, lens shutter
SLR, focal plane
- Ricoh Singlex
- Ricoh Singlex TLS
- Ricoh TLS 401 / Ricohflex TLS 401
- Ricoh Singlex II
- Ricoh SLX 500
- Ricoh Auto TLS EE
- Ricoh XR-1
- Ricoh XR-2
- Ricoh XR-500 (same as KR-5)
- Ricoh XR-1s
- Ricoh XR-2s
- Ricoh XR1000S (same as KR-10)
- Ricoh XR-2000 (same as KR-10 Super)
- Ricoh XR-10 (same as KR-10x)
- Ricoh XR6
- Ricoh XR-F (XR6 with electronic focus assistance)
- Ricoh XR-S (XR7 with solar power)
- Ricoh XR 500 Auto
- Ricoh XR7
- Ricoh XR-P
- Ricoh XR-20SP (same as KR-30SP)
- Ricoh XR-M (same as XR-X)
- Ricoh XR-X
- Ricoh XR-X 2000 (same as KR-10M)
- Ricoh XR-10M (same as KR-10M)
- Ricoh XR-X 3P (same as XR-10P)
- Ricoh XR-X 3PF (same as XR-10PF)
- Ricoh XR-X3000
- Ricoh Mirai
- Ricoh XR-7M II
- Ricoh XR-8 (same as KR-5 Super II)
- Ricoh XR-8 Super (same as KR-5 III)
- Ricoh XR Solar
- Ricoh XR-10PF
- Ricoh XR-10P
- Ricoh KR-5
- Ricoh KR-5 II
- Ricoh KR-5 Super
- Ricoh KR-5 Super II
- Ricoh KR-5 III
- Ricoh KR-5sv
- Ricoh KR-10
- Ricoh KR-10SE
- Ricoh KR-10E (Same as XR-7M II?)
- Ricoh KR-10M
- Ricoh KR-10 Super (KR-10S)
- Ricoh KR-10x
- Ricoh KR-30SP Program
- Ricoh CR-5
- Ricoh Caddy
- Ricoh Auto Half
- Ricoh Auto Half S
- Ricoh Auto Half E
- Ricoh Auto Half SL
- Ricoh Auto Half E2
- Ricoh Auto Half EF
- Ricoh Auto Half EF2
- Ricoh Auto Half SE
- Ricoh Auto Half SE2
- Ricoh Auto Half BT
- Ricoh Teleca 240
- Steky I
- Steky II
- Steky III
- Steky IIIA
- Steky IIIB
- Golden Steky
- Ricoh 16
- Golden Ricoh 16
- Ricoreo 16 (stereo prototype)
- Semi Olympic (made by Asahi Bussan)
- New Olympic (made by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō)
- New Olympic II (made by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō)
- Semi Kinsi (made by Asahi Kōgaku Kōgyō)
- Semi Adler and Adler III (rebadged version of the Semi Victor)
- Adler A (rebadged version of the Collex)
- Adler B
- Adler C (rebadged version of the Semi Rody)
- Gaica and Gaica II
- Heil and Heil C
- Adler VI (perhaps a rebadged version of the First Six by Kuribayashi)
- Adler Six I and II (rebadged version of the Pilot Six by Tachibana)
- Ricoh Six
- Ricohflex (original), made by Mori
- Ricohflex A, perhaps an experimental pseudo TLR made in 1936
- Ricohflex B
- Luminaflex, assembled after 1945 by an unknown company, from spare Ricohflex B
- Ricohflex III
- Ricohflex IIIB
- Ricohflex IIII
- Ricohflex VI
- Ricohflex VII
- Ricohflex VIIS
- Ricohflex VIIM
- Super Ricohflex
- Ricohflex Holiday
- Ricohflex Million
- Ricohflex New Million
- Ricohflex Dia
- Ricohflex Dia M
- Ricohflex New Dia
- Ricohflex New Dia 2
- Ricohflex Dia L (Ricoh Diacord L)
- Ricoh Diacord G
- Ricohmatic 225
- Ricoh Auto 66
3×4 focal plane
3×4 pseudo TLR
3×4 strut folding
- Ricohmatic 126
- Ricoh 126C Automatic
- Ricoh 126C Auto CdS
- Ricoh 126C EE
- Ricoh 126C Flex
- Ricoh 126 Auto X
- Ricohmatic 110X Pocket Deluxe
- Ricohmatic 600M
Riken Ultrazin or Luminous filters were made by a different company called Riken Ultrazin Kōgyōsho (理研ウルトラジン光業所), then Riken Kōki (理研光器).
Riken or Ricoh lenses mounted on other cameras
- Liebe 75/4.5 (three elements, on the Semi Osamo)
- Toa 75/3.5 (four elements, on the Taroflex)
- History page of the official website of the Riken Institute.
- Arimura, p.6 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14.
- Matsuzawa, history of Riken Kankōshi, in the June 2000 issue (no.228) of the Riken News bulletin (archived).
- History page of the Ricoh official website, 1936–45 period.
- The exact address in 1943 was Tōkyō-to Ōji-ku Kamiya-chō 1–760 (東京都王子区神谷町1–760). Source: "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras").
- Chronology of the Riken Konzern.
- Article of IR Magazine about the history of Ricoh.
- Article of IR Magazine about the history of Ricoh.
- Comparison of the August 1938 and November 1940 issues of Shinkō Graph. The club is called Olympic Camera Club in the former and Ricoh Camera Club in the latter.
- Arimura, p.6 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14. This source gives the name "Asahi Musen K.K." but the full name is given by the April 1943 governement inquiry and by Matsuzawa in this article of the Riken News bulletin (archived).
- Arimura, p.6 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14. The address in 1943 was Tōkyō-to Ōmori-ku Magome-chō Nishi (東京都大森区馬込町西) 4–3085. Source: "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras").
- Arimura, p.6 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.14, says that camera production was prohibited in July 1941, but that general prohibition was not applied instantly by all manufacturers. Sales of Riken cameras continued for one year or two, as demonstrated by advertisements dated 1942 and 1943 listed in Kokusan kamera no rekishi (the last ones are those for the Ricohl IIB).
- Press release announcing 2011 Pentax acquisition at Ricoh.com.
- Company names: chronology of the Riken Konzern (archived). Attribution of the Luminous filters to Riken Kōki: leaflet or instruction manual observed in an online auction.
- "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras") (lens item Lc12).
- "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" ("Inquiry into Japanese cameras") (lens item Lb37).
- "Kokusan shashinki no genjōchōsa" (国産写真機ノ現状調査, Inquiry into Japanese cameras), listing Japanese camera production as of April 1943. Reproduced in Supuringu kamera de ikou: Zen 69 kishu no shōkai to tsukaikata (スプリングカメラでいこう: 全69機種の紹介と使い方, Let's try spring cameras: Presentation and use of 69 machines). Tokyo: Shashinkogyo Syuppan-sha, 2004. ISBN 4-87956-072-3. Pp.180–7.
- Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō. Riken Kōgaku no kamera to sōgankyō (理研光学のカメラと双眼鏡, Riken Kōgaku cameras and binoculars). Leaflet published c.1939 (date not indicated). Document reproduced in this Flickr album by Rebollo_fr.
- The British Journal Photographic Almanac 1938, edited by Arthur J. Dalladay. London: Henri Greenwood & Co., Ltd. Publication date not indicated, certainly late 1937. Advertisement by Asahi Bussan on pp.694–5.
- Arimura Katsumi (有村克巳). "Rikō Ryakushi" (リコー略史, Ricoh short history). Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.14, October 1989. No ISBN number. Rikō kamera no subete (リコーカメラのすべて, special issue on Ricoh). Pp.6–7.
- Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7.
- Matsuzawa Hiroshi (松沢弘). "Benchā no genryū o saguru. Kyodai kigyō Rikō o unda kankōshi." (ベンチャーの源流を探る・巨大企業リコーを生んだ感光紙, Investigating the sources of the venture: the sensitized paper which gave birth to the huge Ricoh company.) In the June 2000 issue (no.228) (archived) of the Riken News bulletin published by the Riken Institute.
- Rikagaku Kenkyūjo Historical Committee (理化学研究所史編集委員会). Riken Seishin hachi-jū-hachi-nen (理研精神八十八年, Riken spirit, 88 years). Wakō: Rikagaku Kenkyūjo, 2005. Part 1, chapter 2, pp.38–39. Available in pdf format in the website of the Riken Institute. (The section on Riken Kōgaku Kōgyō closely follows the text of Matsuzawa's article.)
- Tanaka Masao (田中政雄). "Rikō kamera no nagare" (リコーカメラの流れ, Evolution of the Ricoh cameras). Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.14, October 1989. No ISBN number. Rikō kamera no subete (リコーカメラのすべて, special issue on Ricoh). Pp.8–11.
- History pages from the global Ricoh official website
- History page of the Riken Institute official website (the original version of this page is in Japanese)
- History pages and camera list of the Ricoh Japan website (the Japanese version of these pages is more complete)
- Chronology of the Riken Konzern (archived) in the Riken Institute official website
- History of Ricoh in the September and October 2002 issue (Vol.57) of IR Magazine
- Website about Ichimura Kiyoshi (archived), the founder of Ricoh
- History of Ricoh concentrating on its manufacture of watches, in the Hokkaidō Udetokei Kurabu (a site about wristwatches)
Riken and Ricoh cameras
- User manuals for most Ricoh cameras, including almost all SLRs, TLR, Point and Shoot at butkus.org's Orphan Cameras
- The Ricohflex page in Greg Erker's website
- US patent: Design of the Ricoh 16
- Ricoh camera's in Andrys Stienstra's camera collection
- The unnofficial guide to Ricoh cameras and Rikenon lenses
- Riken/Ricoh cameras Price Guide, completed auction prices, photos, information
- Ricoh camera list and Ricoh camera library at the Ricoh official website
- Ricoh cameras at Japan Family Camera
- Riken cameras using 127 film at Asacame
|Asahi Bussan and Riken prewar and wartime cameras ()|
|rigid or collapsible|
|Vest Adler | Gokoku | Semi Kinsi | Letix | Olympic | New Olympic | Regal Olympic | Semi Olympic | Super Olympic | Vest Olympic | Riken No.1 | Ricohl | Roico | Seica | Zessan|
|Semi Adler | Adler III | Adler A | Adler B | Adler C | Adler Four | Adler Six | Gaica | Heil | Kinsi||Chukon Ref||Ricohflex | Ricohflex B|