Ricoh Hi-Color 35 Compact


Ricoh Hi-Color 35 Compact

Ricoh hi-color


The Ricoh Hi-Color 35 is a 35mm camera introduced in 1968 by Ricoh. The camera has a Cds meter and a variable aperture. The camera has automatic exposure setting and film wind via a spring motor, capable of shooting at least 10 photos in 10 seconds.

Features and Operation

Its main features are:

Rikenon 35mm f/2.8 (3-group 4 element) lens, 3 focus zones, 1m-∞, indication in meters available, hyperfocal setting
Shutter 1/30 – 1/300, 1/30 for flash with manual aperture selection, Auto F-stop setting, complete manual setting possible
Size 74 x 113 x 54 mm, Weight : 450 g
ISO 25-400, hot shoe

The camera takes an E675 mercury battery, can be replaced by a SR44 or even a LR44 battery.

The shutter is driven by the dented wheel via the film sprockets of the film, so if you want to test the shutter you have to move the wheel.

The Ricoh Hi-Color 35 is a well designed compact camera, its handling is very easy. With variable aperture and pre-select shutter speeds it's for outdoor and indoor use, a flash is necessary for dark interiors. Pictures are sharp and well exposed. It's sturdy and very, very heavy. It has a tiny indication window for focus in the viewer which is very handy. There is no battery switch. You either have to remove the battery if the camera is not used or to keep it in the dark to save battery power. This is a nice vintage camera of limited use, but it's fun.

Where to Find a Ricoh Hi-Color 35

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The Ricoh Hi-Color is a viewfinder camera for 35mm film first sold in 1968, updating the spring-driven film advance concept Ricoh had promoted with the Auto Half of 1962 and the Auto Shot of 1964. THe Hi-Color went through several generations, with the key differences:

  • the Hi-Color (no "35") was the only model with a front-of-body shutter release,
  • the Hi-Color 35 has a top plate shutter release (There were two versions. Later models had a hot shoe while the early ones had no accessory shoe.),
  • the Hi-Color 35 S has a self-timer,
  • the Hi-Color 35 BT was all black and had a more trapezoidal body shape.

What all models had in common were:

  • a CdS meter,
  • shutter priority automatic exposure plus manual exposure control,
  • and spring powered motor drive.

The viewfinder comprises two objective lenses, an eyepiece, and two prisms in a double Porro formation [1], as found in binoculars.

One winding of the motor drive spring is sufficient for 15 exposures, which can be taken in rapid succession at the rate of one frame per second.

The USA Retail price in 1970 was $74 USD.[2] The 1979 Ricoh AD-1 and A-2 continued the spring-drive concept in a slightly trimmed-down body.


  1. A geometric prism with right-angled triangular end faces, such that light enters the rectangular face of the prism, is reflected twice from the sloped faces, and exits again through the large rectangular face. Because the image is reflected twice, it is not left/right reversed.
  2. Popular Mechanics, May 1970, p 144, Low-Cost Rapid-Fire Camera (second version Hi-Color 35)


Post References and Attribution

This post was created with information kindly contributed by 135Compact

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