Ricoh R1

Ultra-Compact 35mm Camera


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Ricoh R1

Ricoh R1 next to a 35mm Kodak film can. (shoots 35mm film, 6.3 oz./179 g with CR2 cell and 36-exposure film, 1.1'/0.35m close focus, about $75 used).enlarge. I'd get it at this link directly to them at eBay (see How to Win at eBay).

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection. Thanks for helping me help you! Ken.


June 2016  Ricoh  Nikon  Canon  LEICA  Fuji  Sony  Zeiss  All Reviews

How to Shoot Film

Why fixed lenses take better pictures


Ricoh R1

Ricoh R1. enlarge.


Ricoh R1

Ricoh R1. enlarge.


Sample Images

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Photos too big for your computer? Just drag the lower right corner of your browser window to the left and all my ultra-high resolution images will magically squeeze to fit.

Bull painted like American Flag

American Bull, flash ON, April 2016. bigger.


Katie pours yogurt

Katie pours her yogurt, flash ON, April 2016. bigger.


Katie makes yogurt

Katie builds her yogurt, flash ON, April 2016. bigger.


Katie's yogurt

Katie's yogurt, flash ON, April 2016. bigger.


Katie with her yogurt

Katie enjoys her yogurt, flash ON, April 2016. bigger.


Colorful umbrellas

Colorful umbrellas, April 2016. bigger.


Emilio's Paella

Emilio's Paella, April 2016. bigger.


Ryan and Turtles

Ryan and his turtles, no flash, May 2016. bigger.


Interior of a fine home

Interior of a fine home, no flash, May 2016. bigger.



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Panorama   Good   Bad   Missing

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The Ricoh R1 is basic 35mm point-and-shoot camera that's as small and light as a disposable – but with a decent lens, autofocus and far more flexibility.

It's small enough and thin enough to ride along in my pocket with my iPhone.

It shoots well; all my frames are sharp and well exposed. In fact, all the images seen in this review came from one 36-exposure roll of Fuji XTRA 400. 13 published shots out of 36 presses of the shutter button; beat that, digital!

The R1 stands out because of its tiny size, 30mm and 24mm lens settings and simple controls which make everything easy to set. The R1 one of the easiest 35mm cameras to set and shoot under any condition.

It has a viewfinder with a separate light-gathering window for the finder frames and indicators. These are created with an LCD to allow dynamic indications of parallax correction, active AF areas and more.

The R1 has a very legible top LCD with huge frame numbers.

It's almost all plastic, save for a stamped sheet aluminum front cover. The R1 is not a pro or luxury camera; it's a pocketable basic take-everywhere point & shoot.

This Ricoh R1 is a basic plastic point & shoot. It has nothing to do with the much nicer Ricoh GR1 that came out in 1996. I compare these and more at Compared.


Panorama Modes

Ricoh R1

Ricoh R1. enlarge.

A rear switch selects regular full-frame or masked panorama shooting, or a third mode where the lens is shifted to 24mm, but only will shoot as a masked panorama. This is because it's not a real, second 24mm lens, but simply reconfiguring the existing simple 35mm f/3.5 lens to be slightly shorter, but at reduced performance. Thus at the 24mm setting (WIDE [P]) the lens only is f/8, and since it can't cover the full 24 × 36mm frame, only shoots in cropped panorama mode.

The finder changes to show you what's going on as you change the settings:

NORMAL: 30mm f/3.5 lens, 24 × 36mm frame.

[P]: 30mm f/3.5 lens, cropped 12 × 36mm frame.

WIDE [P]: 24mm f/8 lens, cropped 12 × 36mm frame.

Some folks will disable the panoramic mask so they can use the 24mm setting full-frame, with darkened corners.

Panoramic sample

Panoramic image, May 2016. bigger.



● Tiny.

● Lightweight.

● Turns on and off, focuses and handles quickly.

● Quiet.

● Second 24mm extra-wide masked panoramic setting.

● Clever "Super Night" mode makes a double exposure: one focussed on the foreground with flash, and a second time exposure at infinity for the background.

● Two-zone exposure system with automatic backlight compensation and automatic fill-flash.

Fill-flash works great.

Ricoh R1

Ricoh R1. enlarge.



● The lens extends as soon as you turn on the R1 and locks focus with a half-press of the shutter, but even if you lock focus, there is always a shutter delay because the lens doesn't move into its final position for correct focus until after you have pressed the shutter button all the way to fire. This cannot be defeated by prefocusing; the camera waits to move the lens until after the shutter is pressed.

● Mine had light leaks, which I presume is just a problem with just my sample, not the basic camera design:

Light leak

Light leak, April 2016. bigger.



● No backlight for top LCD, but still very big and legible.

● No manual exposure settings or compensation adjustments, but plenty of flash and other exposure modes to get the job done.



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Uses standard 35mm film.

It reads standard DX-coded film from ISO 50 ~ 3,200, otherwise it defaults to ISO 100.



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Ricoh R1

Ricoh R1. enlarge.

35mm f/3.5.

4 elements in 4 groups.

Also 24mm f/8 in panoramic mode, only.



Standard 35mm film.


Image Area

24 x 36mm.

Also 12 x 36mm masked panoramic.



Three passive contrast detectors.

All three are very close together in the center.



Reverse Galilean.

Additive LCD for frame markings: adapts automatically to show standard, panoramic and extra-wide panoramic, as well as parallax correction at close distances.


Light Meter & Exposure

Dual silicon photo diodes (SPDs).

Programmed auto exposure.

Automatic backlight control.

LV 3 ~ 15 (2 seconds at f/3.5 to 1/400 at f/8).



Programmed electronic leaf, 2 seconds to 1/400.

Presume two blades also serve as the aperture control.


Built-in Flash

Presume 1/400 sync speed.

Rated to 2.7m (8.9') at ISO 100, 5.4m (17.7') at ISO 400.

5 second recycle time.



One CR2 cell.



Ricoh R1

Ricoh R1, lens collapsed. enlarge.

2.4 × 4.6 × 1 inches HWD.

61 × 117 × 25 mm HWD.



6.305 oz. (178.7 g) with battery and 36 exposure roll of Fuji Superia X-TRA 400, measured.

4.9 oz. (140 g) rated, empty.



Ricoh R1

Bottom, Ricoh R1. enlarge.

Made in Taiwan.





Available through

At least 1997.


Price, USA

April~June 2016: about $75 used.



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Compatibility   Specifications   Performance

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Overall   Loading & Winding   Autofocus

Ergonomics   Finder   Flash   Sharpness   Mechanics



Performance          top

The R1 is a swell little camera. It handles much better than most point and shoots, since its controls are big and well labeled.


Loading and Winding

Performance          top



It loads by drawing the leader across and closing the back.



It winds in reverse, advancing the entire roll when first loaded and then loading back into the 35mm casette as each frame is taken. Therefore images are upside down and frame numbers are reversed compared to most 35mm cameras.

The upside to this reverse wind is that you won't fog all your pictures if you accidentally open the back.

The camera buzzes a little after each shot as it winds.


Frame Counter

The frame counter also runs in reverse, always showing you the number of exposures you have left.

It reads E when empty.


Film Economy

I only get 36 frames on a 36-exposure roll of Fuji film; I don't get extra frames as I do on most cameras.

On Fuji film, it shoots frames 35A ~ 0A, leaving frames 00A and XA blank and frame XXA half-fogged from daylight.



Performance          top

Autofocus is easy; three sensors are right in the middle.

The finder shows you which has been automatically selected. It looks for the closest subject.



Performance          top

It only has a power button, a shutter button, three buttons on top and one slide switch.

It is very fast and easy to use; you don't really need the manual.

The top LCD and frame counter turns off when the camera is off.



Performance          top

The finder is the usual little thing.

The indications are clear.

It automatically indicates a parallax correction if needed, although it only has one setting.



Performance          top

Ryan in the Mercedes SL500

Ryan enjoys a ride in the Mercedes SL500, flash ON, May 2016. bigger.

Fill-flash works great in daylight.

It works poorly indoors, with the usual dark backgrounds.



Performance          top

Circular Decoratons

Circular decorations, May 2016. bigger.

It's plenty sharp for snapshots. If you really want to split pixels, get a Nikon 35Ti.



Performance          top

It's all plastic, except for a stamped sheet aluminium front cover.

I presume the lens is glass, while everything else is plastic.




This Ricoh R1 (1994 ~ 1997)

This R1 is a basic plastic point & shoot that came out in 1994 and was sold at least through 1997.


Ricoh R1s (1995 ~ )

The R1s came out in 1995. It's a cosmetic update and otherwise the same thing.

The R1s is silver and loses the textured grip.

The R1s claims MC multicoating, which is meaningless with a lens this simple. It doesn't need any coating to work well.


Ricoh R1E (1996 ~ )

The Ricoh R1E is a less desirable version that removes the 24mm setting.


Ricoh GR1 (1996 ~ )

The Ricoh GR1 looks the same, but is a much nicer camera made of more metal and with a much better lens and controls.

Don't confuse the GR1 with this plastic look-alike R1; they are very different.

The GR1 sells used for about $350 in 2016, while this plastic R1 goes for about $75.



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Compared   Recommendations   More

This R1 is a great throw-around 35mm camera to keep in your pocket. It's self contained and is happy in there, and with its little wrist strap you're good.

I'm unsure why these sell for about $75 used; it's probably because it looks identical to the GR1. It's not special, except for its tiny size, and if you want tiny, also look at the Olympus Stylus or Konica Big Mini, either of which are probably better cameras.

This is a swell little plastic 35mm camera, but don't confuse it with premium cameras like the Ricoh GR1, CONTAX T or Nikon 35Ti.

If you want a premium compact 35mm camera, my favorite is the superb Nikon 35Ti, which is a superior camera, but not quite as pocketable as this R1.

For shooting negative film it doesn't matter, but if shooting slides I'd stick with the CONTAX T or Nikon 35Ti.

These only come through eBay, so be sure to read How to Win at eBay before you buy anything.


Where to Get Yours

I'd get it at this link directly to them at eBay (see How to Win at eBay).

This ad-free website's biggest source of support is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Canon does not seal its boxes in any way, so never buy at retail or any other source not on my personally approved list since you'll have no way of knowing if you're missing accessories, getting a defective, damaged, returned, store demo or used camera. I use the stores I do because they ship from secure remote warehouses where no one gets to touch your new camera before you do. Buy only from the approved sources I use myself for the best prices, service, return policies and selection.

Thanks for helping me help you!

Ken, Mrs. Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.


More Information

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Ricoh R1 Owner's Manual.


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Product photos and initial write-up 23 April (Saturday) ~ 08 May 2016, Mothers' Day. Final write-up Lahaina, 21 June 2016