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© 2004 by art silvermoon / all rights reserved
Ricoh FF-1s with original soft case

Ultra Compact Machine >> 中文/ chinese

This is the ultra compact Ricoh FF1-1s, introduced 1980 as successor to Ricoh FF-1. In fact, it is small even by today's standard. The retractable construction helps reduce the size down to only 3.60 cm thick. The hinged front cover is also the power switch. As user pulls it open, the lens moves into position. Mini as it is, FF-1s makes no compromise in the optics. A heavily-coated wide angle lens (35mm f/2.8) is great for street photography. Focusing is zone focus type. On the focusing ring there are marks of 0.9/1.5//5 m and ∞. On the other hand, there's no "step" when turning the ring, except at the "◎" marker. I suppose it's to assure quick & smooth operation. The ◎ indicates (the very frequently used) distance of 2.5 meter for snaps.

UPDATE: Shutter speeds range from 2 sec to 1/500 sec. For general daylight photography one just leaves the camera in A mode. When flash is attached, it would sync at 1/60 sec, and user should set aperture manually. The feather light shutter release button is big with nice feedback. Winding by traditional winding crank, which I find an advantage over thumbwheel that most other submini adopt. Simply smoother. On the other hand, the viewfinder looks under-spec with just a bright-line frame plus a low shutter speed warning light... but wait, a nice little surprise is that, I can see clearly in VF the lens barrel with the distance & aperture setting! Not sure how useful this feature is, but I like the idea.

Now, things I dislike about FF-1s:

  • adjusting ASA is somewhat awkward, and there's no 1/3 EV increment in between
  • the colour appears to be on the cold side
  • despite its gorgeous coating, flare is a problem. Be aware when shooting in direct lighting.

    Over all, Ricoh FF-1s is a pleasure to use, as long as one can live up with its electronic automation & zone focus. Results from first test convince me of its capability. I'm perticularly impressed with the smooth bokeh and the exposure accuracy in complicated artificial lighting. One may question about Ricoh FF-1s originality (see link below), but its quality is undoubtedly of a good camera.
    (update 2004/12/22)

    [chinese text]
    這是日本Ricoh公司於1981年推出的Ricoh FF-1s。沉筒式的鏡頭設計,使機身厚度在收納時只有3.6公分!開閤的前板不但取代鏡頭蓋,也是電源開關,拍攝時向前翻開,鏡頭同時前引至定位。鏡身雖然迷你,卻是優異的廣角35mm/2.8,非常適合抓拍。對焦採用目測式區域對焦,對焦環上有0.9/1.5/◎/5 m以及∞等共五個刻度,但全程並無頓點,或許是為了抓拍時能更順暢的轉動?綠色符號◎代表一般最常用的2.5公尺距離。


    Silvermoon, 2003/08

    :: Ricoh Official Page
    :: Ricoh Talks about FF-1 vs Minox

    This is a personal photo project online.
    All works are protected under copyright laws.

    i Technical Info:
    35mm zone focus compact camera
    Lens: Rikenon 35mm f/2.8
    4 elements 3 groups
    No filter thread
    Shutter Speed: 2 sec-1/500 sec
    Focusing Type: manual 3 zone focusing
    Minimum focusing: 0.9m
    Exposure control: Cds programmed priority AE
    Built-in electronic self-timer
    manual ISO setting ASA 25-400
    Powered by 2 LR44 batteries
    Size: 107x 65x 36mm
    Weight: 225g


  • It looks really cool!
  • Solid-- excellent build quality
  • Ultra compact design in folding style
  • Front cover is also shutter release lock
  • 35mm f/2.8 Rikenon lens
  • Built-in hotshoe for flash