Ricoh Rikenon f/2.0 is quite an interesting lens. It’s probably one of my smallest and lightest vintage lenses, it’s probably just over 2” long. The reasons for it being light are obviously the size and also the fact that it’s plastic. No the later part is not something that I am a fan of. That is one of the reasons why I generally like vintage lenses more than many modern photo lenses. Saying that, at least it it costs many times less than any modern. In fact it’s one of the cheapest vintage lenses you can get. It can be often found on ebay for under $30/£20, so will not break a bank.
As with any vintage lens, the benefits that you have with Ricoh 50mm are hard stops at each end of the focusing rage and aperture adjustment directly on the lens. The focusing ring on this lens is definitely not the best for a vintage lens, but it’s not stiff and can be easily turned with two fingers. The focusing through is about 45 degrees which is again not that great for a vintage lens. One last thing on this lens that is not my cup of tea is the focusing direction. It focuses anti-clockwise which is opposite to most of my other lenses. Nikkor lens users will actual find themselves at easy with this lens, but for myself it’s a deal breaker. I’ve had a look at the other Ricoh 50mm lenses on ebay and it doesn’t seem to be lens mount specific, all of them focus this way.
Image quality though is something that I really like. It has a very pleasant feel, maybe not crazy sharp (although I haven’t tested it for sharpness yet), but nice colours and contrast. It interacts very nicely with the sun or other direct light; the flares are absolutely beautiful and remind me my Helios 58mm lens, although Helios flares even more. Ricoh flares are more subtle and more usable in wide variety of projects. The bokeh this lens produces is also very pleasant, great lens for the shallow depth of field shots. At f/2 is quite a fast lens capable of delivering very cinematic looking images and will also be quite a nice choice for low light shooting.
Overall, even with it’s plastic body and average focusing ring I still like this lens a lot, especially the image quality, which at the end of the day is more important than the build quality. Shame about the focusing direction, if not this then I would be using this lens much more often (again, for Nikkor lens users, this lens will be absolutely perfect).
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