Ricoh Rikenon 50mm P 1.7


In the early eighties, it was common for SLR manufacturers to package their camera bodies with fast glasses. This also explains the popularity and abundance of 50mm lenses on the second hand market having an aperture of 1.4 and 1.7.

The Ricoh Rikenon 50mm P f1.7 is one of them. It was initially produced in 1985 and lasted a production run till 1999. Ricoh produced quite a number of good products during its glorious days and it includes this lens. The Ricoh brand was barely even heard of or even talked about by the new generation of photographers until recently when Ricoh the company bought Pentax.

The Rikenon 50 P f1.7 has  5 groups and 6 lenses configuration with 6 blades. Its minimum focus distance is about 60 cm. and has a 52mm filter thread. It’s primarily made of plastic and has a rear metal mount. It has an auto-aperture but will only work when used on Ricoh bodies and will not work and is not compatible on Pentax. It also has the dreaded pin which locks the lens with some digital Pentax bodies. I took out the pin in my copy before slapping it into my Pentax Kx.

Known as one of the best Ricoh produced lenses, this product is claimed to be one of the sharpest 50mm. This lens is definitely sharp and is very useful even at f1.7. Some people over the Pentax Forum even claimed that they prefer this lens over a Pentax A 50mm 1.7.

I got my copy for  Php 800.00 (US$18.00) on one of the 2nd hand stalls in Quiapo, Manila. Although I first spotted a 50mm P f2.0 version somewhere in Hidalgo St., I chose this one because it was a 1.7. Cosmetically, it was in mint condition but the lens was infested with fungus – the f2.0 version on the other hand was clean.

Sample Photos:


Utilizing a Raynox 250 – making it 1:4


XR Rikenon 45mm f 2.8

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This Christmas I got myself two Ricoh Lenses – one I bought online which is a XR Rikenon 45mm f2.8 owned by a veteran film SLR hobbyist and a Rikenon P 50mm f1.7 which I spotted in old Manila downtown Quiapo. I got the 45mm for 3,500 Pesos (US $80) and 800 Pesos (US $18.20) for the 50mm. The 45mm was in mint condition and was almost new while the 50mm was infested by fungus and I had it cleaned at a camera repair shop in Hidalgo for 350 Pesos ( US $8).

The Rikenon 45mm is quite a rare lens since it was only produced during 1996 to 97. It’s a pancake lens and weights at only 52 grams. The lens construction is mostly plastic with the only exemption of the mounting.  It has six aperture blades and has a 52mm filter thread. I was happy that it had a 52mm filter thread since I can use my  HOYA Pro 1  lens protector with it. With or without the protector in the front of the lens, focusing is not that hard.

This lens really introduced me to the world of manual photography. Although I occasionally use manual mode in some of my pictures, but this one and the 50mm 1.7 got me hooked.  I searched the net for information about this lens but most of it were written by Japanese.  It was hard to get any info regarding this lens and I was hard pressed searching for some sample pictures taken by it. Now that I own one, its time to let others see what this baby can do.

Sample pictures taken by this lens:

Taking pictures in manual mode needs time and practice. I like the feeling of nailing the perfect shot and viewing how sharp and vivid the pictures are. The XR Rikenon 45mm can take sharp photos even wide-open. But I like it better when stepped down at 5.6. I also noticed that colors I took with it are comparable to the Pentax – so I tested it against my DA 16-45.

DA-16-45mm @ 45mm f5.6 ISO-800

XR Rikenon 45mm @ f5.6 ISO-800

As you can see, it is capable of rendering colors such as the Pentax. A funny thing happened taking this pictures, I had the DA 16-45 in auto-mode and it turned out a bit out of focus (notice the face of the train) while the XR Rikenon 45mm was taken in full manual. 🙂  Focus point is at center of the cup.

The XR Rikenon 45mm has a cousin in the guise of an XR Rikenon 28mm f3.5 also a pancake lens. From what I had read, its not a good performer and most of it are in the hands of lens collector.

Bottom-line – this lens can take good pictures, very usable even at f 2.8, has good color rendering and is probably the lightest lens ever made ( the DA-40 is around 90 grams).  This may be a good travel lens if you have a lot of spare time but if you are constrained against time – its best that you bring an auto-zoom lens.

I’ll write about the 50mm f1.7 next time. It’s also a very nifty lens with a lovely bokeh.