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.