Ricohmatic 44 – 11/99

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Japan 1956 – Reflex TLR – 127 film – Infrequent.

The Ricohmatic 44 may not be a very rare camera, but it illustrates a fascinating and yet mostly unsuccessful attempt to create a more user-accessible photographic experience.

The Ricoh engineers tried their best to create an appealing design with a great looking semi-transparent flip cover (that unfortunately gets in the way when using the calmera) and introduced what they considered (engineering-driven) user-friendly simplifications. For example, the speed selection was replaced by abstract numbers from 1 to 3 that needed to be matched using the cryptic table printed on the back panel. In the same spirit, the shutter button is centrally (and awkwardly) positioned right under the taking lens, making it difficult to operate.

Even if the Ricohmatic 44 is in fact a beautiful and very smooth camera, its legacy remains of being hilariously non-intuitive and secretive, making it an object of fascination for the fans.

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