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You Are Here: Home > Gear > Modifying Cameras > Ricoh R1

 

MAINTAINING FULL FRAME IMAGE CAPTURE IN PANORAMIC MODE WITH THE RICOH R1

Background Information: The "panoramic" feature marketed in many P&S cameras is often nothing more than a ploy made to give the illusion that the camera is capable of capturing "wider" pictures. With most of these "panoramic" cameras, the camera is not giving you a wider field of view or capturing the image on a wider strip of film, but rather just cropping out the top and bottom portions of the image to make it appear "wider". The same effect could be achieved by taking the picture normally and cutting off the top and bottom portions of your prints or by simply asking the lab operator to print your normally exposed film as panoramic prints. By not using the pseudo-panoramic feature, you also benefit by capturing the complete picture so if you want full frame prints complete with the top and bottom scenes at a later date, you can always have them made (this is actually what APS cameras do).

One camera that is a little different than most of these "panoramic" P&S cameras is the Ricoh R1, different in that it actually gives a wider field of view by "zooming" from 30mm to 24mm when set to panoramic mode. The R1 still masks the image though so some information is needlessly thrown away but using the following modification, the masks can be disabled and the camera will be able to capture full frame images at both 24mm and 30mm focal lengths.

One caveat to the modification however is that since the lens was not designed to capture full frame images at the 24mm focal length, there will be softness and light fall-off in the corners when used in "panoramic" mode but I find that for me, this is not a major concern since I use the R1 mostly for snapshots and in some cases, such as in my shot of El Malecon at dusk, the fall off can be good for achieving a certain "mood" to the picture. Most importantly though, the modification will give you a P&S with a super wide 24mm lens which will be useful in taking group shots in tight quarters and other situations where you would want a super wide angle lens.

 

1) Obtain some high quality jeweler's screwdrivers. Do not use cheap screwdrivers or you'll just end up stripping the heads of the screws leaving your camera unserviceable. The 12 piece Micro Screwdriver Set available at Sears works well and is reasonably priced at around $20.

2) Ground yourself using a grounding strap.

3) Remove any film that may be in the camera.

4) Open the battery cover and remove the battery. Notice the silver pins that are used as hinges for the battery cover. Use a screwdriver to push the pins toward the center and remove them. Do one pin at a time because there is not enough room in the groove to do both simultaneously. Press down the release latch on the left side and remove the film back.

 

5) While making sure to apply adequate pressure to prevent stripping of the screw heads, remove the screw near the battery hinge, the screw in the bottom left corner normally covered by the film back, and the screw on the bottom right side of the camera which is normally covered by the battery cover. Be sure to remember where each screw goes.

6) Gently pry up the right side of the back shell. Lift it up, push it to the left so the shell clears film back release latch, and then remove it completely.

 

7) Turn the back shell over and you will see a metal piece of stamped sheet metal attached to the panoramic selector switch. Notice that this piece has a rectangular slot used to mate the panoramic selector switch with a lever on the camera which operates the film mask. By enlarging this slot, we can make sure the lever on the camera will not be actuated no matter what position the panoramic selector is in and thus the mask will be disabled and the camera will capture all images at full frame.

 

8) Remove the screw that holds down the metal piece and pull the metal piece off. Using a Dremel tool or a small file, enlarge the rectangular slot (towards the screw hole) just enough so that the lever on the camera never comes in contact with it when the switch is slid to the panoramic position. You may have to reattach it and and test it several times to make sure the masks don't come down but it's important that you don't enlarge it any more than you need to.

9) Reassemble the camera by reversing the steps above.

Your Ricoh R1 should now be able to capture full frame images at both the 24mm and 30mm focal lengths.

 

DISCLAIMER: The following information is for informational purposes only. No guarantee is made or liability assumed regarding the following information. Modifications you make to your camera are taken at your own risk. Because mistakes may result in permanent damage to your camera and any disassembly will void your warranty, it is strongly recommended that no attempts be made to modify cameras if you are not experienced in working with similar devices and unwilling to take the said risks.

 


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