The Ricoh Mirai 105 is an autofocus 35mm camera which was made by or for Ricoh in the late 1980s. It is distinctive in it’s appearance and was a design used by other manufacturers as well as Ricoh, for example it was also made for Olympus as the Infinity Superzoom A300.
I bought my copy of this camera simply because it was cheap and it increased my Ricoh collection. The camera was described as working well, and when I received it a few days after buying it for £0.99 it certainly seems to be working although there are some issues.
The auto zoom function, although working, needs a bit a help to extend the lens past the 70mm length. The motor tries to push the lens forward but can’t quite fully extend but will if it is pulled manually. Similarly, the zoom won’t move back again, and needs to be pushed. I suspect this is just the result of age and the camera probably worked properly when new, but has degraded over time.
Ricoh Mirai 105 Description
The Ricoh Mirai 105 is a point and shoot, auto exposure camera camera with quite simple controls for everyday use, and some more difficult to operate buttons on the back panel for setting things like exposure compensation and drive mode.
When I first tried the camera out (without a film) I found it to be quite slow and cumbersome. I suppose to an extent that is to be expected, since it is one of the early autofocus units and was also quite an inexpensive camera at the time.
The main feature of the Mirai is the zoom lens which covers a range of 38mm wide angle to 105mm medium telephoto with a quite slow aperture, coupled with a program mode which takes care of the exposure. The camera is an early attempt and covering all functionality in an automatic fashion, and a quick search on Flickr suggests it was quite successful as a snap shot camera. The viewfinder tracks the zoom lens and gives a reasonable view of the scene and also shows when the autofocus system is locked or the flash needs to be fired, which will happen automatically.
My overall impression of the camera is that I don’t really like it. Although I could see pictures of it before I bought it, I didn’t really form my impression until I had the camera in my hand and tried it out, and at that point I found it is just not very nice. As well as being slow and clunky, the camera is an odd shape and feels difficult to use. I guess this just strengthens my view that the late 1980s was not a good time for camera design, and was the period when some of the ugliest cameras ever produced were made.
Ricoh Mirai 105 Specifications
- 35mm autofocus point and shoot camera
- 38 to 105mm f/4.5 to 6 zoom lens
- Programmed auto exposure
- Through the lens viewfinder
- Push button zoom controls
- Secondary controls on back panel
- +/- 1.5 stops exposure compensation
- Top mounted LCD panel with data display
- Electronic self-timer
- Automatic loading / wind / rewind
- Built in flash with various modes
- Centre weighted metering
- DX coded film
- Tripod bush
- 2 x CR123 batteries
- User Manual available here