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Picture of Ricoh FF-3 AF with missing part near the lens circled

I love this camera for all of its '80s beauty, and it's mechanically working fine. But as you can see in the red circle, the part protecting the film-speed window and the photocell is missing. If you look at the camera-wiki photo of the same model, there's supposed to be a blue part with a tiny lens to converge the light into the photocell (I presume), so I don't know if I can trust the auto-exposure of this camera without that cover.

I've been experimenting with different lighting conditions and a seperate light meter, to find out when the flash warning comes on, to see if it could maybe still work fine without the part. But I can't really make an educated guess as to when the camera finds it appropriate to use the flash. Does anyone know at what shutter speed this camera activates the flash warning? I can't find it anywhere online or in the manual, but my guess it would be somewhere around 1/30s.

I don't know if shooting without the cover would even be viable, and I would like to avoid wasting a roll of film on it. So if anyone who has this camera - or is knowledgeable about the topic - could give some advice on how to go about this, that would be fantastic!

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I do not know when flash is recommended by the camera; but your 1/30 guess is close to 1/FL and makes sense.

I would not expect it to meter correctly with the missing lens... that lens' purpose was to focus the light from the scene onto the photocell. However, you can still use the camera.

You could use a secondary light meter as you have been. Or you could use the sunny sixteen rule to estimate exposure. Or you could just set it for the average exposure of the day and use it like a fixed exposure disposable camera. Due to films' tolerance for overexposure, error in that direction when there's a doubt.

The flash is not a requirement when the flash warning illuminates, and the flash can be added earlier if desired. But without an advanced flash meter I don't know how you can determine the power/effectivity of the flash (and therefore how much to adjust the base exposure).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It's a fully automatic camera, so manual exposure with external metering is not possible. I'm not sure whether the missing part is really a lens, though, or just a protective window. Take a look at this picture.The flash on this camera adjusts its brightness automatically based on focusing distance and film speed, I think. \$\endgroup\$
    – Steadybox
    Commented Jan 31 at 15:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the suggestion! But unfortunately Steadybox is right, it's fully automatic (That's why I bought it), and the only control I have is ASA compensation. If the flash does come up at about 1/30s, it should be quite accurate according to my tests, so that's good. @Steadybox does however bring up a good point, maybe it's not a lens but just a protective piece of glass. I've been going over a lot of pictures but I can't really see it well up close. It does give me hope tho. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wouter
    Commented Jan 31 at 16:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Steadybox, This image shows a lens curvature to it... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 31 at 16:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel like I should delete my answer, but I'll leave it for now. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 31 at 16:45

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