Good looking, but is it refined? The Riva 150 impresses straight away, because it's a comfortable 190g (without CR123A Lithium battery) including a metal shell. This suggesting a robustness not conceived with the other cameras who have a plastic exterior. The Riva sit snugly in the hand too, and can be used one handed say when holding it above your head in a crowd but also in the more conventional ways but those with very large hands maybe find it too small.
Information is displayed on a top plate LCD. Controls are commendably few making it a natural camera to operate. These include apart from an on/off button three further buttons for flash, self timer, and one for the data mode on our test sample which was the data back version (220). A rocker switch adjusts the zoom lens. All of these controls are placed either along the top and at a comfortable 45 degree viewing angle, or in the case of the latter, on the right of the back, where the thumb naturally sits. On the front is the flash unit not easy to cover as the fingers are naturally placed around the lens barrel or side of camera.
The Riva 150 has a 37.5mm to 150mm lens featuring aspherical elements for improved optical quality, particularly to control distortion. While the maximum aperture is f5.4 at the widest focal length it becomes a more limited f11.9 (nearly f16) at the longest setting. This can lead to camera shake problems if the film speed is not high enough for the available lighting strength. Even at maximum aperture, the depth of field is good for point and shoot needs. The lens will grow to just under 8cm (physical length) at the 150mm focal length so remains comfortable to hold.
To guide the user to the status of focusing and flash, are two LED lights placed outside the viewfinder that illuminate on first pressure. One is a steady green to confirm auto focus, pulsating if this can not be achieved, while the second is a steady orange when the flash is charged, but again it pulsates while this is taking place. Inside the finder (which has not diopter correction capability) is a wide area focus indication with multi point detection and close focus parallax indications. Shutter speeds run a commendable 10 seconds to 1/500th sec but there is no flexible exposure compensation limited to + 1.5 EV. This is activated as one of the positions on the flash control menu. The others are; auto, on, off, slow sync and red-eye reduction. The flash was one of the faster ones to recycle.
In use the wide area only autofocus was mostly useful, but occasionally it would have been better to have a smaller spot area as an option. With the latitude of negative film there is no problem of exposure and that lens is certainly sharp enough at all settings giving slightly warmer but pleasing results than most other cameras. Good value, nice lens and stylish. Case, battery and strap are supplied.