Thursday, 19 June 2008


GRD II, f4.5, 1/250, ISO 80, RAW, 8.4mm

Now, what can someone buy who has every extra from Ricoh for his GRDs? Simple, one goes and buys a lens to make a Lomo Fish-eye camera out of the Ricoh. You take what is one of the best lenses on a camera and make it to one of the worst, sounds simple enough. Sounds silly to do so but it's a lot of fun actually and I can recommend it to the person who has everything but wants more :D.
After reading on Flickr and in the GetDPI forums about the Raynox QC-505 and QC-303 fish-eye lenses for camcorders I decided to buy the QC-303. The QC-505 gives you an equivalent field of view of 16mm but this was not good enough for me and I wanted more, so I got the QC-303 since goes down to 8.4mm :).
Now the lens is pretty well made and a snap on lens for 37mm threads. One thing I noticed that although it is snap on, for better quality make sure you snap it on and then screw it on a little bit. This fixes it better and the quality improves slightly (as far as this is possible). Once it's on you have to use the macro mode to focus but if you want an instant response just use manual focus and set it to 2-3cm so you focus on the lens. This will give you the snap mode and everything will be in focus.
I hear you say this is all nice but what about the image quality. Well, it is as expected very bad and you have distortion, chromatic aberrations in all the colors of the rainbow, some lens flare and the metering of the GRD does not work properly with the lens on. This is without me getting started on the dark corners and vignetting, although there is hardly any vignetting visible to be honest.
You probably wonder why I would recommend this lens although it goes against the optical quality of the GRDs? The answer is simple, if you always wanted to have a digital Lomo this gets you as close as it gets. Or if you just want to have some fun with it, then it's great and worth the money.

The picture on the top is heavily edited so in order to give you a better overview see the picture below for a straight RAW conversion with all the faults left intact ;). Finally the last picture shows the GRD II with the lens on.


  1. the funy thing is that; when you walk away from perfection you immediatly add character! I quite like the pictures and that must have been your reason, explore, have fun, try something different. The ricoh looks cool with the lens on...
    ... good lessons for life also...


  2. Thanks for your comment Ronald.
    You are right that character is more important than perfection. At the same time photography is and should be all about having fun (unless you have to earn a living from it) so trying out something different is important.
    I enjoy taking pictures and do not strive for technical perfection (or I would not be using a small sensor camera) but to bring in my own vision to a picture.

  3. I agree with with Ronald that the first photograph has character. I like it. Photography is not about sharpness, and smooth, noiseless photographs.

  4. Thanks Wouter, I also took a different approach during post processing for this picture.

  5. Sweet! Just got the GRDii (want to try somthing 'new' from DSLR)

    This is awsome and very usefull! BUT...when you snap the eye on, isent that ruining the GH-1??

  6. Hi JK, the fish-eye lens just clipps in and the thread is fine for the GH-1, it is also plastic so won't affect the GH-1 in any way.
    You should give it a go if you want to play around with it.

  7. I used Raynox HD-3032 with my Ricoh GRD II a few years back. Unfortunately, couldn't hook it to my GRD III and IV. what's up these days, can those Raynox fisheye be hooked to the latest "GR" ?

  8. You can use them on the GR or GRD III and IV with a step down adapter but would get heavy vignetting, I have tried it on the GRD III and would assume it is even worse on the GR: