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.


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