Ricoh GV-2 Optical Viewfinder – The Love & the Hate.


I had been using the GV-2 OVF since I bought my GRD. I found it useful at first but then it’s not as accurate with just the 80% fields of view. I wouldn’t know what fields of view was until I get my hands on a rangefinder camera.

First thing I must admit is that I wear eye glasses (not thick ones). So that adds a little distance from my eye and the OVF. It’s often that 1cm makes a huge difference on a OVF. The GV-2 is designed specifically for 28mm focal length. It’s tiny, not too bright because of the size and housing design. I cannot frame my photos quick enough on my type of street photography. That’s a big minus for me.

Voigtlander 21/25mm OVF mounted on

I took out my 21mm GRD conversion lens and the 21mm OVF sitting on my desk for a couple days. The GV-2 was making me so uncomfortable when shooting…Last night I was curious if my Voigtlander 21/25mm OVF would work okay on 28mm lens (because of the extended view beyond the 25mm frame lines). I just couldn’t believe whatever i frame with the 25mm frame lines were EXACTLY what’s on the LCD. It’s a magically found.

That solved my inaccurate framing issue. I’m better off with the 25mm OVF! I’m really excited again with the GRD.

My Advice to glasses wearer
In the future, when needed a new OVF, one should get the OVF with focal length shorter than than the lens. And also think about the fields of view beyond the frame lines. This is also my advice for ones who glasses. The size of a OVF is a huge determinant for the type of photography you’re doing. I’d say bigger is better than smaller.

One thing that I can’t do with the Voigtlander 21/25mm OVF is not allowing me to pop out the built-in flash. It’s one thing that I must consider when using it. A huge trade-off if I’m willing to give up. Also, the size is of the OVF is as big as the lens. Now sure how would someone react with it yet. I’m in favor of the bigger glass, comfortable viewfinder.

You can certainly try the GV-1. I’m kind of regret that I did not get the GV-1 in the first place. I never liked the matte rough metal surface of the Ricoh OVF anyway. It may scratch up glasses easily if not careful enough.

But hey, life is like that. Learn how to live with it. That’s what I do.

Push to The Limit with Ricoh GRD IV + GW-2

Blogroll, Photography

Some described the Ricoh GRD as a photographic sketchbook. I don’t disagree. It’s a camera that has all the controls that a pro would use, just the sensor and quality can’t compare to the DSLR. But how bad can a GRD IV be? I’ve always asked.

Right. A compact point & shoot can never match up with the mirrorless and DSLR in terms of control and quality. I won’t say further as there’re tons of reviews, impressions, field test reports out there, you could read it all you want. I’m not here to persuade anyone to go out and get a compact camera. I’m only showcasing what accessories Ricoh are offering for their GRD series.

Ricoh has been very smart when it comes to releasing accessories. The wide angle conversion to change from 28mm to 21mm requires 2 components that we need to buy , GH-2 adapter & GW-2 wide angle conversion lens. They both bear a heavy price tag even though a price reduction can be done if you find the right shop. The conversion can actually make your camera very useable in real life practices. I’m saying if you go travel and don’t want to carry heavy equipments. This is the best possible setup you could shoot ultra wide angle photos with.

Ricoh GRD IV + GW-2 + Voigtlander 21/25mm OVF

The wide angle lens adds about 150g to the camera. Making it front heavy (i’m getting used to it though. Not really affecting during my actual shoot. Only awkward when holding at rest). The rubber lens hood is really made out of rubber. It’s elastic rubber!! Some people complain about it. I understood the reason behind why they make it as such. The adapter is doing a great job attaching the GW-2 lens to the camera body. It’s just that the adapter mount is external, meaning in short, it can’t take a huge hit like all the outer interchangeable lens mount. The rubber petal hood was designed when it’s taking a hit, the rubber can both protect the lens’ front glass and take out some of the impact to the GH-2 external adapter mount. That’s my own observation. 🙂

To complete the 21mm conversion, I paid for a Voigtlander 21/25mm OVF..why the Voigtlander? it’s cheaper than the Ricoh GV-1. I love their logo anyway

The OVF is accurate. Absolutely a must-have for landscape photography which I still do from time to time.

Tonight I brought this setup with me and tested it out at night. It’s a harsh test for a compact camera to shoot at night by any means. I attempted to push the camera to the limit to see what this thing can do with my limited skill and experience. I’ve seen great photography being done by many folks on Flickr with the GRD IV. I’m a believer. It’s the skill that makes a photographer good, not entirely the gear.

View from Ferry Pier, Central , Hong Kong
ISO 250, f8, 3.0s
View from Central, Hong Kong
ISO 125, f6.3, 3.0s

Seriously, I think they’re great although I don’t know how i’m doing. They’re perfectly fine if you don’t try to zoom in too much. SOOC colors were slightly washed out from the original standard image setting. Only minor contracts, white/black points and midtones had been adjusted.

I’m convinced that my GRD IV can do great photography to the extend which I thought it’s not possible until I spent time with it (other than my routine candid shooting).

Plus, it gets me excited to customize the GRD. It’s A TOY to me. So damn fun.

P.S. It’s an extremely windy day. Almost thought the typhoon was striking HK…those were hard earned photos.

Continue to Push to The Limit with Ricoh GRD IV + GW-2: Episode II – Tamar CGC