In fact this review is double review: about the Ricoh KR 10 Super camera and about the amazing Zenitar fisheye 16mm lens. This is truly a perfect couple and I have the chance to have this combo in my collection.
I bought the Zenitar 16/2.8 Fisheye Lens some time ago but never used it because – I must confess it honestly – I didn’t had a very good feeling with the Zenit 122k it came with. I was looking for some other K-mount camera body who could give me something more to use the Zenitar 16mm wonder. And I found it: the Ricoh KR 10 Super!
The great advantage with the k-mount (camera body or lenses) is that there is really a wide choice on the market. Pentax intended to make of this mount a kind of universal one (for the history of the k-mount have a look at this link), and even if they didn’t had as much success they wanted, a lot of cameras and lenses were built with this Pentax k-mount since the 1970’s.
So I was searching for a new k-mount camera body, and found an amazing list of them (see the impressing inventory given at this link and the choice was really difficult to make: Pentax, Chinon, Ricoh, Cosina, Zenit, Vivitar… well so many prestigious names… I decided to see what I could find to buy on the web and my eyes were caught by an offer for a Ricoh KR 10 Super. I remembered that my good lomo-friend superlighter (thanks for this tip Aurelio! :) told me once that the Ricoh KR camera were very well constructed and great to use. So I put a bid on it, but didn’t want to spend so much money as well: my limit was 20 € and I hoped to win the auction…. and I did!!
I was so happy when I received it! I looked at it carefully to see if all was ok: the camera was in perfect shape, almost looked like new, all the functions seemed to work… well, a very good deal!
Let’s have a closer look to the Ricoh KR 10 Super: it’s a SLR camera with aperture priority automatic exposure or metered manual modes. The exposure times (automatic & manual mode) are going from 1/1000s to 16s (yes, 16 seconds!) and there’s of course a Bulb mode and a self timer. You can set the iso value from 12 to 3200 iso and the exposure meter is a TTL one with +2/-2 correction possibility.
Inside the viewfinder you have a little LCD sidebar which shows you what exposure time is the best with your chosen aperture. It’s a very quiet camera to use, the shutter is very soft (with cable release thread), and I even was a bit surprised at the beginning because the camera fires very quickly when touching the shutter. And the batteries are simply 2 LR44 ones. (This camera can be found as a clone as well under the name Sears KSX Super, see this link http://www.mattdentonphoto.com/cameras/sears_ksx_super.html)
Now let’s talk about the Zenitar fisheye lens: a true 16mm beauty, opening from f: 2.8 to f: 22, and who offers a ultra wide 180° view in a 24×36 full frame. That means a lot of crazy and funny distortions in your shot! Your eyes will wonder every time with this lens because you don’t suspect how much things can come in the picture before you see them! You can shoot your feet and the whole landscape in front of you without any problem, shoot in one direction and have the things happening on the extreme opposite direction still on the shot! It’s so easy to shoot people and situations with this cam, as you don’t look like you’re shooting them, but in fact you are!! :))) Straight lines are transformed in strange surrealistic curves (makes me always think at Dali’s paintings of a melting clock and landscape…) all the things you thought they were like that before are totally different as if they were made of flexible, soft and elastic materials…. it’s just a mind blowing lens, and it’s really one of the cheapest one of this kind on the market!
I tested this perfect combo in different shooting conditions, and I never was disappointed by the results: in very bright sunlight, the very quick speed of 1/1000 allows you to shoot anything you want and during a night walk in the city I could appreciate how cool it was to have an automatic long exposure of 16 seconds to catch the lights and movements of the city (have a look at the ferris wheel night shots, the long exposures with a Fuji Press 800 are giving so good results…)
Well, if you have any k-mount camera body, you really MUST have this Zenitar fisheye lens, and if not, buy the lens and it will not be difficult to find any cool pentax k-mount camera at a good price! And of, course, I can recommend the Ricoh KR 10 Super (or any of the KR/XR series), it’s a great camera! :)))