Raynox HD6600pro-55 First Impression

Started Dec 18, 2005 | Discussions thread
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Ching-Kuang Shene
Ching-Kuang Shene Veteran Member • Posts: 6,068
Raynox HD6600pro-55 First Impression

Received my copy of Raynox HD6600pro-55 late Friday. Here are some of my initial findings. Again, due to bad weather, no images are available as of now.

(1) As we all know, the Raynox HD6600pro-55 is the 55mm version of the popular Raynox DCR 6600pro that supports most popular thread sizes but the 55mm. Raynox decided to rename the DCR lens with a HD marking. Thus, the DCR and HD versions are exactly the same; however, the former causes vignetting on a FZ-30 if a conventional step ring is used. The left image below shows the Raynox HD6600pro-55, and the right one has it on a FZ-30.

(2) The lens barrel is still plastic because it is identical to the DCR version. The rear thread size is 55mm, and the front thread size is 72mm. However, mounting a 72mm filter to the front thread will cause some vignetting. In fact, we have to use at least 82mm filter and hand hold it in front of the lens to avoid vignetting. This holds true even with thin filters (e.g., slim polarizers). To the best of my knowledge, this is the only solution to the problem of using filters on a 6600pro: http://vipweb.url.com.tw/mschen3/yms8276.htm It consists of a tube surrounding the lens barrel, a step-ring for 82mm, and a petal lens hood.

(3) The following shows the front view of the HD6600pro-55 (left) and DCR 6600pro 52mm (right). As you can see they are the same.

The difference between these two versions is the rear mounting thread. The thread depth of the DCR version (right) is about 1mm thicker than that of the new HD6600pro-55, and this 1mm makes a difference (on a FZ-30) in terms of vignetting. Please keep in mind that not all lenses would be affected by this 1mm thickness difference. The actual impact depends on the converter and camera lens optical design formula.

(4) The rear “mounting” threaded-ring can be removed from DCR 6600pro; but, the HD 6600pro-55 seems to have a fixed one. Previously, Raynox has a number of mounting threaded-rings available; however, there is no 55mm version as mentioned above. I found a 62mm mounting threaded-ring made for 62mm FZ-10/20 cameras as shown below. This image shows a DCR 6600pro with a 52mm thread; but, one can remove it from the lens and replace it with other Raynox or third party similar products. This image has a 62mm “replacement” with which the DCR 6600pro will become a 62mm threaded lens without vignetting on FZ-10 and FZ-20.

With this replacement, the DCR6600pro is slightly shorter than the HD6600-55, perhaps less than 1mm. When this mounting threaded-ring is used with a DRC6600pro, I did not see vignetting on my FZ-10. The advantage of using this type of “replacement” is that it does maintain the shape of the original lens, while the disadvantage is clearly that one must use a different ring for each thread size. Fortunately, since FZ-10 and FZ-20 is on their way out, we perhaps would not have to worry too much about this type of products.

(5) This HD6600-55 does not cause vignetting nor corner light fall-off as demonstrated by the image below. The right side of the image is brighter than the left side because of the sun and bright cloud. It is clear that there is no vignetting or obvious light fall-off. However, this HD6600 does exhibit nasty ghost (and flare) when a strong light source is near the border of the image. The image below is an example.

(6) How about barrel distortion? The following image was taken with a HD6600-55. It does exhibit a “mustache” type barrel distortion. A mustache type is a “wavy” barrel distortion with a big bulge in the middle and becoming flat near the edge and then may tilting up again.

The barrel distortion in the above HD6600 image is definitely better than that of the popular Olympus WCON-07 as shown below. Please note the center brighter blurred spot.

However, it is hard to say if the HD6600 performs better than the Olympus WCON-08B as shown below. Due to a slightly different shooting angle, the HD6600 image and WCON-08B image may be a little different; however, in general, they are very similar and it is hard to say if one is significantly better than the other. This is different from the claim frequently seen here and elsewhere that the 6600 has “no” barrel distortion. Of course, saying that the HD6600 and WCON-08B are the same in terms of barrel distortion is not fair because the former is of type 0.66X while the latter is 0.8X, and a 0.8X wide angle converter is easier to get barrel distortion under control. But, saying the 6600 has no barrel distortion exaggerates too much.

(7) Image Quality???? Since I don’t have many images for a detailed analysis so far, I would leave this issue open and report my findings in a forthcoming wide angle converter lens comparison page as long as weather permits and I have time. My first impression is that the 6600 does exhibits purple/greenish fringes off center, and is somewhat soft at the corners and extreme edges. However, I will need more examples to justify and/or disprove my impression.

CK
http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam

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