Zenit Zenitar 16mm F2.8 MC Fisheye A-mount lens review by wallyb

reviewer#3995 date: Aug-23-2008
sharpness: 4.5
color: 5
build: 4
distortion: 5
flare control: 4
overall: 4.5
tested on:
  • film camera:Film camera
  • APS-C: 6MP6 MP; 10MP10 MP; 12MP12 MP; 14MP14 MP; 16MP16 MP; 20MP20 MP; 24MP24 MP
  • full frame: 12MP12 MP; 24MP24 MP; 36MP36 MP; 42MP42 MP; 61MP61 MP
ownership:I used to own this lens
compared to:
price paid:175 USD LNIB
positive:- Very sharp wide-open WITH REAR FILTER
- Really small and pretty light
- Fast
- High-quality super-wide at an affordable price
- Being a fisheye, you're not missing much by having it MF-only
negative:- Mediocre build quality; good construction but occasional printing and glass misalignments
- Not an A-mount lens
- Prone to flare due to angle
- Can't put filters on it, lens cap can be tricky
- Necessary rear filters are easy to lose, and don't always come with the item when buying used
comment:This lens is extremely sharp at f/2.8 _when the rear filter is attached_! It is not just plain glass, it has a magnification ratio to it. Without it, of course, the lens is hopelessly soft until f/16; try seeing how well any of your lenses fare with an element missing :P

It's a fisheye, so distortion and flare are almost irrelevant. All fisheyes can have lots of both depending on what you're shooting.

The build quality is great for the price, I mean, it's very solid, mostly metal. However, the plastic lens cap just rubs me the wrong way. Needing rear filters to obtain sharp pictures can make this item worthless used if not paired with them. Lens elements can focus "past infinity" on some copies, a sign of poor quality control.

Other than that, it's wonderful! A full-frame fisheye for 2 bennies. It's very small and has excellent quality as long as it has the rear filters.

rating summary

lens image
  • total reviews: 21
  • sharpness: 4.12
  • color: 4.29
  • build: 4.14
  • distortion: 4.29
  • flare control: 3.76
  • overall: 4.12
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