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

reviewer#4775 date: Jan-31-2009
sharpness: 3.5
color: 3
build: 3
distortion: 3
flare control: 2
overall: 2.9
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 own this lens
compared to:
price paid:
positive:- cheap
- smooth manual focus
- aperture click stops work fine
- fun lens to use, well worth the price
- very compact
- easy to dissemble
negative:- flare control
- initial soft focus problem - easily fixable, though
- difficult to focus manually at close range
- unique front cap - so better don't lose
comment:The Zenitar is a nice wide angle lens and will give a respectable amount of fisheye effect on an APS-C digital camera. You can invest thousands into super-sharp optics and the results of such lenses may be stunning, however, this cheap Russian fisheye lens produces images that cause similar "Aahs" and "Oohs" from your audience plus lots of smiles without emptying your bank. Used at larger apertures it is soft, therefore should be stopped down to improve the ability to reach perfect focus, reduce aberrations and internal reflections.
Initially my lens copy had a soft focus problem - when focused at infinity, the lens elements aren't extended to their furthest amount and hence the result is unsharp. It's a bit frustrating that these kind of adjustments are required in first place, but it's quite easy to do - just loosen the three screws under the focus rubber grip and align the outer focus ring properly to the internal focusing mechanism. Since the focus is tweaked I’ve been very satisfied with the results, flare aside. And yes, of course there is some chromatic aberration in the corners, but it’s not too bad.
Bottom line is that the manual Zenitar lens works well on A-mount bodies and if you just want to experience what it is like to use a fisheye lens then the Zenitar 16mm F2.8 Fisheye definitely is the way to go for.

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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