Overview of the MS Zenitar 16 / 2.8 Fisheye Lens

Lens MS Zenitar 16 / 2.8 "Fisheye" also has a name MC Zenitar 2.8 / 16 Fish-Eye. My instance is modified for Nikon mount and is called Zenitar-n... Most likely this name is due to the fact that the "H" mount is the same as the "F" mount (Nikon). The "H" type bayonet was used by cameras Kiev-17, 18, 19, etc. The lens is currently produced for Canon (with an adapter ring), Nikon (with a native mount), Sony (with an adapter ring) and Pentax (with native bayonet). Be careful that when choosing on your system you take exactly the right lens or lens + adapter.

View Zenitar-N 16 / 2.8

View Zenitar-N 16 / 2.8

As the name implies, this is a lens of class "Fish eye". In everyday life, just fishy (from the English fish - fish, eye - eye), or more seriously: a short-focus ultra-wide-angle lens. Zenitar-N refers to diagonal fisheye lenses, which means that it will give a large 180-degree angle of view only along the diagonal of the frame and only on the full frame.

Sample photo on Zenitar-N 16 / 2.8

Sample photo on Zenitar-N 16 / 2.8

First impression: The lens is quite small, very well assembled. The caption draws attention Made in Russia, since the lens is still produced in Russia at the Krasnogorsk plant (Zenith). There is a characteristic emblem of this plant on the lens. Further, an unusual front cap and an amazing curved front lens attracts you.

Sample photo on Zenitar-N 16 / 2.8

Sample photo on Zenitar-N 16 / 2.8

Important points in MC Zenitar 16 / 2.8:
1. 16mm wide angle. On film cameras under 35mm film, the lens will give a viewing angle of 180 degrees diagonally. But on the cropped matrix, for example on my Nikon D200and D40, the viewing angle will be equivalent to 24mm in full frame. And 24mm is already an ordinary wide-angle lens. For example, if you have a lens of type 18-55 or any other, starting with 18mm, then in comparison with the Zenitar-N it will give a slightly narrower angle (the field of view is slightly wider). The only major difference is the characteristic distortion of perspective that Zenitar gives.
2. Perspective Distortion. The lens has a strong barrel distortion, which in this case is not a problem, but a chip. The picture takes an unusual look, the lines around the edge of the frame bend very much, opening up a flight for the photographer for compositions and interesting ideas. I know for myself that I really wanted to play with such a lens before, but when it falls into your hands, coming up with a good composition with barrel-shaped distortion is not so simple.
3. Big aperture. F / 2.8 already decent aperture. Moreover, the lens is quite sharp already with a fully open aperture.
4. The lens is very compact, lightweight and durable. In the best traditions of Soviet optics - glass and iron.
5. The lens is manual, which means that no matter what cool Nikon camera you would hook Zenitar-N, it will not have auto focus. You have to focus manually, it’s not at all difficult using a wide-angle lens. On Nikon cameras, a green dot in the lower left corner of the viewfinder will serve as confirmation of a successful focus.

Photo by Zenitar-N 16 2.8

Photo by Zenitar-N 16 2.8

6. The lens does not have communication chips with the camera, and therefore exposure metering will only work on older Nikon cameras, such as Nikon D200, D300(s) D7000, D2 (x, h, s) and all full-frames. And this means that on cameras by type Nikon D40, D90 etc. You can only take pictures in M ​​mode (manual camera control mode). This is not always convenient. In more detail about any measurements and compatibility read in my article Soviet optics.
7. The lens is present jumping diaphragm. This means that you can focus on focus with the aperture fully open, and take a picture at the value that is set on the aperture control ring. It is very convenient and allows you to control the diaphragm. If it’s not clear about the jumping aperture, then I’ll briefly say that everything will work just like with the Nikon’s native lens.
8. The lens does not support the use of protective and gradient filters. There is simply nowhere to screw protective filter, and even the front lens has a bulge.

Photo on Zenitar-N fish eye 16mm F2.8

Photo on Zenitar-N fish eye 16mm F2.8

9. The lens has a tricky mechanism for using photo filters, they cannot be mounted in front of the front lens, but they are attached to the rear of the lens. 3 light filters included. The only thing is that you have to remove the lens from the camera before installing or replacing the filter. This is a rather rare phenomenon, although this has its advantages, the size of the filters is very small, and accordingly it makes their manufacture cheaper. When no color light filters are on the lens, a compensating transparent filter should be on the lens. True, getting additional filters for the Zenithar-N thread will be quite problematic.
10. The lens has a wonderful depth of field and aperture control scale. Moreover, the depth of field of the lens is simply gorgeous, already with a completely open aperture, the depth of field is very large.
11. The lens Suitable for Nikon full-frame cameras. True, people who have Nikon D700 or D3(x, s), most likely they can afford to use their native autofocus lenses.
12. When focusing, the front lens unit extends slightly forward, about half a centimeter.

Photo by Zenitar-N 16 2.8

Photo by Zenitar-N 16 2.8

Personal impressions: focusing on the lens is pretty simple, basically my lens is in focus position at infinity. You need to twist the focuser only if the focusing object is closer than 1.5 meters. And the depth of field of the lens is simply gorgeous. The only thing I expected from him was to see a wider angle on the crop, but 16mm is 16mm. I shot them chess tournament indoors, at hand was the universal Tamron 17-50 2.8, both lenses gave almost the same wide viewing angle at the short end, the only thing was that the fisheye sometimes got an interesting picture.

Photo by Zenitar N 16 2.8

Photo by Zenitar N 16 2.8

Attention: This is not an old lens, it is still available today and is popular with photographers and videographers. I have often seen Zenitar 2,8 / 16 on modern cameras, and my colleague shoots video on them Canon 60D. If you need more information on various kinds of compatibility and subtle issues, there is a site on which many issues related to Zenitar-N http://www.mc-zenitar.ru. Please note that on a cropped camera, the lens will not give super wide angle and super distortion, for this you need to use special fisheye for cropped cameras, or fisheye with an even smaller focal length.

Photo by Zenitar N 16 2.8

Photo by Zenitar N 16 2.8

About the picture: everything is simple - the picture is interesting, there is sharpness even at 2.8, if you close it to 5.6, then the sharpness becomes just fabulous. HA persist at almost all diaphragms. The distortion is the strongest - that's why he is a fish. The contrast is excellent. The lens tolerates back and side light well and catches hares a little. Corner sharpness practically does not fall on my cropped matrix. Vignetting is also not noticeable. But in order to fully reveal the potential of Zenitar-N, it must be used on a full frame, for the Nikon system these are film cameras or full-frame Nikon D700, D3(x, s).

Photo on Zenitar N 16 2.8 and a cropped camera

Photo on Zenitar N 16 2.8 and a cropped camera

Sample photos on Zenitar-N: (RAW -> JPEG, 1600 * 1200 + watermark without processing)

UPDATE

Examples of photos on MC ZENITAR-N 2,8 / 16 FISH-EYE and camera Nikon D600 a photographer shared with readers of Radozhiva Alexander Plekhanov.

Catalog modern brand lenses 'Zenitar' и 'Helios' can look at this link.

In the comments, you can ask a question on the topic and they will answer you, as well as you can express your opinion or describe your experience. For the selection of photographic equipment, I recommend large catalogs, for example E-Catalog. Many little things for the photo can be found on AliExpress.


conclusions: A very interesting Soviet manual lens. Perfect for people who need a wide angle, as well as for photo experiments with an interesting "curved" picture, which gives a fisheye. Personally, I will add that you really have to learn how to use the lens before making masterpieces.

The material was prepared by Arkady Shapoval. My Youtube channeland Radozhiva's group on Facebook и VK.

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Comments: 215, on the topic: Review of the lens MS Zenitar 16 / 2.8 "Fisheye"

  • Alexander

    Photos from Alexander Plekhanov, just wonderful!

  • Eugene

    An excellent old-school lens with a metal body - a pleasure to hold in your hands. Everything suits the picture - I shoot on FF at f8-16 and the sharpness is excellent. I think that f4 and 5,6, and even more so 2,8, is pampering when shooting with any fish. Anyone who thinks differently - learn materiel.

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English-version of this article https://radojuva.com/en/2011/12/mc-zenitar-16-mm-2-8-fish-eye-review/comment-page-6/