Zenitar 16mm f/2.8 fisheye test

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I'm a big fan of extreme wide-angle lenses, but I've always found the novelty of fisheye lenses means it's something I'll use once or twice and then not want to use for several months. But when this Russian lens came up on Ebay I couldn't resist a cheeky bid - and for the princely sum of £80 I was the proud owner of a Zenitar 16mm f/2.8 fisheye.
This isn't meant as a scientific or comprehensive test - I'll leave that to people with much more time on their hands - but I thought I'd share some of my observations about this cheap and cheerful fisheye optic.
First of all, the lens is an old-fashioned manual focus design so there are no fancy motors, just a simple manual focus and a traditional aperture ring. It's also pretty tiny - which is great as I'm all for keeping the weight of my kit to a minimum. The lens feels pretty solid, but we'll see how it stands-up to normal use.
The nature of the fisheye design means that there's no filter thread, which is a bit of a pain for landscapes. One final irritation is that the lens doesn't 'talk' to the camera, so although on the D600 the metering will work in aperture-priority and manual, you don't get a readout of the aperture, and the aperture value doesn't appear in the EXIF data.
The images were shot on my D600, and processed using Adobe Lightroom. Nothing too extreme, just a few saturation and exposure adjustments and some basic sharpening applied. I shot it on a tripod using a remote and mirror lock-up, so hopefully there isn't too much user error involved in the results.
Below you'll find the whole image, and as you'll see there's plenty of distortion - just as you'd expect of a fisheye lens. But the coverage and fall-off are actually pretty impressive, for what's a really cheap lens.

Click here for the Centre sharpness results...
Click here for the Edge sharpness results...
Click here for the fringing results...

Zenitar 16mm f/2.8 fisheye

Zenitar 16mm f/2.8 fisheye D600 1

Zenitar 16mm f/2.8 fisheye D600 2
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