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The Russian Zenitar 16mm Fisheye Lens

About Toledo-Bend Gallery & Equipment Used

Where Toledo-Bend Gallery Photos Are Taken   Equipment Used for Toledo-Bend Gallery Photos   Photo Techniques Used for Toledo-Bend Gallery Photos   BEWARE! Canon Warranty & Dealers   CCD or CMOS Image Sensor Cleaning   Memory Card Speed Comparison   Opteka Tele Lens Review   UV Filters: What Difference?   Using Diopters for Close-Ups   Using Extension Tubes for Close-Ups   Zenitar Fisheye Lens  

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Zenitar Fish-Eye LensZenitar 16mm Fisheye (Wide Angle) Lens:

The first thing I found out about getting a digital SLR camera was good... and bad. The good was that there is a "telephoto effect" with these cameras; a given lens has the effect of approximately 160% of its nominal focal length. That's just great for getting higher powered zoom lenses at considerably lower costs. The bad part is when a wide angle shot is wanted. It takes a very wide angle lens to get a wide angle effect because of the telephoto effect. And the really wide lenses are also really expensive. Then I found the Russian made Zenitar fisheye lens. While not the absolute perfect solution, it is very workable and very economical!

The lens is made with an M-42 mount and comes with an adapter for your camera (in my case, a Canon EOS mount adapter. The adapter is heavy and I'm not crazy about it, but it is functional. However, there is one major problem... the rear lens cap for the lens requires that the adapter be removed. The simple solution is just to purchase an extra EOS rear lens cap and leave the adapter on and use the purchased rear cap for it. The picture above shows the adapter disconnected from the lens as well as the EOS cap I purchased.

The lens also comes with three colored filters (not in picture); these fit at the back of the lens and I believe they are useless to me with a digital camera. Extreme care should be taken with the front lens cap. As the picture shows, the front of the lens body is manufactured in an unusual shape - meaning ONLY this lens cap will fit it. So, if anything happens to the original lens cap, it won't be easy to get it replaced. Additionally, it is impossible to attach filters to the front of the lens body.

For those who are mechanically inquisitive, I will mention that the lens is easy to dissemble - though I don't recommend doing it. This is strictly a manual focus lens, though the light meter will work well through it. Aperture and focus are controlled by rings on the lens body and seem to work quite well.

While this lens on a digital camera wont give some of the extreme fisheye effects that can be so much fun to play with, it will give a respectable amount of fisheye effect. My main purpose in having the lens is for situation requiring a wide angle lens - such as photographing room interiors where there simply isn't enough room to back away and get the desired view. This is not an aspherical lens - so there is a good bit of distortion. However, when shooting digital pictures, this is easily corrected with photo processing software such as PhotoImpact (which I use), PhotoShop, etc. I find the lens gives me some of both worlds (wide angle and fisheye effects) while not being superior in either. However, considering the price, it is fantastic! I got it on eBay for about $140. from the manufacturer who sells them direct from Russia.

Below are some pictures to let you see what the lens will do.

For some other information on the Zenitar lens, check:

http://www.rugift.com/photocameras/zenitar_m_fisheye_lens.htm - they sell the lens

All shots below are using Canon EOS 10D camera

Since it was night and I did not wish to use a flash, I used high ISO settings and slow shutter speeds. I generally find the Zenitar gets a little better picture with a wider aperture. The aperture extends from 2.8 to 22 on this lens.

Lens: Sigma 28-105mm
Lens: Zenitar 16mm
1/30 sec @ f3.5 @ 28mm @ ISO 1600 1/2 sec @ f22 @ 16mm @ ISO3200
Zenitar Fish-Eye Lens Zenitar Fish-Eye Lens

Picture from Zenitar lens after adjustments for distortion

Zenitar Fish-Eye Lens
Only the very quickest adjustments were applied - it took about 30 seconds to fix the picture. With more effort, it could have been improved further - but the point is to show how quickly and easily it is to fix the pictures taken with this lens.