MS Zenitar-M 16mm f / 2.8 m42 (1990)

Zenitar 16mm 1: 2.8 was developed and produced by the KMZ plant, the first lenses were sold in 1990.

Review of MC Zenitar-M 16mm f / 2.8

Thank you photographer Slava Terebov for the copy provided. The lens is produced in several versions, and, depending on the modification, can be installed on

  • Pentax (letter K),
  • Nikon (N, H),
  • Canon (since 2012, letter C),
  • on Zenits and other devices with a threaded mount m42 (M).

The lens is a wide-angle lens, also called “fisheye” because of the effect associated with a wide angle of view. Wide-angle lenses on the [PRO] PHOTO portal:

  1. Canon EF 15mm f / 2.8
  2. Zenitar-M M42 16mm f / 2.8
  3. Ricoh Rikenon M42 28mm f / 2.8
  4. Hanimex M42 28mm f / 2.8
  5. Helios M42 28mm M42 f / 2.8
  6. Miranda M42 28mm f / 2.8 MC
  7. Pentacon Electric M42 29mm f / 2.8
  8. Sigma EF-s 30mm f / 1.4 EX DC HSM
  9. Yongnuo EF 35mm f / 2.0
  10. Mir-1V M42 37mm f / 2.8

Specifications MC Zenitar 16mm f / 2.8


Name MC Zenitar-M2,8 / 16 Made In Russia
Mount to camera Threaded М42х1
Release 90s of XX century
Production KMZ
A type Standard, fixed
Housing Painted metal (steel, aluminum), values, apertures,
focusing distances are engraved on the body
The cost $ 40 in 2016 from hands
Lens groups 7
Elements ten
Optical design there is no data
Diaphragm petals 6, brushed metal
Relative hole 1: 2.8
Aperture control manual, control ring, diaphragm pressure mechanism
Aperture Scale Limits 1: 2.8–1: 22
MDF (m) 0.3
Focal length (mm) sixteen
Viewing angle (degrees) 180
Filter diameter (mm) non-standard
Dimensions (mm) 63mm length
Weight (g) 310


Decoding letter abbreviations

The letter in the name is the encryption of the system for which the lens is mounted. On variants with the letter K, N (H) in the name, the mechanism of the “jumping” diaphragm is used, on the variant M – a pressure diaphragm. On the Canon EF bayonet mount, the diaphragm is manually controlled. The M lens is a versatile solution, as it can be used on both m42 and Canon cameras, as well as others whose flange focal length is no larger than the flange of the lens.

Body, ergonomics

It has a protruding lens, protected on both sides by protruding sheets of an aluminum case. This copy has an inscription in Latin letters, like MC Zenitar-M2,8 / 16 Made in Russia. The font and marks are engraved on the frame, and in places with paint over the body.

The paint is resistant to mechanical stress. The rear lens of the objective is covered with a compensator, a set of color compensators is included with the lens and is not sold separately (only used).

The multi-colored expansion joints serve as color filters. One of the rare lenses where color filters are screwed onto the back of the lens.

Lightweight, easy to use. It has excellent sharpness with f / 3.2, a short stroke of the focusing ring (MDF – 0.3 meters, infinity comes from one and a half). The optics have multi-layer coating, which we are happily informed about by the abbreviation “MC” on the body. The resolution is higher than that of Helios 44-2 by almost 20 lines / mm in the center. But despite this, the lens tends to lose contrast when exposed to strong illumination.

MS Zenitar-M 16mm f / 2.8 in operation

The lens fit easily on Canon EOS Kiss III, Canon 60D. However, due to the smaller sensor area, the viewing angle turned out to be not 180, but about 112 degrees (crop factor 1.6). The MS Zenitar-M diaphragm has six blades. When you clamp it, nuts appear in the bokeh.

At an open aperture, chromatic aberration is observed, which becomes barely noticeable with increasing f-number. Has a pronounced distortion, bends the horizon line, straight lines. Modern zoom and wide-angle lenses (for example, Sigma 17-50) have corrected this problem, but lenses often have a cost that significantly exceeds the cost of Zenitar-M 16mm.

The focusing ring is rubberized, the aperture number is changed under a slight effort, with a characteristic click of the latch.

Using Zenitar-M on modern cameras

To work on digital cameras, you will need an adapter from the M42x1. It is most easily put on cropped Canon EOS with EF-s mount, especially considering that adapters without chips on Canon cost mere pennies.

By ordering adapters using the links below, you help the project cover the costs of site maintenance and development. List of adapters, systems and mounts (direct links for ordering):

When ordering, it should be borne in mind that cheap adapters of poor quality with a lens on the Nikon F mount significantly spoil the picture. Adapters without a lens reduce the maximum focusing range (due to the difference in focal lengths). Adapters with chips come across poor quality, exposure metering and focus confirmation on some Canon EOS models may suffer from this.

Instead of an epilogue

Considering the cost of the new lens (~ 6000rur), Zenitar 16 / 2.8 is an excellent lens for the amateur photographer, not inferior in quality to more expensive counterparts.

 Sample photos of MS Zenitar-M 16mm f / 2.8

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