Fisheye fun (16mm zenitar)

Started Dec 28, 2012 | Discussions
aidan obsidian Regular Member • Posts: 252
Fisheye fun (16mm zenitar)

Hope everyone had a great christmas/hanukah/kwanzaa or any other celebration and I'm looking forward to seeing all the pictures that should come flooding in with new lenses and cameras : ).
I picked up the 16mm 2.8 zenitar fisheye and finally have a true wide angle on aps-c other than the kit lens.
First impressions are that it can be extremely sharp even wide open (but not at as sharp at MFD as infinity wide open), the distortion can be minimized or accentuated and in a lot of situations it isnt too pronounced. Build quality seems to be great so far, is solid and substantial but not too heavy and has nice balance on my Kx.

It hasn't come off my camera these last few days and have really been loving the results. A lot of areas that I have went to before couldn't be captured without stitching before, so it's like seeing them all again with new eyes.

Would 100% recommend this lens to anyone on a budget looking for a fisheye or wide angle. 
Here are some shots from the first couple of days:

first time having any snow more than 1cm in 2 years.

the colours are great too

Heading out now to test it on film : D

Pentax K-x
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gooseta
gooseta Contributing Member • Posts: 710
Re: Fisheye fun (16mm zenitar)

nice photos, the colors from it look great

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DarylK
DarylK Senior Member • Posts: 2,198
Re: Fisheye fun (16mm zenitar)

Thanks.  I've recently rediscovered my Pentax 10-17 Fisheye and have enjoyed it.  I might try it as a substitute for my DA 12-24 for awhile.  With distortion correction in Lightroom, I can either go for the fisheye distortion or not.

I don't notice much fisheye distortion in your shots - maybe there is a little in your last shot.  I assume you must have removed it in post as I'd expect to see a lot more curvature at the edges.

Enjoy your new toy!

Daryl

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OP aidan obsidian Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: Fisheye fun (16mm zenitar)

I mostly converted to black and white because that's what I've been shooting/developing/printing with film but I felt I had to include some colour shots for that reason, thanks gooseta.

Actually the only picture I posted that I corrected the distortion for is the first one, which I compressed and cropped in PS. I was out with it on my film camera today and it was really pronounced, it was nearly 160-170 degrees it seemed, will have to look it up. I forget the type of projection it has, but IIRC it's different than others so it doesn't bend straight lines as much as other fisheyes (couldn't find any writing on it looking just now though). The fisheye effect on cropped sensor is barely noticeable at all, unless the subject is close and has a lot of straight lines or you have the horizon not centered. Thanks Daryll, the 10-17 looks really nice too, especially with the MFD.

steephill Veteran Member • Posts: 9,861
It's fun but

it isn't that wonderful. Ken Rockwell has a sensible review of it here http://www.kenrockwell.com/zenit/zenitar-16mm.htm Now Ken can be a bit OTT but he calls it right on this one.

Here's some of my own shots showing how badly it flares and the difference in field of view between APS-C digital and FF film.



DA16-45 on K7



Zenitar on K7



Zenitar on film MZ5n



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OP aidan obsidian Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: It's fun but

The flare looks like it's handled a lot better on film, i've only noticed some flare when shot directly into a bright light source a few times. Three of these shots were shot directly into a bright light in the 1st, 2nd, and 4th pictures: you can see how they handled it.

The shot you posted with the k7 and zenitar isn't very flattering. When I checked out the flickr pool for the lens there are tons of great shots; that's what I usually base my judgements on, or by looking on ppg if it's a pentax lens, or "the other forums"(granted flare is mentioned as an issue). I think I can work around its flaws/limitations and still enjoy it lol.

The worst source of the flare in your image is the bottom right corner which you included in the composition, which I would expect (and apparently most people do from a UWA fisheye with such a large front element). In the 16-45 shot the same window isn't visible. It also looks like you couldn't be bothered to fix the white balance in the k7 zenitar shot which makes it even worse of a comparison. It's also worth noting that lens is nearly double the price.

Thanks for posting the comparisons and saying it isn't that wonderful and sorry you couldn't figure out how to use it's strengths.

a few more not wonderful images:

and here is your zenitar shot with the k7 and 20 seconds of ACR from a 500kb file

steephill Veteran Member • Posts: 9,861
Why the insults?
1

You have assumed that I was too lazy to change the WB in my image. On the contrary I left it like that to illustrate a point about the use of UWA and WB. That scene has a nasty mix of daylight, tungsten and CFL sources and using a wider field of view changes the balance of the lighting.

I have had my Zenitar for over 6 years and have fully explored its strengths and weaknesses and am capable of exploiting both on digital and film. I am not blind to its faults nor trying to play them down like you are. When you get a few more years experience with this lens under your belt you might begin to recognise these. It's a fun lens alright but it has its flaws.

Here are some of my initial shots with this lens from 2006.



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OP aidan obsidian Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: Why the insults?

Well when comparing the lenses I only thought it would be fair if you corrected both images. It would be useful to readers if your intention was to show the difficulties of the extra FOV & white balance to state so; rather than, "it's not that wonderful", and posting that image taken with the k7 which looks bad IMHO without correcting the white balance (something easily done in a few seconds).

I'm not blind to it's faults, I don't know what gives you that impression, I said I can work around them, and use it situationally (like any fisheye). I said it had nice colour, and didn't give my copy accolades.

So if I get a few more years under my belt, and recognize these faults I've already acknowledged I should be able to recognize the situations which cause them, right? And by knowing that I will know when to use it without the issues mentioned; as I said, by working around them.

Are there better lenses optically? Yes. That being said, it's true for every lens in my collection, and probably yours too, especially considering other formats. Though it's subjective.
Every lens has flaws, strengths, and weaknesses, it's essential to learn how to mitigate them correct?

Sorry if you thought if you were insulted by my assumptions, or condescending like you have been by insinuating I need more experience to "begin to recognize these[faults]".

I really like your shot with the leaf and the water.

afterswish1
afterswish1 Contributing Member • Posts: 743
Re: It's fun but
1

steephill wrote:

it isn't that wonderful. Ken Rockwell has a sensible review of it here http://www.kenrockwell.com/zenit/zenitar-16mm.htm Now Ken can be a bit OTT but he calls it right on this one.

Here's some of my own shots showing how badly it flares and the difference in field of view between APS-C digital and FF film.



DA16-45 on K7



Zenitar on K7



Zenitar on film MZ5n



To be fair, the OP didn't say the lens was wonderful only that it was a good option if you're looking for a wide angle on a budget. At least that was how I read it. In my case I think I could get the Zenitar for roughly half the price of the Pentax 16-45, and that is a sale price too so it's certainly a good suggestion.

The shots you posted are helpful in comparing the FOV of the two lenses but I'm not sure it helps much with respect to flaring. The reason I say that is there's no aperture data for the Zenitar, and the 16-45 shots don't include much of the light sources. I realise it is a manual lens so you'd have to remember the f-stops if possible. The last shot on film doesn't seem to show a huge problem, if we had the comparison pointing the 16-45 at the windows that might be more handy, but of course it's still not really fair due to the crop factor.

Something that interests me is that Ken Rockwell didn't rate the Zenitar much for sharpness, at least not in the corners and not until f16, although I think that was on full frame. In contrast on the Pentax forum folks seem to rate it very highly for sharpness. Symptom of generally poor QC, or did Ken just get an unusually duff copy? Any chance of you guys posting some 100% crops of the corners at all?

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OP aidan obsidian Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: It's fun but

That was one thing I didn't mention, the sharpness. Again, IMHO I think it is fairly sharp, even in the corners starting at 5.6 onwards. It rivals my sigma mini wide II 28mm, smc m 28mm 3.5 and 2.8.
On the other forums it gets a 10 for sharpness, but all would have been on cropped sensor cameras.
heres the original (downsized) image, and 100% crops from the orginal full res version.
not bad, but maybe I need some for experience to say so according to Daryll....(BTW, currently pursuing my BFA in photography).

bottom left

top left

bottom right

center crop

OP aidan obsidian Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: It's fun but

"so according to Daryll...." OOPS! Steephill not Daryll : )
and the above shot was @ 5.6

afterswish1
afterswish1 Contributing Member • Posts: 743
Re: It's fun but

Well that's pretty good and at odds with Ken Rockwell's review, albeit looking at it on a crop sensor. Thanks for posting those, certainly doesn't seem like stopping down to f16 is essential as with his copy, again bearing in mind the reduced portion of the image circle we're seeing.

Have you tried the automatic CA removal in ACR or Photoshop at all?

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Ian Leach Senior Member • Posts: 1,475
Re: Fisheye fun (16mm zenitar)

aidan obsidian wrote:

I really like this one, thanks for posting.

OP aidan obsidian Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: It's fun but

Don't mention it afterswish1, was barely a hassle to post them. I think there definitely could be a QC issue with his lens, as the corner sharpness surprised me. The PF can be removed with some minor tweaks in ACR, I didn't adjust it in the shot I presented though. 
Thanks Ian, was knee deep in snow at 2am in that shot. I wanted to take more shots but didnt want to keep my friend waiting in the snow or damage my Kx in the snow.

OP aidan obsidian Regular Member • Posts: 252
Re: It's fun but

Got the film back yesterday. It was shot on expired fuji sensia 200 and cross processed in c-41. It ended up having a very strong magenta cast so I desaturated most of them. Will try scanning again soon.



CBuckeye Forum Member • Posts: 62
Love the leaf/water shot!

Without getting into lens capability analysis (a topic that I do NOT consider myself an expert), thank you for posting the photo of the leaf on the edge of what looks like a granite fountain with water dripping from the tip of the leaf.  I could probably find something critical to say about it, but I'd rather just enjoy it as beautiful.  Well done!

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Chris

JoeDaBassPlayer Veteran Member • Posts: 3,671
Re: Fisheye fun (16mm zenitar)

I am glad people are discoveringthis lens, again. A few years ago, it was a forum favorite. One does need to stop it down to at least F4. Then, it can go against a lot of expensive lenses. At F8, I have nothing that can really go against it. The FOV is about that of a 12mm rectilinear. It is a fun lens that is a bit kinder to people in group shots toward the edge.

it is part of my "heavy" travel kit. XS40, DA21, Z16.

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timo Veteran Member • Posts: 5,537
Re: Fisheye fun (16mm zenitar)

JoeDaBassPlayer wrote:

I am glad people are discoveringthis lens, again. A few years ago, it was a forum favorite. One does need to stop it down to at least F4. Then, it can go against a lot of expensive lenses. At F8, I have nothing that can really go against it. The FOV is about that of a 12mm rectilinear. It is a fun lens that is a bit kinder to people in group shots toward the edge.

it is part of my "heavy" travel kit. XS40, DA21, Z16.

In my experience you have to stop down a bit more than f/4. It starts to be useful at f/5.6, but go further if you can. At f/2.8 mine is unusable. I used to be quite fond of the Z in my *istD days, but trying it out recently with the K5 I was surprised by how iffy it is towards the edges. Stopped down, the centre is excellent, comparable with the DA15.  I use a photoshop plug-in called Debarrelizer to defish it - works well if you get the settings right. I haven't tried doing it with Lightroom.

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JoeDaBassPlayer Veteran Member • Posts: 3,671
Re: Fisheye fun (16mm zenitar)

At F5.6 - F8, mine is quite sharp to the edges. F4 is quite good with just a little softer edges.

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Variance is Evil!

chucuyuco Regular Member • Posts: 116
Re: Fisheye fun (16mm zenitar)

I have this lens and was thinking of selling it because I wanted something more fishy and this is very slight on the aps-c sensor.  Maybe I should keep it and appreciate its sharpness.  I do love that even though it is manual, everything is in focus without much trouble.  To sell or not to sell!

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