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Leica M8 & Fisheye: Experiences With The Fisheye Lense MC-Zenitar-M 16/2.8

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To play and experiment with my Leica M8 is a big pleasure for me. Therefor, the range of my focuslengths is large. One of my lenses is the fisheye lense MC-Zenitar-M 16/2.8 (with M mount adapter).

This lense has an angle of view in the diagonal of 180°. the full effect of the fisheye is reached when it is mounted on a small film camera with an image size of 36 x24 mm or a digital camera with the same size of the image sensor. From the Rangefinder Cameras of the series Leica M, the film cameras (M1-M7, MP) or the newer digital cameras Leica M9 or Leica M (Typ 240) and others match the small film size.

The Leica M8 however has a smaller digital sensor (27×18 mm). So this crops the image and also influenses the fisheye effect on the Leica M8. Nevertheless, the fisheye Lence MC-Zenitar M makes nice and effectfull fisheye images. Please find here some samples.


The Equipment


The equipment consists of

  • lense MC Zenitar 16/2.8
  • 2 lense caps
  • M mount adapter
  • 3 filters (yellow, green, red)
  • nylon carrying case


  • focal lenght: 16mm
  • lens fitting: M42x1
  • relative aperture; F/2.8-22
  • angle of view (diagonal): 180°
  • minimum distance when photographing: 0,3m
  • weight: 0,31kg

The Leica M8 Crop Factor and the Fisheye

Due to the fact that the Leica M8 sensor is smaller (27 x 18 mm) than the reference small format (36 x 24 mm) of e.g. the film based Leica M6 or the newer digital Leica M9 and Leica M (Type 24), the so called crop factor has to be taken into account.

The crop factor is the comparison of the (diagonal) of the refenence (small image) size and the sensor.

CF=diag smallimage / diag sensor. ⇒ M8: CF = 1.33.

The crop factor also means, the edges of the diagonals will be cropped, and this so will influence the fisheye effect the angle of view.The fisheye lense MC-Zenitar-M 16/2.8 has an angle of view of 180°, but on the M8, it is less, but it is not easily calculable…

Read more about Leica M8 and its crop factor here


Due to the large angle of view, it need an additional viewfinder. I use the Universal Leica Viewfinder with its water level and the 16mm setting, but of course, it is only a approximative solution. For those who have the newest generations of digital Leica M’s (Type 240 and M10) , using the liveview would be the best solution.

Fisheye Effect on Architecture

The fisheye effect can be shown well with architecture and cityscapes. Find here some images from the old center of berne.

 berne minster tower fisheye left   berne minster tower fisheye center
berne minster tower

berne minster portal fisheye center
berne minster portal

berne kramgasse fisheye
berne kramgasse

zytglogge fisheye
berne zytglogge

trinity church fisheye
trinity church in berne

4-stores house in berne
4-storey house in berne

Fisheye Effect on Bridges

 kornhasbridge&aarbergsteg fisheye
kornhaus bridge and altenbergsteg, berne

kornhaus bridge column
column of kornhaus bridge in berne

last update 10.12.2017
published 28.01.2015

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