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SMC Pentax-A 16mm F2.8 Fish-Eye Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-A 16mm F2.8 Fish-Eye

Reviews Views Date of last review
6 47,267 Fri February 24, 2017
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $484.00 9.00
SMC Pentax-A 16mm F2.8 Fish-Eye

SMC Pentax-A 16mm F2.8 Fish-Eye
SMC Pentax-A 16mm F2.8 Fish-Eye

This rare lens has fast aperture and features three built-in filters. It is larger than the K 17mm F4, but also one stop faster.

SMC Pentax-A 16mm F2.8 FISH-EYE
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Full-frame / 35mm film
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Yes (A setting)
Automatic, 6 blades
9 elements, 7 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
Min. Focus
20 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

Full frame: 180 °
Hard case HD-100 (initially)
Soft case S70-70 (later)
Lens Cap
Dedicated metal push-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Built-in Filters,Rear Filter Mount,Fisheye
Diam x Length
65 x 56 mm
320 g
Production Years
1985 to 2004
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-A FISH-EYE 1:2.8 16mm
Product Code
21300, 21305
User reviews
Built-in filters: Skylight, yellow, orange.
Holder for rear-mounted gelatin filters.
No filter thread.
Manual FocusBuilt-in HoodAperture RingAutomatic ApertureFull-Frame SupportDiscontinued
Price History:

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Site Supporter

Registered: October, 2008
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 7,713

3 users found this helpful
Review Date: February 24, 2017 Recommended | Price: $470.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Fast, excellent optics, built-in filters and great handling & build.
Cons: Metal lens hood.
Camera Used: Pentax film bodies (K1000, KM, KX, K2, K2DMD, ME, MX, LX, Super A/Program, P50)   

The A16/2.8 fish-eye was released in 1985 and remained in production until 2004. It was a direct replacement for the K17/4 fish-eye. The A16/2.8 is the last fish-eye prime lens that Pentax has made.

Excellent optics and very good wide open. Of course there is distortion using the A16/2.8 on a FF camera, as this is not a rectilinear lens. I happen to like the fish-eye look sometimes and bought the A16/2.8 to use as a fish-eye lens only. I have no intentions of trying to use it as a wide-angle lens and defish my images, I have a K15/3.5 that is wide enough. I treat a fish-eye lens as a specialty tool, like a macro, shift or soft lens.

Focal Length:
On FF you get the whole 180 degree angle of view, which if youve never used a full frame fish-eye lens on a full frame camera is pretty impressive. Ive never used an APS-C camera, so I cant comment on what the FOV would be like using the A16/2.8. I would probably guess its a waste of money getting this fish-eye for a cropped sensor?

This is an elite A Series lens like the A*, so the build quality is excellent. The A16/2.8 is metal and built just like any K/M Series lens I own.

The A16/2.8 is a nicely sized well balanced lens that is easy to handle. Its not too small where you have to worry about getting your fingers in a shot, or too big to be a pain to carry in your camera bag as an extra lens for specialty shooting. I have no issues manually focusing the A16/2.8 or using the aperture ring. The A16/2.8 also has an excellent distance scale for hyper focal focus and size wise is a great lens to travel with. You don't need AF for a FF fish-eye in my books, as the DOF is so huge. Example if you shoot at f/11 and move the infinity mark to f/11 on the distance scale, the DOF is from about 0.45 meters/1.3 feet to infinity.

The A16/2.8 has a small metal built in hood and it does a decent job of reducing flare if you are shooting towards the sun, however since the FOV is so wide you will still get flare in some shots.

I also find when there is a lot of sky in your shot, I have to use some exposure compensation on my film cameras and add a stop. Otherwise the shot will be under exposed.

Filters are always an issue with fish-eye lenses, the A16/2.8 has the best possible solution and features three built-in ones. You have Y2 (Yellow), Skylight and O2 (Orange), as well as a rear mount gel filter holder. The A16/2.8 and the older K17/4 are the only K-Mount fish-eye lenses that I know of that have built-in filters. This is a huge plus for me being a film shooter and the most convenient, as you don't need to bother with gel filters or a dedicated filter set like with some older third-party fish-eyes.

The A16/2.8 uses the HD-100 hard or the S70-70 soft lens case. The metal slip on lens cap is a bit of a pain and easily falls off in your camera bag exposing the front element. My solution was to get a Schneider Optics (the makers of B+W filters) 65mm soft plastic push-on lens cap. It fits nice and tight, so I will use it in place of the metal cap when Im out shooting with the A16/2.8. Another negative about the metal cap is you can chip off paint on the built-in lens hood if you mount it crookedly. This was a dumb idea and a soft plastic push-on lens cap should have been standard.

F/2.8 is pretty fast for a fish-eye lens and a huge improvement over the older K17/4, which was rather slow and limited in low lighting.

The A16/2.8 vs my other similar FL fish-eye primes:
I also own the K17/4 and the A16/2.8 is one stop faster with similar optics and build. However the K17/4 is too small and Im frequently getting my fingers in shots, as well as its built-in lens hood is so tiny its basically useless. As a result I would give the edge to the A16/2.8. I rated the K17/4 a 9 and would give the A16/2.8 a perfect 10 as a fish-eye lens.

The A16/2.8 is about as good as it's going to get for a full frame K-Mount fish-eye prime lens. Its fast, has excellent optics & handling, has built-in filters, a solid metal build, an aperture ring with an A setting and best of all its a Pentax! Overall a perfect fish-eye lens!

I bought my A16/2.8 on eBay and it's in excellent condition. It has a few marks on the built-in hood from the metal cap, but otherwise its excellent +.

Sample shots taken with the A16/2.8. Photos are medium resolution scans from original negatives or slides. Shot one & two were taken in Vancouver, Canada and shot three taken in Queens, NY.

Camera: P50 Film: Kodak Portra 400 ISO: 400

Camera: *ist Film: Ilford Delta 400 ISO: 400

Camera: ME Film: Fuji Provia 100F ISO: 100
New Member

Registered: December, 2010
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 7

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: March 30, 2011 Recommended | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, nice fisheye effect, internal filters, fast: f/2.8!, relatively small size, fun-factor, flare well-controlled and can be used creatively
Cons: None
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10   

Purchased in 1990 for a little under $400.

I loved this lens (I sold it when I sold most of my film gear). Typical quality PENTAX build.

Mainly I loved this lens for its sharpness (which I haven't found in other fisheyes) and the fun-factor of the super-wide view and the fisheye effect. The fisheye isn't so dramatic that you can't use it for a "regular" super-wide angle in certain circumstances (avoiding horizon lines and other straight lines.)

Or even with building lines! Bend them to fit!:

I loved using it for in-the-environment self-portraits (surely my most common use of it.)

With the f/2.8 maximum aperture, it works for star-trails shots with Kodachrome 64 (yay!)

I really think this fisheye can't be beat, though I haven't tried the new 11-17mm zoom. (It's on my wish-list.)

Very fun lens.

Bought NEW
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2009
Location: Ha Noi
Posts: 70
Review Date: June 5, 2010 Recommended | Rating: N/A 


A test in VNphoto

QuoteOriginally posted by Rock_Opera Quote
MV1+ SMC PENTAX-A 16mm 2.8, kodak 200 film. Chuẩn bị mưa, nh sng khng

Hnh nguyn bản ko chỉnh sửa, chỉ Resize

Tn cổ giao duyn (rộng qu bị dnh ngn tay)


Registered: September, 2006
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Posts: 4,346
Review Date: January 11, 2009 Recommended | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Excellent optics, balances well on a K10D, build quality
Cons: None
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 8   

I have mainly used this lens on a dSLR for shooting indoors in available light when I needed a super wide angle. The fisheye effect isn't too pronounced on a DSLR and easily corrected in software. Build quality is excellent, and so is the optical quality.
New Member

Registered: December, 2008
Location: Scotland
Posts: 21

1 user found this helpful
Review Date: December 4, 2008 Recommended | Price: $300.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Sharp, excellent on a dSLR, outstanding on film camera.
Cons: Loose lens cap design

An excellent lens with great build quality. Definite fish-eye qualities on a film SLR, but a great wide angle on a dSLR. Fairly fast at 2.8 with great results at 5.6/8
Veteran Member

Registered: November, 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 593
Review Date: January 8, 2007 Recommended | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Superb build quality and very goood image quality
Cons: None realy
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9   

The build quality of this lens is excellent and image quality is very good.
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