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MIR MC 20mm F3.5 Review RSS Feed

MIR MC 20mm F3.5

Reviews Views Date of last review
7 68,347 Sun September 8, 2019
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $120.83 8.50
MIR MC 20mm F3.5

Russian made 20mm wide lens, f3.5, mc M42 mount.
Aperture values f3,5 to 16. Min focus distance 0,18 meters
Mount Type: M42 Screwmount
Price History:

Add Review of MIR MC 20mm F3.5
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-7 of 7
New Member

Registered: March, 2012
Location: Berlin
Posts: 9
Lens Review Date: September 8, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $200.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: character and feel lens. Close focus.
Cons: a bit mushy, protruding front element prohibits filters
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 5    Value: 8    Camera Used: Canon 5D m3   

I like this lens. Fun to use, gets great flares if you're into them. Has a very vintage, character feel. It often reminds me of 16mm films, just because of the low resolution and vintage rendering, low contrast etc. It focuses very close so you can get some dramatic shots and the bokeh is pretty cool, much in line with the early Flektogon design on which this is based.

My copy is definitely not sharp at any stop. the centre is okay, but it's mushy even by mid-frame and the corners are a mess. The bulbous front element rules out any filtration in front of the lens. In fact is has no filter threads. There are a few filters made for it that screw into the back of the lens but I don't have them. It's not the most elegant lens to handle, but I think it actually looks pretty cool.

It's a really cool lens if you like it for what it is.
New Member

Registered: May, 2016
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 10

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 12, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $70.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Excellent central sharpness, close focus, surprising bokeh for 3.5, wonderful color rendition
Cons: Soft corners, rigid handling, lower filter selection.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 5    Value: 10   

I have this lens in Nikon F-Mount (unfortunately), but it's still a wonderful lens for landscape and architecture. My copy costed only $70, due to an inoperable iris, which has been repaired.
The central sharpness is excellent, it's even very good wide open. The corners are soft and do not improve much as you stop down.
The main "Con" is how challenging it is to find filters for the lens, due to the 77mm filter thread and 96-degree angle of view.
Also, as others have stated; it does handle like a WW2 Tank.
If you overcome the limitations of this lens, you really can do a lot with it.

New Member

Registered: September, 2012
Location: Belo Horizonte
Posts: 17
Lens Review Date: March 17, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $175.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Closed focus, gerando uma composição muito linda
Cons: Perda de nitidez nas bordas muito acentuado
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 10    Camera Used: Canon 6d   

A very clear lens in the center lens with a unique personality.
leaving some current lenses p brings the central sharpness.

It has a lovely bokeh flare also

Here is an album where the vast majority of the photos were taken with her.
New Member

Registered: November, 2014
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: November 23, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $150.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: very sharp and close focus
Cons: flare is a big issue , wish it was f2.8
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Handling: 7    Value: 9   

I love the 20mm focal length , i think it is great for walk around street photos and really gives a bit more then the normal 24mm , the focus ring is a bit stiff on my copy and means that racking focus in video is not an option , as genral i think it is a very good value compared with the cost of the zeiss m42 lenses .
Junior Member

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 30

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 1, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $10.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Very good IQ; close focus, good bokeh
Cons: Soviet build quality, f/3.5 isn't all that fast, flare
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 5    Value: 10    Camera Used: Sony A7RII   

First off, my pristine 1983 Mir 20 is in Kiev-10/Kiev-15 mount, which explains the low price. I built my own adapter for it, which wasn't fun, but works.

Overall, IQ is excellent for an old ultra-wide. It definitely has some advantages over a modern kit zoom (especially wide open at close focus), which isn't true of many old wides. Bokeh are very decent for such a lens. The only optical complaint would be flare, which it easily shows all over the frame.

Mechanically, it's a different story. I don't know how they did it, but the focus ring on this lens moves about as smoothly as a WWII tank tread -- the friction varies wildly as you turn it, but nothing is really loose or tight. The manual focus ring on many modern autofocus lenses works smoother. Then there's the little annoyance that the aperture control on the Kiev 10/15 mount isn't externally accessible... which is ok, given that most motivation for using this over the kit lens will be with this lens wide open.

In summary, for $10 this is a great lens -- and it is probably quite impressive on a full-frame body. For $120 (in a friendly mount), I'd start to question if it is adding enough to justify the expense beyond a kit zoom for APS-C.

Update in 2022: I've got a lot more experience with old lenses, and I now believe the funky focus is due to bad lubrication rather than machining tolerance issues. However, using it on FF was not as impressive as I had hoped. There's a lot of curvature of field that causes off-axis sharpness to be poorer than it should be, and the extreme corners are both a bit blurry and quite dark, although the darkness is just in the last couple of percent of the corners wide open. There is also quite a bit of barrel distortion, but that's not surprising for an old ultrawide. Here are a couple of quick test shots; the first clearly show good sharpness at close focus, but lots of field curvature. The second shows off-axis issues with a flat subject.

Overall, I think it actually is a little better on APS-C than on FF, but 20mm is a much more compelling focal length for FF... in sum, I don't think it's a bad lens, but it doesn't optically outshine even cheap modern ultrawides.
Forum Member

Registered: October, 2010
Location: Klaipeda
Posts: 77
Lens Review Date: November 14, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: N/A 


This is Russian Zenitar lens.
Made by KMZ, Krasnogorsk, Russia.
Junior Member

Registered: June, 2010
Location: Franeker
Posts: 29

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 19, 2011 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $120.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Solid built, very good IQ, min focus distance only 0,18 meters
Cons: Heavy, not very elegant designed

Very good value, this lens! Makes very nice close-ups from spring flowers here in Holland! I like the Bokey as well; not too busy in my opinion. Because off the min. focus distance of only 0,18 meters, flowers are nicely rendered and the main subject in focus stands out nicely if using the lens wide open. Under normal circumstances this lens is not very much prone to ca. If taking pictures from flowers closeby, even when the sunlight is directed towards the camera, there is still not much ca. Everything goes well as long as the light hitting the camera is only reflected light from the subject, even reflected sunlight. However, when sunlight directly hits the camera, there's bleu and purple rays everywhere and a huge loss of contrast. Makes perfect sense, since the glass is sticking out and is very round and thus "catching" every ray of sunlight. Now the question remains how this lens would perform with a hood; it came without and I do not have a hood fitting this lens; it might perform much better in direct sunlight ofcourse with a hood attached. I plan to buy one in the future and try the lens again in direct sunlight with a hood attached. (by the way I do not know the size of the thread for the hood; it's not mentioned anywhere on the lens)
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