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Nikon 16mm f/3.5
Fisheye-NIKKOR (1973-1979)
© 2013 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

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Nikon 16mm f/3.5 Fisheye

Nikon 16mm f/3.5 AI-s (FX, DX and 35mm coverage, rear bayonet filters, 11.6 oz./330g, 1'/0.3m close focus, about $400 used). enlartge. This free website's biggest source of support is when you use any of these links, especially this direct link to this lens at eBay (see How to Win at eBay) when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thanks! Ken.

August 2013      Nikon Reviews   Nikon Lenses   All Reviews

Newer Model: 16mm f/2.8 AI-s (1979-1998)

Newest Model: 16mm f/2.8 AF-D (1993-)

 

Great for

Nikon's sharpest fisheye ever by a small margin.

For use only on full-frame and 35mm cameras.

 

Not for

Don't use this on a DX camera. Use the 10.5mm DX Fisheye instead. On DX, this 16mm lens isn't really much of a fisheye.

 

 

 

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READ NO FURTHER

 

 

 

 

 

Optics:
Ergonomics: (manual focus)
Usefulness:
Availability:
Overall:

 

Introduction       top

Intro    Specifications    Performance   Compared   Recommendations

Compatibility    History    Production    Pricing

Adorama pays top dollar for your used gear.

B&H Photo - Video - Pro Audio

I use these stores. I can't vouch for ads below.

The Nikon 16mm f/3.5 AI-s works

 

Compatibility       intro     top

This manual-focus Nikon 16mm f/3.5 AI-s works great with most Nikon cameras, 35mm and digital.

It works flawlessly with every manual focus Nikon ever made, from the original Nikon F of 1959 through the FM3a and today's FM-10.

On the D4, D800, D800E, D600, D3X, D3s, D3, D7100, D7000, D700, D300, D200, D2 and F6, use the "Non-CPU Lens Data" menu option to set 16mm and f/3.5 to get full color matrix metering, EXIF data and finder read-out of set aperture. It works great in aperture-preferred as well as manual modes on these cameras.

It works perfectly on every professional 35mm camera (F, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6), and adds Matrix metering on the FA, F4 and F6.

The meters of cheaper digital (D90, D5100 and below) and cheaper film cameras (N80 and below) will not couple (or work at all) with this lens, so you'll be on your own guessing exposure using the rear LCD or an external meter, or get a tiny Gossen Digisix meter and hotshoe adapter, or the free Pocket Light Meter app to meter manually.

See Nikon Lens Compatibility for details on your camera. Read down the "AI, AI-s" column for this lens.

 

History        intro       top

F-mount

AI

AI-s.

Series E

Close Range Correction (CRC) system

 

1974-1977

Nikon

 

1981 September

Nikon f

 

Production        intro       top

Nikon made about ------- of these 16mm f/3.5 lenses.

 

Pricing        intro       top

 
Price,
new*
Price in that era's dollars
1966
   
1977
   
1982
   
1983
   
1986
   
1987
   
1988
   
1991
   
1992
   
1994
   
1995
   
1996
   
1997
   
1998
   
1999
   
2000
   
2005
   
2012
 
used

* Corrected for inflation, 2012, and at full NYC discount. Very few people bought their lenses this inexpensively back then.

** USA/gray.

 

 

Nikon 16mm f/3.5

Nikon 16mm f/3.5 AI-s. enlarge.

 

Specifications         top

Intro    Specifications    Performance   Compared   Recommendations

Name

Nikon calls this the

 

Optics            top

Nikon 16mm f/3.5

Nikon 16mm f/3.5 AI-s. enlarge.

---- elements in --------- groups.

Nikon calls the floating element system "CRC," for close-range correction. This means this lens optimizes its design for perfect performance as you focus at any distance.

It's multicoated, which Nikon calls Nikon Super Integrated Coating.

 

Diaphragm            top

Nikon 16mm f/3.5

Nikon 16mm f/3.5 AI-s at f/5.6. enlarge.

------ straight blades.

Stops down to f/----.

 

Aperture Ring            top

Yes No.

Plastic Metal.

Full-stop clicks.

 

Close Focus            top

------ feet.

---------- meters.

 

Working Distance            top

----" (----mm).

 

Maximum Reproduction Ratio            top

1:-------.

 

Angle of View        top

XXX° -XX° diagonal on FX and 35mm.

XX° - XX ° diagonal on small-format DX.

 

Focal Length        top

16mm.

On a small-format DX camera, this lens makes pictures that see an angle-of-view similar to what an ---mm lens would see on a full-frame camera.

 

Hard Infinity Focus Stop?            top

No Yes.

This is great for astronomy; just turn to the stop and you have fixed laboratory-perfect focus all night.

 

Focus Scale            top

No Yes.

 

Depth-of-Field Scale            top

No.

Yes, colored lines corresponding to the colored f/stops on the aperture ring.

 

Infra-Red Focus Index            top

No Yes: red dot near depth-of-field scale.

 

Filter Thread            top

------mm, plastic metal.

Does not rotate. Rotates with ----- but not with -------.

 

Tripod Collar            top

Yes No.

Removable Does not come off.

 

Size            top

Nikon specifies ------mm extension from flange (---mm overall) by ----mm diameter.

 

Weight            top

------- oz. (-----------g).

Lens alone: -------------- oz. (-----------g).

With contemporary caps (no hood): ------------ oz. (------------g).

With hood (no caps): ----------- oz. (--------------g).

With contemporary caps and hood: -------------- oz. (-----------g).

Hood alone (with painted markings): --------------- oz. (--------------g).

Nikon specifies ----- oz. (-----------g).

 

Hood            top

Nikon 16mm f/3.5

Nikon 16mm f/3.5 AI-s. enlarge.

HN- ---------------- metal screw-in, not included.

 

Case            top

CL- -----------, included optional, or pouch No. ---------.

 

Made in            top

Japan.

Quality         top

Lens: Made in People's Republic of China.

LR-4 rear cap: Made in Thailand.

LC-58 front cap: Made in Thailand.

 

Teleconverters            top

TC-200/201 and TC-14A.

Nikon warns of potential "uneven exposure" at high shutter speeds or apertures smaller than f/11, but after reading these warnings for over 25 years I still have no idea what they're talking about.

 

Packaging            top

Gold-foil box,

 

Introduced            top

 

Available            top

The ---- was very hard to get until ---.

 

Nikon Product Number            top

----.

 

Price            top

$ , USA.

 

 

Performance       top

Intro    Specifications    Performance   Compared   Recommendations

Overall   Focus    Bokeh    Color    Coma    Distortion   Ergonomics   Falloff    Filters   Focus Breathing  Ghosts

Hood    Color Fringes   Macro     Mechanics    Sharpness    Spherochromatism    Sunstars    Tripod Collar    Zooming

 

Overall      performance     top

The 16mm f/3.5 AI-s is

 

Focus      performance     top

Manual focus is ----------------.

Focus is as smooth as silk, perfectly damped with no play.

Manual focus is flawless, both with a real camera like the Nikon F3, or with the three-way ( " > o < " ) manual focus indicators on newer cameras like the D4, D600, D800, D800E, D3X, D3s, D3, D700, F4, F5, F6 and most professional AF cameras.

Lesser digital cameras, like the D300s and down, usually have just one "OK" focus dot, which is not as precise as two arrows and a dot.

 

Bokeh      performance     top

Bokeh, the character of out-of-focus backgrounds, not simply how far out of focus they are, is

Here are crops from the center of 100% FX 12MP (D3 or D700) images, focused on a reference phase lattice at 3 meters (10 feet) with synthetic reference vegetation at 15 meters (50 feet). Printed full-image at this size, these would be about 42 x 28" (105 x 70cm) prints, at least as seen on most 100 DPI computer monitors:

 

Color Rendition      performance     top

The color rendition of this Nikon 16mm f/3.5

 

Coma      performance     top

Coma is weird smeared blobs that appear around bright points of light in the corners. They happen with fast and wide lenses at large apertures. Coma goes away as stopped down, and tends not to be seen in slower and tele lenses. Coma is an artifact of spherical aberration.

saggital coma flare

 

Distortion      performance     top

at 1M: Hemi is OK on D3. Best if first reduce at 97% first.

The Nikon 16mm f/3.5 has -- distortion.

It can be corrected by plugging these figures into Photoshop's lens distortion filter. These aren't facts or specifications, they are the results of my research that requires hours of photography and calculations on the resulting data.

 
FX and Film
   
30' (10m)
   
10' (3m)
   
3' (1m)
   
1' (0.3m)
   

© 2012 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

FX and Film
at ∞

FX and Film
28mm
       
35mm
       
50mm
       
85mm
       

© 2012 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

Ergonomics      performance     top

Nikon 16mm f/3.5

Nikon 16mm f/3.5 AI-s. enlarge.

The Nikon 16mm f/3.5's ergonomics are

Aperture setting is as expected, just turn the ring. Real shooters can set it with their eyes closed; we count clicks.

 

Falloff (darkened corners)          performance     top

Falloff on FX is ------

It won't be an issue at all on DX (see crop factor).

I've exaggerated this by shooting a gray field and placing these on a gray background.

 

Nikon 16mm f/3.5 AI-s falloff on FX and film at infinity, no correction.

f/1.4
f/2
   
   
f/2.8
f/4

© 2012 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

Filters, Use with      performance     top

There is no problem with vignetting, even with combinations of thick filters.

 

Flare and Ghosts      performance     top

 

Focus Breathing       performance     top

Of interest mostly to cinematographers focusing back and forth between two subjects, the image from the Nikon 16mm f/3.5 AF-S gets ---- as focused more closely.

 

Hood      performance     top

Nikon 16mm f/3.5

Nikon 16mm f/3.5 AI-s. enlarge.

The hood is ------ included.

 

Lateral Color Fringes      performance     top

There are ------------ lateral color fringes on the D300 or D3, which would correct them if the lens had any.

 

Macro      performance     top

 

At closest focus distance on FX or 35mm. (Shot on DX, the crop factor will make it seem 50% bigger).

Mechanics      performance     top

Nikon 16mm f/3.5

Nikon 16mm f/3.5 AI-s. enlarge.

Like all Nikkor manual focus AI-s lenses, the Nikon NIKKOR 16mm f/3.5 AI-s is built to the highest mechanical standards of any lens ever made.

 

Barrel Exterior

Anodized and enameled aluminum.

 

Filter Threads

Anodized aluminum.

 

Hood

Threaded anodized aluminum, extra-thick.

 

Focus Ring

Metal, rubber covered.

 

Focus Helicoids

Feels like brass: smooth and silky with no play or need for damping grease.

 

Depth-of-Field Scale

Engraved into barrel and filled with different colors of paint.

 

Internals

All metal.

 

Aperture Ring

Cast aluminum, anodized and enameled.

Engraved markings filled with different colors of paint coded to the depth-of-field scale.

 

Automatic Aperture-Coupling Prong

Solid chromed, machined brass.

Stamped stainless steel.

 

Mount

Dull-chromed brass.

 

Markings

Engraved into the metal and filled with paint.

 

Identity and Serial Number

On the front of the lens, inside the filter ring, engraved into the metal and filled with paint.

 

Moisture Seal at Mount

No.

 

Noises When Shaken

Mild clicking from the diaphragm blades and actuation system.

 

Made in

Japan.

 

Sharpness      performance     top

Warning 1: Image sharpness depends more on you than your lens.

Warning 2: Lens sharpness doesn't mean much to good photographers.

With those caveats, the 16mm f/3.5 AI-s is

At f/1.4

The 16mm f/3.5 AI-s is

 

At f/2

Contrast is

 

At f/2.8

The

 

At f/4

The

 

At f/5.6

The

 

At f/8

The

 

At f/11

The

 

At f/16 and smaller

Diffraction limits performance more than the optics themselves.

 

At f/22

Diffraction limits performance.

 

At f/32

Diffraction limits performance.

 

Spherochromatism      performance     top

The Nikon 16mm f/3.5 has some spherochromatism, meaning that out-of-focus highlights can sometimes take on a little bit of green or magenta color fringes.

 

Sunstars      performance     top

With its straight ------- -bladed diaphragm, the 16mm f/3.5 makes magnificent great Nikon-standard ------ -pointed sunstars on bright points of light.

 

Tripod Collar      performance     top

 

Zooming      performance     top

 

Compared        top

Intro    Specifications    Performance   Compared   Recommendations

Nikon 16mm f/3.5

Nikon 16mm f/3.5 AI-s. enlarge.

I compared it directly to the

 

Recommendations       top

Intro    Specifications    Performance   Compared   Recommendations

The Nikon 16mm f/3.5 AI-s is a manual-focus only lens.

 

Deployment      top

 

52mm

I'd pitch the flat Nikon cap that came with this lens new, and get a new "pinch" type cap. I'm not kidding: the new fatter caps are much easier to use in the field.

I'd leave either a 52mm Nikon Clear (NC - UV) filter, or a 52mm Hoya Super HMC UV on the lens at all times. I would leave the hood at home.

If I was working in nasty, dirty areas, I'd forget the cap, and use an uncoated 52mm Tiffen UV filter instead. Uncoated filters are much easier to clean, but more prone to ghosting.

For color slides like Velvia 50, I use an old Nikon A2 or new 52mm Hoya HMC 81A outdoors.

For B&W film outdoors, I'd use an old Nikon Y48 or O56, or a new 52mm Hoya HMC K2 Yellow or 52mm Hoya HMC Orange.

 

62mm

I'd pitch the flat Nikon cap that came with this lens new, and get a new "pinch" type cap. I'm not kidding: the new fatter caps are much easier to use in the field.

I'd leave either a 62mm Nikon Clear (NC - UV) filter, or a 62mm Hoya Super HMC UV on the lens at all times.

If I was working in nasty, dirty areas, I'd forget the cap, and use an uncoated 62mm Tiffen UV filter instead. Uncoated filters are much easier to clean, but more prone to ghosting.

For color slides like Velvia 50, I use a 62mm Nikon A2 or a 62mm Hoya HMC 81A outdoors.

For B&W film outdoors, I'd use a 62mm Nikon Y48 or 62mm Hoya HMC K2 Yellow, or 62mm Nikon O56 or 62mm Hoya HMC Orange.

For integration within a larger professional Nikon system, you may want to use a 62mm -> 77mm adapter ring, and treat this as 77mm lens for the sake of your own sanity. If you do, than I'd forget 62mm filters and caps, and then:

Get a new 77mm Nikon front cap.

I'd leave either a 77mm Nikon Clear (NC - UV) filter, or a 77mm Hoya Super HMC UV on the lens at all times.

If I was working in nasty, dirty areas, I'd forget the cap, and use an uncoated 77mm Tiffen UV filter instead. Uncoated filters are much easier to clean, but more prone to ghosting.

For color slides like Velvia 50, I use a 77mm Hoya HMC 81A or Nikon A2 filter outdoors.

For B&W film outdoors, I'd use a 77mm Hoya HMC Yellow K2 or 77mm Hoya HMC Orange.

 

 

67mm

I'd leave either a 67mm Nikon Clear (NC - UV) filter, or a 67mm Hoya Super HMC UV on the lens at all times. I would leave the hood at home.

If I was working in nasty, dirty areas, I'd forget the cap, and use an uncoated 67mm Tiffen UV filter instead. Uncoated filters are much easier to clean, but more prone to ghosting.

For color slides like Velvia 50, I use a 67mm Hoya HMC 81A outdoors.

For B&W film outdoors, I'd use a 67mm Hoya HMC K2 Yellow or 67mm Hoya HMC Orange.

The smartest thing to do is to get a 67mm -> 77mm step-up ring, and treat this lens as a 77mm-threaded lens from now to eternity. This will save you a lot of aggravation, unless you really do build a system around 67mm filters.

72mm Filters

Get a new pinch-type 72mm Nikon front cap. THe flatter originals never were as handy.

I'd leave either a 72mm Nikon Clear (NC - UV) filter, or a 72mm Hoya Super HMC UV on the lens at all times.

If I was working in nasty, dirty areas, I'd forget the cap, and use an uncoated 72mm Tiffen UV filter instead. Uncoated filters are much easier to clean, but more prone to ghosting.

For color slides like Velvia 50, I use a 72mm Nikon A2 filter outdoors.

For B&W film outdoors, I'd use a 72mm Hoya HMC Yellow K2 or 72mm Hoya HMC Orange.

 

 

77mm Filters

If you step-up to 77mm filters as I suggest, be sure to get a new 77mm Nikon front cap, and then use:

I'd leave either a 77mm Nikon Clear (NC - UV) filter, or a 77mm Hoya Super HMC UV on the lens at all times. I would leave the hood at home.

If I was working in nasty, dirty areas, I'd forget the cap, and use an uncoated 77mm Tiffen UV filter instead. Uncoated filters are much easier to clean, but more prone to ghosting.

For color slides like Velvia 50, I use a 77mm Hoya HMC 81A or Nikon A2 filter outdoors.

For B&W film outdoors, I'd use a 77mm Hoya HMC Yellow K2 or 77mm Hoya HMC Orange.

72/77mm

I'd leave either a 72mm Nikon Clear (NC - UV) filter, or a 72mm Hoya Super HMC UV on the lens at all times. I would leave the hood at home.

If I was going to use this as part of a larger pro system, I'd attach a 72->77mm step-up-ring to convert this to today's pro standard of 77mm, and use a 77mm Nikon UV or Hoya UV filter for protection. This is what I really do; I just put on a step-up ring when I get a lens like this and treat it as if it's a 77mm filter thread len as long as I have it.

I'd leave either a 77mm Nikon Clear (NC - UV) filter, or a 77mm Hoya Super HMC UV on the lens at all times. I would leave the hood at home.

If I was working in nasty, dirty areas, I'd forget the cap, and use an uncoated 77mm Tiffen UV filter instead. Uncoated filters are much easier to clean, but more prone to ghosting.

I'd pitch the flat Nikon cap that came with this lens new, and get a new "pinch" type cap in 72mm (or 77mm), too. I'm not kidding: the new fatter caps are much easier to use in the field.

If I was working in nasty, dirty areas, I'd forget the cap, and use an uncoated 72mm Tiffen UV filter instead (or in 77mm). Uncoated filters are much easier to clean, but more prone to ghosting.

For color slides like Velvia 50, I use a 77mm Nikon A2 or 77mm Hoya HMC 81A outdoors.

For B&W film outdoors, I'd use a 77mm Nikon Y48 or O56 filter, or 77mm Hoya HMC K2 Yellow or 77mm Hoya HMC Orange.

 

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Dec 2007