The 3rd generation MD 16mm f/2.8. Note the built in hood (a feature of all of the 16mm f/2.8 lenses) and the special cap which fits onto this hood and protects the exposed front element.
A late MD series lens, this is one lens that I truly coveted since first getting my X-700 in 1985. I clearly remember looking at the photo taken with it in the Guide to The Minolta SLR System, and longing to be able to take photos like it. The 16mm is a non-corrected lens, resulting in the lens exhibiting severe barrel distortion, which gives photos taken with it that “Fisheye” look. Lines that are through the middle of the lens remain undistorted, but as these lines get closer to the edge the distortion becomes extreme.
In this image the composition has been chosen to show the entirety of a church interior, exploiting the immense wide angle that the lens enjoys.
The late MD Fisheye was a new design implemented very late in the MD 2nd generation, with 10 elements in 7 groups, compared to the previous design which had 11 elements in 8 groups. There has been significant discussion in the various Minolta groups as to which design was preferable, and it is generally accepted that while both are incredible lenses, the 11 element version is slightly better. Personally, I wonder how this could be the case, as I find this lens to be incredibly sharp from corner to corner. The 10 element version incorporates 4 built in filters being Red (R60), Yellow (Y52), Blue (B12) and UV (Normal), while the earlier version includes an orange filter as opposed to the red filter.

As a professional quality lens, and very expensive new, the build quality of this lens is higher than that of many of the other 3rd generation MD lenses. For example, the lens retains a painted metal aperture ring instead of the plastic ring found in most MD lenses.

The 180 degree coverage at the corners makes possible striking architectural photographs with a field of view that is incredible.

Ceiling of the Lobby at the National Gallery of Victoria, 2003


I find the fisheye to be a wonderful lens to use, and it always comes with me in my camera bag. The capacity to create new and exciting compositions through the use of the unique perspective of the lens and the extreme wide angle (180 degrees diagonally) is a constant source of inspiration for me. If you are interested in wide angle photography I strongly recommend purchasing this lens - you will not regret it.