It's a Zeiss design from about 1966, extremely well corrected for distortion. Interestingly, the Mars Rover NavCams lenses are a Biogon/Hologon modification. The Hologon was based on the Biogon, designed in the early 50s and made many a trip to the moon on Hassleblad cameras. An advantage of this design vs. a Distagon lens which is a reverse telephoto that allows room for the mirror box on an SLR is it's simpler and better corrected for distortion. (Neither the the Biogon or Hologon designs will fit on an SLR.) The rear element of the Hologon is only a few millimeters from the film plane. The disadvantage in the one I have it requires a center graduated neutral density center filter due to light fall off on the corners. Oh yea, like all quality lenses, they're expensive. They're discontinued (I bought one used), but new they were about the price of a D200. If I can ever get a flight deck photo (X Air force, I still call them cockpits out of habit) I'll post it if I can get it approved.
I'm going to attempt a trip report and will show what it can do there (after scanning, etc).
AJ, very nice photo, thank you for the input, I feel confident that the 16mm will work now. Your lens shows very little barrel distotion. Sweet
[Edited 2006-06-30 10:24:15]