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Lens review

Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical

24 November 2010
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

Pros:
  • small barrel but very well-put-together and solid at the same time,
  • very good build quality,
  • very good image quality in the frame centre,
  • well-corrected chromatic aberration,
  • slight distortion,
  • low vignetting on APS-C/DX sensor,
  • good work against bright light.

Cons:

  • very weak, momentarily simply dismal image quality on the edge of the frame,
  • very high astigmatism,
  • huge coma,
  • significant vignetting on full frame.

Looking at the resolution results, the pros and cons list and the price of the tested lens we could have criticized it easily. It would mean taking shortcuts, though. Before we start to criticize we have to say that every potential buyer must answer a question how much he/she is prepared to sacrifice for small dimensions. The interpretation of the results will depend on that answer. Every person interested in optics is aware that producing a small, ultra-wide angle lens which also provides good quality images in full frame corners is simply impossible. The fact that other full frame 20 mm devices feature significantly more optical elements, are bigger and heavier than the Voigtlander, and simply stuffed full of low-dispersion glass or aspherical elements is not a coincidence.

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We can recommend this lens with clear conscience to many users of Canon and Nikon reflex cameras equipped with smaller sensors. The Pentax users don’t need the Voigtlander at all as they have in their arsenal such a lens as smc DA 21 mm f/3.2 AL Limited. Most probably it is the reason why the Color Skopar hasn’t been offered on K mount any more for some time now.

The small and handy Voigtlander „pancake” might make a well-coordinated tandem with small, handy APS-C/DX reflex cameras. We should add that a small matrix allows us to avoid the most serious flaws of the tested lens.

If we pass to full frame, though, we will encounter a lot of grave issues. Digital full frame reflex cameras are not so small and attaching such a tiny lens to them simply doesn’t seem justified. On the other hand 2.8/20 models, produced by Canon and by Nikon, are very old and they didn’t impress us with their test results. Both feature f/2.8 aperture, though, and have fully useful MTF50 values in the frame centre. In this situation you would be rather hard- pressed to find arguments for buying the Voigtalnder unless you are a fan of small, manual, well-put-together devices.


Sample shots

Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical - Summary
Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical - Summary
Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 20 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/1250 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 9.72 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 20 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/3200 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.12 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 20 mm, f/3.5, exp. 1/4000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.8 MB
Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical - Summary
Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical - Summary
Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 20 mm, f/4.0, exp. 1/1600 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.21 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 20 mm, f/4.5, exp. 1/2500 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.46 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 20 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/800 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.56 MB
Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical - Summary
Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical - Summary
Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 20 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/1600 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 8.26 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 20 mm, f/5.0, exp. 1/1600 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.76 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 20 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 8.73 MB
Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical - Summary
Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical - Summary
Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 20 mm, f/5.6, exp. 1/1600 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 7.55 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 20 mm, f/6.3, exp. 1/400 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 11.21 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 20 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 8.92 MB
Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical - Summary
Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical - Summary
Voigtlander Color Skopar 20 mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical - Summary
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 20 mm, f/7.1, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 9.34 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 20 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/1000 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 8.27 MB
Camera: Nikon D3x
Parameters: 20 mm, f/8.0, exp. 1/500 s, ISO 100
File: JPEG, 6048×4032 pix, 8.02 MB



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