Lens review

Voigtlander Color Skopar 28 mm f/2.8 SL II

6 April 2013
Arkadiusz Olech

3. Build quality

There are not many 2.8/28 class lenses constructed nowadays – that’s why in the following chart we present also those instruments which production stopped not so long ago. The comparison is very interesting indeed. The Voigtlander, being a typical “pancake” lens, remains, of course, the smallest and physically the lightest of all (and to be precise you must add that it is true only for the Nikon mount version of the lens because that with the EF mount weighs 230 grams). Its optical construction, though, remains quite complex. Out of all instruments without optical stabilization only the Leica features one element more – both the Nikon and the Sony have less elements. The Voigtlander also is the best when it comes to the number of aperture blades and the minimum focusing distance. At the very start you can notice that it compares well with its rivals and has a lot of assets.

Voigtlander Color Skopar 28 mm f/2.8 SL II - Build quality

The Voigtlander Color Skopar 28 mm f/2.8 SL II is a classic lens made completely of metal –accordingly it starts with a solid-looking, metal mount which surrounds contacts. The contacts allow the lens to communicate with a body and let you control the aperture every 1/3 EV step. The Canon version of the lens doesn’t feature an aperture ring; the F mount version does have it so it can cooperate seamlessly with old, analogue Nikon reflex cameras.

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The rear element of the lens is 19 mm in diameter; it moves along the whole optical system because the lens focuses in a traditional way, shifting all elements at once so the focal length remains unchanged.

Voigtlander Color Skopar 28 mm f/2.8 SL II - Build quality

When it comes to the EF version the first part of the proper casing is an immobile ring, 9 mm wide, with metal ribs on both sides which ensure a firmer grip, and a depth of field scale. The scale includes marking for f/22, f/16, f/11, f/8.0, f/5.6 and f/4.0 apertures but only those for f/22, f/16 and f/8.0 are actually labelled. In the case of the Nikon mount version the first part is an aperture ring and the depth of field scale is situated on the second, narrow, small ring situated further on the casing. The markings are just for f/22 f/16 and f/8. The side of the lens opposite to the depth of field scale includes its serial number and the information that it was made in Japan.

The manual focus ring is the next part of the barrel – it is 13 mm wide and partially occupied by a distance scale expressed in feet and meters; the rest is covered by ribbing. The ring moves very smoothly and is very well damped. Its functioning is beyond reproach, allowing very precise settings, and its working range amounts to as much as 160 degrees.

The front element of the lens is 20 mm in diameter; it is surrounded by an inscription with the name and the parameters of the lens and a non-rotating filter thread, with a diameter of 52 mm. It is worth emphasizing that other Voigtlander pancakes (with focal lengths of 20 and 40 mm) feature the same filter thread diameter – if you decide to buy all of them you will be able to use the same filters and save some money.

Voigtlander Color Skopar 28 mm f/2.8 SL II - Build quality

The Voigtlander Color Skopar 28 mm f/2.8 SL II consists of 7 elements positioned in 6 groups. One element is aspherical. Inside the construction you can also find a circular aperture with nine diaphragm blades which can be closed down to f/22.

Buyers get only two caps, nothing else. Optionally you can buy two types of hood: the LH-28N, designed for full frame and the LH-40N for reflex cameras with an APS-C/DX sensor.

Voigtlander Color Skopar 28 mm f/2.8 SL II - Build quality