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Introduction

Voigtlander, a brand name owned by Cosina of Japan, is fairly well known among rangefinder aficionados. The company is one of the only three that currently still manufactures Leica M39 compatible lenses. Cosina made a splash in late 90s when it released a limited set of SL lenses for Nikon, Pentax and Olympus lenses. There was even one lens model manufactured for the Canon EF mount - the now famous Voigtlander APO Lanthar 125mm f/2.5 SL. The word 'splash' is relative here, since Voigtlander is not really a brand name known among most SLR users and so even during the heyday of the SL range, the lineup was not particularly popular, compared to the 3rd party mainstream manufacturers like Sigma, Tokina or Tamron at least. The original SL lineup was discontinued in 2005, but Cosina recently re-introduced its SLR lenses, with the Color Skopar ASPH 20mm f/3.5 SLII being the latest model. The lens retails for ~US$550 as of January 2010, although used copies can be found for ~US$450.

The optical construction of the lens consists of 9 elements in 6 groups, that includes a single aspherical element. The lens is tiny, particularly if you compare it to such ginormous lenses like Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 21mm f/2.8 or even Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L USM.  The lens measures 63x28.8mm (2.4x1.14in) and weighs only 205g (7.2oz). The barrel is all metal, the aperture ring is rubberized and the the aperture ring is knurled for more comfortable grip. The barrel extends a few millimeters when focusing towards closeup. The lens focuses down to 20cm (0.65ft) and has a 58mm screw-in type filter thread. The aperture ring stops down to f/22 in one full f-stop increments, however, you can lock the lens in f/22 position and use the camera's electronic aperture controls to set the desired aperture level.

 

 

The manufacturer's box includes Voigtlander Color Skopar ASPH 20mm f/3.5 SLII lens, front and rear lens caps, manual and registration cards. The lens is designed for traditional 35mm cameras, and so if used on APS-C type bodies with 1.5x crop factor, the field of view of the lens will resemble that of a 30mm prime on a full frame body.  Within the scope of this review, Voigtlander Color Skopar ASPH 20mm f/3.5 SLII was tested on full frame Nikon D3 and Nikon D3x. Additionally, the lens was also tested on APS-C type Canon 400D as well as full frame Canon 5D and Canon 5DMk2 using a 3rd party Nikon to EOS adapter with AF confirmation.

 

Summary
Lens Composition 9 elements in 6 groups
Angular Field 94 degrees
Minimum Focus 20cm/0.65ft
Focusing Action MF
stop Scale f/3.5-f/22, manual/electronic
Filter Size 58mm
Lens Hood LH-20 (optional)
Weight 205g/7.2oz
Dimensions 63x28.8mm/2.4x1.14"
Lens Case N/A