Reviews

Voigtlander 35mm F2.5 Color Skopar Leica M Mount

The Voigtlander 35mm Color Skopar is my first M Mount lens. Having picked up a Konica Hexar RF and not long after a Leica M8 i was looking for an affordable M Mount lens which i could use across both bodies, Film and Digital.

In researching the huge selection of M Mount lenses it was immediate obvious that i could not afford 99% of them. This in turn took me to research third party manufactures like Voigtlander, Zeiss and the Chinese lens manufactures of late in the likes of TTArtisan and 7Artisans.

The Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm F2.5 consistently reviewed well online and at the bargain price of being found in the low £300 range used it fitted the bill perfectly.

Once the lens arrived i was surprised how small this lens is, despite reading and watching reviews it was still surprising once it was in hand. Whilst small it does feel well built whilst also light it does have a reassuring weight in the hand.

In first impressions my only gripe was the aperture ring. Whilst it clicks well into its stops there is very little resistance, this i later found rarely caused an issue.

When i first picked up this lens i didn’t have the M8, this meant that i shot through a few rolls of film and had to wait a couple weeks in doing so to see the results. Luckily i was very pleased.

My first outing, other than a few home shots, was a meet up with Analogue Meet Ups at Battersea Power Station in London. Loaded with HP5 pushed in camera to 800 I’m really impressed with the sharpness of this lens.

Battersea Park – Ilford HP5 (Shot at 800, developed as 400)
Battersea Park – Ilford HP5 (Shot at 800, developed as 400)
Test Shot – Ilford HP5 (Shot at 800, developed as 400)

Even shot wide open the centre sharpness is great and the out of focus Bokeh is quite pleasing and to me similar to a vintage lens.

Portrait at F2.5 – Ilford HP5 (Shot at 800, developed as 400)

My Leica M8 arrived whilst i was getting used to the Voigtlander Lens and slapped on the M8 the results are of course very similar. With the M8’s 1.33 crop factor i didn’t notice any breakup of sharpness in the centre, in fact an improvement of sharpness. This of course is not surprising as I’m comparing a digital sensor to the grain of shooting HP5 pushed 1 stop.

The two examples below were short wide open at F2.5.

Portrait at F2.5 – Leica M8
Proof that i took the bike out – Leica M8

Whilst the widest aperture of F2.5 is enough for subject isolation it’s not quite enough to serve as a suitable lens once the sun has set, not least without a camera with a high ISO that you can rely on.

F2.5 – Leica M8
F2.5 – Leica M8

If you’re familiar with the Leica M8 you’ll know that this is not one of those cameras, with the ISO only being usable until around 640 before the colour noise (which is nicer than most) takes over the image.

The below shot is wide open at F2.5 and ISO640 on the M8. Handheld and missed focus, my problem not the lens.

F2.5 / 1/30 / ISO640 – Leica M8

Negatives? Not much really. As i previously mentioned the aperture ring has very little resistance. This hasn’t really bothered me in use but a couple of occasions in pulling the camera (with lens on!) out of my bag the aperture was not where i left it – i minor problem to be honest.

The size of the lens being small, a pancake lens, doesn’t fit perfectly for me. Again this is my problem with large hands rather than a problem with the lens.

Otherwise i really enjoy using this lens. I think its a great bang for back lens for first time M Mount owners and quite possibly a good keeper to have as you might expand your lens collection, with it being so small it’s great for an everyday lens.

I’ll leave you with a few more examples using the Voigtlander Color Skopar 35mm / F2.5

Cannot remember aperture – Ilford HP5 (Shot at 800, developed as 400)
Jeff – Leica M8
Agatha – Leica M8

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