It’s already been a year and I half since I burned all the bridges and refused to own any digital camera – I now shoot exclusively on film cameras or an iPhone. I rarely miss “proper” digital cameras – there are situations when life would be easier if I had one, but on the other hand everything is more simple with less choices. What I do miss is one focal length that I occasionally used on my digital Sony, a 21mm. So, after some reserch, I got one for my stable of Pentax film cameras: the Voigtlander Color-Skopar 20mm f/3.5 SL Asperical.
Voigtlander did a great job building this lens. It was available for a few brands of cameras, and as far as I see they have some sort of modern version of it for Sony E mount now. I’m not totally sure if the internal design is the same for E mount lens, but it has the same compact design, same field of wiew and same maximum aperture.
My version is made for Pentax K mount. The lens is modern both in its build and high image quality. I’m very happy with sharpness and I love the punchy colors and contrast in pictures. It does have one image quality flaw, and thats a bit of vignetting. This doesn’t bother me though as I quite like it, in fact in some cases I even add some vignetting in post process. In terms of light gathering, the lens is quite slow with its maximum aperture of only f/3.5. This brings two drawbags: first, subject separation by shallow depth of field possibilities are limited; second, it gathers less light, so I prepare to have steady hand in poor light conditions.
The Voigtlander Color-Skopar 20mm f/3.5 SL Asperical has electronic contacts and “communicates” with the camera body meaning that all shooting modes can be used. I noticed one strange thing though, it doesn’t show the f/stop in camera finder in the wat Pentax lenses do. But, as far as I see the camera metering reacts, it “knows” what f/stop is set on the lens. Maybe its only my copy of lens, I don’t know, but anyway, I don’t care. It’s also worth a mention that there is lockable “A” position on aperture ring.
My favorite features of the lens, or at least the main factors that played a role in the decision to get the Voigtlander Color-Skopar 20mm were its compactness and relatively short minimal focusing distance. The lens diameter is 63mm, length 28.8mm, with a weight of 205 grams. Taking into account that famous the Pentax 43mm f/1.9 Limited “pancake” lens has a diameter of 64mm and a width of 27mm, so it’s very close in size! As such, the Voigtlander is wide focal length “pancake” style lens that you can take anywhere without thinking about space and weight. As for the minimum focusing distance, it’s 20cm! I like to shoot small details and with such close focus it’s still possible to get at least some subject separation.
So far I’m very happy with Voigtlander Color-Skopar 20mm and I’m happy that I’ve regained the possibility to shoot really wide on film.
Thanks for reading!
More shots with this lens could be found here: www.beautifulgrain.com
I tried to sneak in 6 frames, did I succeed? 😉
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