Voigtlander Color Skopar 20mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical (Canon EOS) - Lab Test / Review
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published April 2010

Lens kindly provided for testing purposes by Markus Stamm!


The Voigtlander (or to be precise: Voigtländer) Color Skopar 20mm f/3.5 SL II Aspherical is a interesting representative of its species: it is a ultra-wide angle pancake lens. The Skopar has one as a length of merely 28.8mm and a weight of 205g - a nothingness compared to e.g. the Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM (70.6mm, 405g) or a zoom lens a la Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 USM L (96.8mm, 500g).

The Color Skopar is an ultra wide-angle lens available in Nikon-, Pentax- and Canon EF-mount. Typical for all SL II-series lenses the 20mm f/3.5 is a manual focus lens. The focus indicator in the viewfinder remains active so there's some sort of electronic focus guidance here at least. The Canon version uses an electronically controlled aperture so it can be operated via the camera (the Nikon/Pentax variants feature a classic aperture ring).

Unfortunately we weren't able to get our hands on the Canon EOS version so we had to use the Nikon variant via adapter. However, there aren't any differences apart from the mount specific aspects so our conclusions regarding the optical performance will be fully valid for the EOS version as well.

The build quality of the tiny Voigtlander lens is excellent thanks to tightly assembled metal parts. The small, fluted focus ring operates very smooth and slightly damped. The lens features a rear-focus design (IF - inner focusing) so the front element does not rotate during focusing. However, the physical length changes (extends) a little bit when focusing towards close distances. The lens hood (LH-20) is an optional item - its effectiveness may be debatable due to the very small depth though.

The Voigtlander brand name dates back to the very beginnings of the optical industry (1756). Founded in Austria the headquarter moved on to Germany in the mid 19th century. The fairly glorious history of the company ended 1971 when the last factory was closed. Normally this would have been the end of the story but the brand name was eventually sold to Cosina (Japan) which started a "classic collection" of lenses under the old brand name albeit based on new designs.

Optical construction9 elements in 6 groups inc. 1x aspherical element
Number of aperture blades9
min. focus distance0.2 m (max. magnification ratio 1:9)
Dimensions63 x 28.8 mm
Weight205 g
Filter size52 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodoptional, barrel, screw-on
Other features-

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