Voigtlander 28mm 2.8 Color Skopar Review | New Leica EDC Lens
Great news! 3 versions of the new Voigtlander 28mm 2.8 Color Skopar lens just landed! I’m excited bring you a detailed comparison review of the Typ I and Typ II lenses for Leica after receiving them to test pre-launch. Each lens has pros and cons so let’s jump into the details. (YouTube video review linked below. *Blog contains additional 28mm lens test results. 28mm Voigtlander Skopar vs. Leica Elmarit 28mm, Zeiss Biogon, Canon, TTArtisan and others).
New 28mm Voigtlander Skopar lens for Leica (x3)
There are 3 new 28mm Voigtlander Skopar lenses and 6 variants in total –
- Typ I (VM) (Leica M mount) – Available in silver or black
- Typ I (L) (Leica screw mount or L39/ LTM) – Available in silver or black
- Typ II (VM) (Leica M mount) – Available in silver or black
I’ll explain the benefits and features of each lens below.
Good times ahead. Another new LTM lens arrives!
I’m so impressed with the guys at Voigtlander. As with the release of their Voigtlander Heliar 40mm f2.8 lens, they have made the Typ I lens available in both screw mount and M mount. This is huge! This adds to the growing list of new screw mount lenses released in the last 12 months. TTArtisan re-released their 28mm lens in LTM mount (see below). Light Lens Lab offer multiple lenses in screw mount including their LLL 35mm f2.8 8-Element lens that I use.
You no longer need an expensive Leica M6 to use modern Voigtlander lenses! (*Well any Leica M film camera).
Many people can’t afford Leica M camera prices but I would argue most photographers can find an affordable screw mount camera on eBay. I’m talking film photography here. What cameras can now benefit from this new Voigtlander Color Skopar 28mm f2.8 Typ I lens?
Screw mount film cameras for the new Typ I (L) lens
The list of L39 screw mount cameras that were made over the years is near endless but some of my favourites include Leica Barnack cameras or Leica iii cameras. You can also use vintage Canon rangefinder cameras such as the Canon Model 7 or my Canon L3. Soviet cameras should work fine too despite the different flange distance with it being a 28mm lens. This includes Zorki cameras like my Zorki IC, FED cameras etc.
Modern screw mount cameras
You are not limited to super vintage film cameras. If you want a screw mount camera with a build in lightmeter consider the more modern Voigtlander Bessa L or Voigtlander Bessa R. The Bessa L is the cheapest Bessa camera but you’d need to zone focus the lens as it has no rangefinder (or viewfinder). The Bessa R camera with it’s 35mm viewfinder should allow you to approximate your 28mm composition by just using the entire viewfinder area. That will be my approach.
Voigtlander 28mm viewfinder
One drawback to mounting the new Voigtlander Skopar 28mm 2.8 lens on an old screw mount camera is most vintage cameras have a fixed 50mm viewfinder. This means you’ll need to purchase an additional 28mm viewfinder to sit on the cold shoe. Voigtlander make perhaps the best viewfinders from my experience (or Leica). I use both. They are expensive and also pretty heavy for their size. I say that as I love small light cameras but basically they are very solid and well made. If you own the Voigtlander Bessa L camera you likely received the camera with one of these high quality Voigtlander viewfinders.
If you want a cheaper plastic viewfinder I use the budget KEKS 28mm finder to approximate my 28mm composition. Very small and light and it does the job if a want the smallest lightest possible setup.
28mm lenses for Leica comparison test
I was interested to see how the new Voigtlander 28mm Skopar compared to my other favourite 28mm lenses for Leica. See the YouTube video below where I test the lens against the TTArtisan 28mm f5.8, Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 and Voigtlander Ultron 28mm f2. The 28mm Skopar will be sharper and more contrast than many vintage 28mm lenses and my 25mm Skopar.
25mm Snapshot Skopar vs 28mm Skopar
For any of you Voigtlander Bessa L shooters you’ll probably know the Voigtlander Snapshot Skopar 25mm f4 lens. That lens was planned as my ideal walkabout setup lens but the image quality isn’t always as good as I’d like. The Snapshot Skopar can suffer from slight veiling flare which reduces contrast in the final photo. I’m pleased to announce that the new Voigtlander 28mm 2.8 Color Skopar with it’s modern coatings is better when shooting towards the sun and still gives a high contrast image.
After making the YouTube video I did a second lot of testing and the sharpness of the Snapshot Skopar at f4 is not terrible at all but the lower contrast across the images makes the new Voigtlander 28mm Skopar images look sharper. The Snapshot is lighter and a similar small size without the hood. If you shoot with the sun / light the 25mm Snapshot will be a great performer. (Note to self too!)
The 25mm Snapshot Skopar lens is lighter than the 28mm Skopar and has the zone focus markers (focus breaks) so you know your distance without looking at the lens. The new 28mm Color Skopar lens gives you f2.8 vs f4, better coatings but is slightly heavier.
Smallest 28mm lens for Leica?
Is the new Voigtlander 28mm 2.8 Skopar the smallest 28mm lens for Leica? No. Yes it is small but the TTArtisan 28mm f5.6 lens is even smaller and that is also available in LTM mount and Leica M mount. The TTArtisan lens is based on the Leica Summaron 28mm f5.6 lens which is the same small size. Both the TTArtisan 28mm and Leica Summaron 28mm lens offer a more vintage less perfect look by design. Neither lens is as sharp as the new Color Skopar ASPH design but they are tiny.
It’s worth noting that you can find even smaller 28mm pancake lenses but they are often not as sharp as those I mention here. Great size but perhaps not for serious photography.
The vintage Canon 28mm f2.8 LTM lens is small..
One lens that I own but didn’t include in the YouTube video is the compact vintage Canon 28mm f2.8 LTM lens. Perhaps a similar size to the TTArtisan 28mm f5.8 LTM lens. I was interested to test Canon 28mm f2.8 vs Voigtlander 28mm f2.8. Results? Like the Voigtlander Snapshot Skopar lens there is less contrast in the images shooting towards the light. (How I often shoot). The corners at f2.8 are very soft and mushy on the Canon 28mm, the new Skopar is usable at f2.8. Stopped down the sorry is very similar to the Snapshot Skopar, lower contrast and slightly softer overall.
Sharpest 28mm lens for Leica?
Do you love sharp lenses? Is the Voigtlander Color Skopar 28mm f2.8 the sharpest 28mm lens for Leica M cameras? Sadly no (but very close from some tests) and is still usable at f2.8 and sharpens up further as you stop down. For my f8-f11 zone focusing photos it will be just perfect. From my testing the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 lens is sharpest at both f2.8 and f5.6. (Update* In a second test, the sharpness from both lenses were similar. When shooting towards the light the contrast is slightly higher with the new 28mm Skopar verses my Elmarit-M 28mm which I liked).
What about Zeiss Biogon lenses?
When I made the YouTube video, I hadn’t compared my Zeiss Biogon to the Leica Elmarit. I would expect the sharpest 28mm lens for Leica to be the Zeiss Biogon 28mm f2.8 ZM lens based on me owning the 21mm and 25mm Biogon lenses. Update. I needed to know for sure so in my follow up test I shot 8 more lenses side by side including the Leica Elmarit-M 28mm f2.8 and my Zeiss Biogon 25mm f2.8 ZM. As expected the Zeiss images look sharper due to the higher contrast from the T* coating. The Zeiss is at least as sharp as the Leica lens, perhaps slightly sharper but the images have more pop / punch due to the good contrast (when shooting towards a bright sky).
From this second test, the new 28mm Voigtlander Skopar was closer to the 25mm Biogon in terms of sharpness and higher contrast. Excellent news! (As mentioned I often shoot towards the light so I need good contrast to minimise veiling flare/ loss of details.
Need something faster than f2.8?
If the 28mm Voigtlander Skopar maximum aperture of f2.8 is too slow for you consider the Voigtlander 28mm f2 Ultron VM lens. From my testing the Ultron is slightly sharper than the Skopar at the same given aperture.
Best 28mm lens for Leica (overall)?
If you are looking for the best 28mm lens for Leica, it terms of a best all rounder I feel the new Voigtlander 28mm 2.8 Skopar is a great contender. The price is less than half that of a used Leica lens, it’s compact and the results are sharp enough for most uses. If you hadn’t already guessed I really like this lens.
Voigtlander 28mm 2.8 – Typ I or Typ II?
The question you may have is should you buy a Typ I lens or Typ II. They are not the same and both will fit your Leica M mount camera if you buy the VM version.
Benefits of the Voigtlander 28mm 2.8 Typ I lens
The Typ I lens is available as L mount or VM mount. Both versions of the lens are identical except for the lens mount. (The L mount is slightly smaller and lighter by design). Typ I lenses are a retro design similar to the aforementioned Voigtlander Heliar 40mm f2.8 lens. The Typ I lenses have a vintage style focus tab/ focus lock design and are rangefinder coupled to 0.7m. Perfect for Leica M rangefinder camera users but note older screw mount cameras can only focus from 1m.
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Typ I (VM) or Typ I (L) mount
Now for you digital photographers you probably wouldn’t even consider the Typ I L mount lens. The problem is, even if you then perhaps want to try a cool vintage screw mount camera in the future, you’d need to buy another copy of the lens. As a very pro vintage Leica iii camera user, I would recommend the Typ I (L) over the Typ I (VM) to all film users so you can use the lens on more interesting cameras. Many of my Patreons were 100% digital photographers and now enjoy shooting film too so I say plan ahead and buy the L mount lens. If you absolutely don’t like film and prefer mirrorless to rangefinder cameras neither of the Typ I lenses are for you. You need the Typ II.
28mm Voigtlander Skopar f2.8 Typ II (VM) Benefits
For mirrorless camera users the Voigtlander Color Skopar 28mm f2.8 Typ II (VM) is your best choice. Why? Multiple reasons. Let’s make a list –
- Typ II is lighter than the Typ I (aluminum not brass)
- 0.5m MFD vs 0.7m MFD for the Typ I lens (meaning better bokeh)
- Rangefinder coupled from 0.7m for M users
- Modern style focus tab (and no infinity lock) (Faster for street photography)
- Easier to read focus scale (on the top of the lens) (Typ I scale on the side)
- Standard 39mm filter size (not 34mm – Typ I) (No step up ring required)
Which 28mm Skopar lens will I get?
If you follow this blog and the YouTube channel you’ll know I love film and especially small lenses and cameras. My first choice with be the Voigtlander Color Skopar 28mm f2.8 Typ I (L) lens to use on my 1931 Leica Standard. This will be my EDC camera-lens combo for off grid photography (travel) and I will zone focus the lens. If I can grow my YouTube channel to 100K subs I will also buy the Voigtlander Color Skopar 28mm f2.8 Typ II (VM) lens to use on my Leica SL (and Leica CL).
Where to buy this lens?
If you’re in the US B&H are awaiting stock and you can pre-order the 28mm Voigtlander Skopar lens. If you’re based in the UK visit my KitList page and use the discount code to get 5% off all Voigtlander lenses at RobertWhite. You can also check prices and availability on Amazon.
Nikon F user? Did you know you can get the Skopar in F mount?
If you love the idea of a 28mm Voigtlander Skopar lens but perhaps shoot with Nikon F mount film cameras, do not worry. I use Nikon film cameras too and have quite a few. When I wanted a great 28mm lens for my Nikon FE2 or Nikon FM2 I went to Voigtlander. Yes the Nikkor 28mm f2.8 AIS lens is fantastic but I wanted a smaller option too. Voigtlander re-released the 28mm Skopar for F mount and also offer current production 40mm, 55mm, 58mm and 90mm APO lenses. I love them!
Voigtlander 28mm f2.8 ASPH SL II-S Color-Skopar
You might be interested to hear how the Nikon F mount lens compares to the VM or L mount versions. If you buy the current production F mount lens the photos should be near identical but these SLR lenses have the massive bonus of focusing to 0.22m! Boom. This is less useful for rangefinder cameras but awesome for mirrorless users.
In my follow up lens test, I tested my earlier copy of the Voigtlander 28mm Skopar SL lens for Nikon F mount and the results are still almost identical to the latest Typ I/ Typ II lenses. It’s worth noting that I sometimes mount the Nikon F mount Skopar onto my Leica Barnack cameras and scale focus them. Why? I knew it gave better results than my 25mm Snapshot Skopar and 28mm Canon 2.8 LTM lens.
I guess I was ahead of the game lol (now they’ve released the Skopar in LTM/ M mounts). Voigtlander must have watched one of my Leica Barnack videos and thought hmm that’s a good idea, let’s make it in LTM mount! (See video thumbnail below) 🙂
Watch on YouTube – Voigtlander 28mm 2.8 Review
For a full visual of the new 28mm Voigtlander Color Skopar lenses watch on YouTube. Sample photos and test photos included.
28mm lens comparison test – YouTube part 2
As someone with a degree in science and an ex-accoutant/ auditor I love this testing lenses stuff. My brain would not sleep until I tested the 28mm Leica Elmarit vs Zeiss Biogon (for example) and also the new Voigtlander 28mm 2.8 vs Canon 28mm 2.8 LTM lens. I was so glad I did this additional test. With the slightly different lighting conditions the new Skopar with its modern coatings performed favourably against the big names. Check out the results.
Thank you Voigtlander!
A special thanks to Voigtlander for continuing to pump out all these amazing lenses and for considering us screw mount camera users. Fantastic! Please make us an even smaller 50mm lens (in both Typ I – VM/ L and Typ II) and re-release the tiny Voigtlander 28-35mm micro finder!
Did you know that there is a 50mm Voigtlander Skopar lens?
Voigtlander did actually make a compact 50mm lens in L39 mount in the past. The Voigtlander Color Skopar 50mm f2.5 LTM lens. I have it.
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