I’m just a poor grad student, so I’ve never purchased a lens brand new. But I’m also rather good at bargain hunting, too. I snagged a used Voigtlander 35mm f/2.5 Color-Skopar PII on Ebay for an incredible price recently and it arrived in the mail today. While walking home from coffee with my wife, I spent some time playing around with it enjoying the beautiful fall colours. This is the closest you’ll find me to shooting a brick wall. That’s just not my thing. That isn’t to say that I don’t put a lens through its paces to figure out what its strengths and weakness are, its just that I’d rather create some kind of worthwhile image in the process. And there are also things brick walls won’t tell you about a lens. Know what I’m saying? I thought so.
Consider what follows a little bit of a mini review…
What I love about this lens is his size. Tiny, even with the M mount to μ43 adapter, he’s just a little guy. The build quality is quite nice, I’d say. The lens is all metal and the focusing is smooth. The focusing tab is very nice. And did I mention that it’s tiny?
Well, that and the lens is nice and sharp right out of the gate at f/2.5. I was a little worried initially before I had it in hand. Not all full frame lenses do particularly well with the density of μ43 sensors. But I bought it first and foremost for the size, so decent resolution was a bonus. Here’s some what I did on my short walk home…
OM-D ISO200 f/4 1/400
There some slight smearing in the extreme corners, which isn’t unusual for FF wide angle lenses on μ43 sensors, but it’s not too bad. It’s mostly on the right side of the images, interestingly enough. The left doesn’t smear quite as much. But the center and most of the frame is delightfully sharp. I’m quite happy with it. And I would expect that cropping to an 8×10 ratio would deal with the smearing nearly entirely.
The colours look good, though. And autumn is excellent for showing that. I also think its fascinating how blackberry leaves turn the same colours as the berries themselves.
OM-D ISO200 f/2.5 1/250
OM-D ISO200 f/4 1/200
The rendering of the lens has a slight swirl in the out of focus regions when wide open. The quality of the bokeh isn’t horrible, but its harsh enough that I’m probably going to be watching myself for what backgrounds I choose while using this lens.
OM-D ISO200 f/2.5 1/250
Anyway, those are some initial impressions of the lens. I’m looking forward to playing around with it more. I’m yet to see any chromatic abberation or fringing with the lens, but I haven’t intentionally tried to create any either. This was just my first afternoon. And I think this Voigtlander 35mm f/2.5 Color-Skopar will make quite a nice member of a pancake trinity along with Panasonic’s 14mm f/2.5 and 20mm f/1.7. That’ll be a nice three compact three lens set. I would anticipate that as I play around with it more, I’ll have more thoughts to share about it. Or at least more images to share.