Voigtlander Color-Skopar 21mm f4 P Lens First Impressions

Voigtlander Color-Skopar 21mm f4 P Lens First Impressions:

When I’m looking for a wide angle lens, I generally want something small because I use wide angles for street, architecture, and even on vacations.  Therefore, I want something that is easy to carry around, and I don’t mind sacrificing a larger maximum aperture for it, especially since most cameras these days have great high ISO capability.  Plus, I stop down my wide angles generally anyway.  With all that said, I’ve been wanting to try the Color-Skopar 21mm f4 P by Voigtlander for quite a while, and now that I finally got one in to review, here are my first impressions of it.

I have to say, all the recent Voigtlander lenses that I’ve reviewed have impressed me quite a bit.  They are fantastic lenses, and I don’t just mean for the price.  I think they are great lenses regardless of price, and the ones that I’ve reviewed at least, perform well above their price ranges.  The Color-Skopar 21mm f4 P is definitely no exception.

I’ve been using this lens quite a bit in the last few weeks (at least as much as I can with NYC beginning to get over quarantine).  Performance wise, the Color-Skopar 21mm f4 P is much better than I ever expected.  I don’t know what others have experienced but for me, I’m kind of blown away by it.  I’ve been using this lens with my Leica SL2, and the image quality is excellent.  Color rendering, contrast, and all that good stuff is great.  This lens is also sharp as a tack.

I’ll get into more detail about image performance in my full review but right now, I want to talk about the ergonomics of the Color-Skopar 21mm.  First off, the 21mm is a slow lens; its maximum aperture is only f4 but don’t let that deter you from considering purchasing one, if you’re in the market for a 21mm.  First off, it’s an ultra wide angle lens.  As I mentioned earlier, I think there are a lot of people out there that like me, generally stop down wide angles when they’re out shooting anyway, and therefore, may not really need a lens with a large maximum aperture.  A lens of this focal length might be used for landscape, cityscape or even street photography just to name a few examples.  These types of fields often require a person to be discreet or to walk around quite a bit, so having something more compact is definitely beneficial.

As you can see, while this lens’ max aperture is f4, the trade off resulted in an ultra tiny 21mm.  It basically has a pancake form factor, and it reminds me a lot of the older M lenses I used to love like my 35mm Summicron-M f2 Version 4, which I’ve always preferred over my ASPH version in terms of ergonomics.  Like some of the compact Leica lenses, the Color-Skopar 21mm f4 P even has a 39mm filter thread.  It’s also a metal lens that is extremely well made.  It has a nice weight to it but since it is a small lens, it isn’t heavy.  The focus ring is silky smooth with just enough resistance to give you feel as you rotate it, and the aperture ring clicks solidly in half stops.  Overall, it really does feel similar to a Leica lens.

Honestly, I feel the list price of $419 isn’t even that bad because I feel the quality is definitely there in terms of build AND performance.  I have not finished reviewing it yet but I’m close to finishing.  So far, I think this is currently one of my all time favorite 21mm lenses.  Due to NYC only beginning to open up after quarantine, I have been shooting but I haven’t been traveling all over NYC to get more variety in pictures.  However, I am still enjoying this lens quite a lot in the areas I have been using it.  I am downright surprised to be honest with how much I love it.  Stay tuned for the full review, which will come very soon.  Thanks for stopping by!

For those interested in purchasing the Color-Skopar 21mm f/4 P, you can check out the links below:

Color-Skopar 21mm f4 P at B&H Photo

8 comments… add one
  • John Farr

    I have the Voigtlander 21m F4. It’s lot of fun on my Fuji X Pro2. I also have the Voigtlander 75mm F 1.5. They make a great walk around fun combo. I am thinking about getting the Voigtlander 40mm F 1.4 for a lens in the middle of the two.

    • Patrick

      Hi John,

      It’s great to hear from you, and I hope you’re doing well! I bet it’s a lot of fun. I actually just sent the lens back today, and I’m definitely missing it. I’m tempted to purchase one myself to be honest.

      The 75mm f1.5 is one of my favorite lenses. It’s a beauty, and the images are breathtaking. I have not tried the 40mm f1.4 yet but I have requested for the 35mm f1.2. 40mm though is actually one of my favorite focal lengths :).

      I hope everything is going well for you, and thanks for stopping by,

      Best,

      Patrick

  • Jed Orme

    Patrick,

    This really is a fine little lens & glad that you found it to your liking. When I had a Leica M, I had one paired with a Leica 35mm, Zeiss 50mm, & Leica 90mm. It more than held its own in this tough company, & was perfect for the types of use that you describe. Extremely well made & a pleasure to use. Like the comments made above, I am thinking of getting the Voigtlander 75mm for use on my X-Pro3 because of my experiences with the 21mm Skopar. And thanks for covering these types of lenses that can be adapted for manual use with the Fuji X system. Please keep it up. Regards,

    Jed

    • Patrick

      Hi Jed,

      It’s good to hear from you, and I trust your well out there. Get the 75mm f1.5! I can not recommend it enough. I had one in for review when it was released, and fell in love with it. I just have to control myself because I can’t be buying everything I love haha. If you’re looking for a 75mm however, it’s really a gem. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you continue to stay safe!

      Best,

      Patrick

  • Kathy Davis

    Hey, Patrick
    Good to see you’re out, experimenting with new things, and catching up. I have days when I just sit and imagine holding the D-Lux Typ 109 out shooting in Tokyo. Here I am, living in the past! I did however get some nice pix of a lizard sunning itself our front deck. They don’t go anywhere, so I got out all the cameras.
    I’m interested in your review, because I’ve been thinking about the Color Skopar 35mm pancake. It’d turn my X-E3 into a pretty good 50mm X100f imitation, and be a 35 on my M240. Two-in-one!

    Though, you know, I had to smile when I saw the 21mm on your SL2. It looks so dinky!
    Keep having fun,
    Kathy

    • Patrick

      Hi Kathy!

      Great to hear from you, and I hope you’re doing well!

      Thanks for your interest! I’m trying to make up for lost time, so I’ll have the review up very soon.

      As for the SL2, it is a beast. Even my longer focal length M lenses look a little small and dinky on it haha.

      If you have a link to that pic of that lizard, I’d love to see it! I used to own a water dragon. I like to think she’s my first model haha. She was trained really well, so you could take her out and walk around with her on your shoulders. I don’t know if I ever posted it here but I even have a shot of her wearing a Santa hat I had my grandmother make. I used it as my Christmas card haha.

      As for Tokyo, hopefully things will get better sooner rather than later, and you can go out there again. I miss it quite a bit too. I’ve been wanting to stop by some of those camera shops to see if there’s a 50mm Summarit f1.5 that I can pick up :).

      Best,

      Patrick

  • Kathy Davis

    Hey, Patrick

    I’l watch for that 21mm Voigtlander review. I have to say, you do a great job showing a wide is great for a city like NY. Though, as I recall, your dad did Japan with the Fuji X100, at 28mm. Some of those wide shots were spectacular. Of course, now that Texas is a hot spot, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be allowed in the country!

    Sorry, nothing on the lizard side: it’s just sitting in the sun. If it were me, fifty years ago, might have been interesting 🙂

    However, our mailbox has a gecko family in it (the ones that are an inch or so long). Kawaii! I’d love to get a photo, but they move really fast!

    Actually I’m not posting anything. I know — while you’re out there shooting with film, trying new styles, I’m taking stuff down. It’s a good time for me to pull back and think: why do I do this? What am I searching for? I grabbed the last ten years of photos (my Leica decade 🙂 and started looking: what do I like here? What worked?

    It’s kind of an interesting thing for me to do 🙂

    Keep on truckin’, as we said when I was in college in the sixties!

    Kathy

    • Patrick

      Hi Kathy!

      Thanks for the kind words! I probably luck out a lot haha but I do love using wide angle lenses. With everything so packed to together in a big city, a wide angle is just about perfect. By the way, I hope all of you in Texas are doing okay. Stay safe out there.

      Hey, I totally understand. I think I did something similar during my lockdown here. I pulled back a bit, and asked myself similar questions :). I had my first boudoir shoot last week, since February, and I wasn’t sure what to expect but in the end, I felt it was my best shoot so far.

      Keep on truckin’…didn’t the Grateful Dead write a song about truckin’ lol?

      I’ll try to get that Voigtlander review up ASAP. Take care!

      Best,

      Patrick

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