lens talk: the voigtlaender color skopar 35mm/2.5

After talking so often about traveling, it’s time for some tech talk again. Today, I just want to write a short entry about a lens I recently got on ebay: the voigtlaender color skopar 35mm/2.5.

About ten 10 years ago when digital cameras started to become mainstream, I got a voigtlaender bessa r and a very good 50mm/1.8 lens There was little not to like about the combination. Just that I wanted a digital SLR as much as the rest of the world. I sold the voigtlaender set as well as my beloved Nikon N80 on ebay and got a Nikon D2 when it came out.


Now I got rid of all my digital equipment again and am 100% converted back to analog photography. Looking for quality film cameras, you can’t turn away from the rather modern voigtlaender bessa r rangefinder camera series by the japanese firm cosina. Running a search on ebay doesn’t return a lot of hits in Europe but in the US and Japan these cameras are quite easy too find. I even found a store in Taipei still selling factory fresh pieces for a quite good price.


So I got myself a Bessa R with the old 39mm leica screw mount since it’s the most affordable version. The R2s, R3s and R4s are still expensive even on the 2nd hand market. Of course the leica m mount version of these cameras would allow a wide range of lenses to be used. After getting the camera from Japan, I searched for the lens. I wanted to have a rather small 35mm focal length since I have plenty of cameras with normal lengths lenses already. The color skopar 35mm/2.5 seemed the best choice. The open aperture of 2.5 still allow low light shooting and the lens is just 2cm high which makes it a pretty small, light and versatile camera set.


After shooting the first rolls in Munich as well as in Taipei under normal and low light conditions, I judged the results as very sharp and well exposed by using the built in meter. A relatively strong vignette could be observed which is still ok with me. It’s still a bit strange because I didn’t find any hints of vignetting online. I also shot a roll directly into the light and the results are shown here. The first image shows all kinds of optical artifacts proofing that the lens glass isn’t of the highest quality.The last image taken slightly angled away from the sun is already much better but still showing some subtle lens flare.

All considered, the color skopar 35mm/2.5 is a decent but not a cut throat all purpose lens for the voigtlaender bessa r. Its size and light weight make the perfect travel companion. The shortcomings shooting into the direct sun light just show that there are limits.