Voigtlander Color Skopar 20mm/3.5 SL-II Pancake compared to Zeiss Distagon T* 21mm/2.8 ZE

Voigtlander Color Skopar 20mm/3.5 SL-II Pancake compared to Zeiss Distagon T* 21mm/2.8 ZE

Finally got around comparing my two favorite wide angle primes,

the Voigtlander Skopar 20mm/3.5 SL-II pancake and the Zeiss Distagon 21mm/2.8 ZE, both in Canon mount, I use them on the Canon T2i, 7D and 5D2 and via adapter on my Panasonic Gh1. The Zeiss Distagon has the edge when it comes to image quality but the extremely small size and low weight of the Voigtlander make it my favorite walk around lens. And lets face it, the quality is still extremely high and better then most wide angle zooms (one notable exception is the Nikon 14-24mm), extremely high center resolution wide open and it sharpens up nicely once stopped down to 5.6 (on full frame, the edges are not a problem on a cropped sensor). Manual focus is a piece of cake on ultra wide angle lenses and very enjoyable on both, the Zeiss and the Voigtlander. I keep the Zeiss around for crucial work but 9 out of 10 times I grab the Voigtlander because of its tiny form factor.
Here are the links to the Voigtlander MTF and Zeiss MTF charts at photozone.
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4 thoughts on “Voigtlander Color Skopar 20mm/3.5 SL-II Pancake compared to Zeiss Distagon T* 21mm/2.8 ZE

  1. mike.kobal Post author

    Hi Konstantinos, you should be fine if you stop down to 5.6. You don’t need to bother with complicated depth of field conversions, it is roughly the same on a crop sensor at the same distance,
    only the field of view is narrower. For example if you focus on 5m the depth of field indicator still applies approximately, however, the field of view you are getting from the crop sensor is narrower then on ff.

  2. Konstantinos Anastasiou

    Dear Mike,

    I am thinking on buying the Voigtlander 28mm 2.8 SLII. From what I have read, it is very similar to the 20mm but a little sharper on the corners and extreme corners.
    My question is relative to the DOF focusing in a crop sensor (I have a Nikon D5200). How easy is it? I know that the scale is no longuer valid. Any trick or suggestion? If I follow DOF calculator web would it work?

    ps. I also own a Zeiss 21mm but I use it for landscapes with a tripod and live view. The Voigtlander would be more for travelling and zone focusing.

    Thank you very much in advance.

  3. Phil

    Thanks for the great comparison! I’m the happy owner of a zeiss 21mm…but looking at the 40mm now and would love to see the comparison to the zeiss 35mm and zeiss 50mm 1.4. Any plans to post this video soon?


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