Voigtlander 35mm F/2.5 Color Skopar 2
Since purchasing a second Leica body I was thinking about buying a second lens so both cameras could be used at the same time. Though I normally only shoot with one camera at a time, while photographing events, carnivals and even while travelling to new places it can be handy to have two different focal lengths with you to save time changing lenses. Already having a fast 50mm lens, I was looking for a general purpose 35mm lens. 35mm lenses are some of the most common lenses on the market and especially for Leica M mount there are a tone to choose from. When looking for a 35mm I didn’t want anything too special nor did I want to break the bank on purchasing a new ASPH summicron.
That’s when I found the Voigtlander 35mm F/2.5 Color Skopar 2. This is an updated version of the original which was M39 screw mount. This lens is Voigtlanders cheapest new lens costing £378, but don’t let this put you off. This lens has seven elements in five groups and a total weight of only 134 grams! Due to its compact and light weight design this lens is a joy to shoot all day with. Though it’s a small lens it feels very good in the hands having a focusing and aperture tap which I personally love. The lens has ten aperture blades that click in half stops from F/22 down to the maximum aperture of F/2.5. Some may be put off by the rather slow minumum aperture, in which case I would advise looking at the Voigtlander 35mm F/1.4 Nokton. I went for the F/2.5 as I intend to use this lens for street photography and travel which I rarely shoot below F/5.6.
From owning this lens for well over three months I must say I am very happy with the performance. I have been using this lens on my Leica M240 while performing daily tasks which include travelling into Oxford and London. Because of the compact size I can just have the camera over my shoulder and forget about it until I see a scene that I want to photograph. Though the Leica M240 is heavier than film Leica's I can only imagine what a joy to use this lens would be on an M2 or M4 camera. From testing the lens, I have found that it performs well at F2.5 but gets very sharp at F/4 and above. For me this is perfect as that is where I shoot the most, Just don’t expect to get any crazy bokeh with this lens as it is a fairly wide focal length and only has a minimum aperture of F/2.5.
This lens I can see being another one of my favorites not due to its technical performance but due to the usability and ergonomics. If you are in the market for a 35mm lens defiantly look at the Voigtlander 35mm F/2.5 Skopar as it can be a good way to get into shooting Leica on a budget as well as a good secondary lens. If you mainly shoot 35mm and just want one lens to do everything I would recommend the Voigtaldner 35mm F/1.4 Nokton as it can handle itself better in low light as well as create some amazing bokeh. New, the Voigtlander 35mm F/1.4 can be had for £500. I was tempted by this when looking for my 35mm but after a lot of searching I managed to grab the Voigtlander 35mm F/2.5 for just £175!