Leica Quick Comparison: Voigtlander 21mm Color Skopar and Leica 21mm Summilux Aspherical

Amin Sabet

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 3, 2010
I don't shoot ultrawide angle very often but decided to pick up the Voigtlander 21mm f/4 Color Skopar. Priced at $419 (got mine used for $330) and weighing just 136g, it wasn't a huge burden for my wallet or shoulder.

My brother lent me his Leica 21mm f/1.4 Summilux Aspherical, a slightly more expensive and heavier lens, to do a quick, informal comparison. The Leica 21mm f/3.4 would have been a better comparison with my lens, or the Voigtlander 21mm f/1.8 with my brothers, but these are the two 21mm lenses I had on hand.

Here are the two lenses side by side:




Mounted:




That's a lot of glass (Leica):




Before I show some 100% crops, you'll want to use the dropdown menu in the far bottom left corner of this page to choose "LeicaPlace Default for High-Res Displays" if you want to view original size (100% images). Otherwise they will be scaled down to about 60% view.

Here's a shot at f/8, Leica on the left and Voigtlander on the right. I was using the camera profile for the Leica 21mm Elmarit to do corrections for the Voigtlander.



As you can see, the Voigtlander lens, even at f/8, isn't completely corrected by the lens profile I applied. There is noticeable color shift at the edges.

Here is the crop from about 2/3 of the way towards the top of the center of the frame, which happens to be the point of focus:




Extreme upper left corner:




Upper right corner, where some purple fringing is evident from the Summilux but not the Color Skopar:




Lower right corner:




Another scene, this time at f/4 (wide open for the Voigtlander):




Center crop:




Lower left corner:




Overall, the Summilux is clearly superior, but the diminuitive Voigtlander is also excellent.
 

asiafish

All-Pro
Aug 9, 2013
Bakersfield, CA
Andrew
I think my next Leica lens will be the 18mm f/3.4 Super Elmar. I'm so impressed with the 24mm f/3.8 that I think I'll stick with the slow ones.
 

Amin Sabet

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 3, 2010
The Voigtlander has excellent central sharpness even wide open at f/4, and the transition to out of focus is rapid, making it look more shallow than f/4 as you can see in the background part of this crop where both the Leica (left) and Voigtlander (right) are used at f/4:




At f/8, it's good and sharp all over. The net effect is that it's a wonderful lens for my purposes, which mainly involves people photos at f/4 and scenics at f/8.

Here's a snap from last night making use of the 0.5 minimum focus distance:


L1001701 by Amin Sabet, on Flickr
 

Amin Sabet

Administrator Emeritus
Jul 3, 2010
Update: I just tried the Adobe Lightroom Flatfield Plugin, and it completely removes the color shift from this lens. So you can either code it as a Leica 21/2.8 for pretty good correction or use the Lightroom for even better results.

Before correction using Lightroom plugin:




After correction using Lightroom plugin:

 

mnagle8

New Member
Dec 26, 2013
Interesting article, although useless for practical purposes. These two lenses are so different. I have a Voightlander Skopar 20mm ZF.2 for my Nikom Df and Leica 21mm f3.4 for my M9. Both sensors are great performers, but the Leica 21 clearly out resolves the Skopar. Difference in price; depends what you are willing to live with and personal circumstances. The Summilux is too expensive for me to justify, it's benefit is only one f-stop over a Summicron.




Sent from my iPad using LeicaPlace mobile app
 

Raid

All-Pro
Dec 15, 2011
I used to comparee up to forty lenses. Using a film camera, I had to nail focusand expsure to avod excessive film developing cost.
 
Apr 2, 2018
(5.5 year bump)

The new revised Voigtländer 21/3.5 should be clearly superior to the old Voigtländer, tying the gap between it and the vastly more expensive Summilux ("slightly more expensive", teehee). The new one requires zero color correction, besides other great things about it. Then again, it's priced around $600-700, about double the f/4 Color-Skopar.

The thing is, Leica 21 Summilux is in its own class even by Leica standards. Truly one of the definite design masterpieces. :clapping::inlove:
 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
The thing is, I actually quite like what the old lens does (colour corrections notwithstanding); I'd really appreciate a head-to-head comparison of the two 21mm Color Skopars to see if the new f/3.5 version is worth it for me. FWIW, the new little 35mm f/2 Ultron is a wonderful little lens - right up my alley, and certainly worth owning even for someone like me (I own several 35mm lenses for M mount alone).

M.
 

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