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Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review

  
 
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


Here's an image showing the rendering with the subject positioned approximately 2 meters away. The minimal blur is due to the Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar, which has a full-frame equivalency of 28mm and an aperture of f/4.




  X-E4    VOIGTLANDER COLOR-SKOPAR 18mm F2.8 lens    18mm    f/2.8    1/4400s    160 ISO    -2.3 EV  







50% magnified area from image above




Mar 05, 2024 at 06:16 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review



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Flare Resistance:

When using the Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar, I primarily relied on its remarkably slim hood. This optical design and coating excel in preventing both ghosting and veiling flare, which has been quite impressive. However, like any wide-angle lens, ghosting is sometimes inevitable, especially when the sun is in the frame (see samples).

Apart from rare occasions, such as when pointing the lens directly at the sun or experimenting with various angles against strong light sources, I did not observe much ghosting or veiling. Similar to its sibling, the Voigtlander 27mm f/2 Ultron, this lens offers great flare resistance.

Here are some samples:




Sun in the frame

  X-E4    VOIGTLANDER COLOR-SKOPAR 18mm F2.8 lens    18mm    f/5.6    1/640s    160 ISO    -2.3 EV  






With the sun directly in the frame, I was able to capture an image showing ghosting simply by adjusting the angle slightly.

  X-E4    VOIGTLANDER COLOR-SKOPAR 18mm F2.8 lens    18mm    f/2.8    1/4700s    160 ISO    -2.3 EV  






Here's a real-world landscape example showing the great flare performance with the sun directly in the frame.

  X-E4    VOIGTLANDER COLOR-SKOPAR 18mm F2.8 lens    18mm    f/5.6    1/850s    320 ISO    -0.7 EV  




Mar 05, 2024 at 06:41 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review



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Final Thoughts:

After extensively shooting with the Voigtlšnder 18mm f/2.8 for nearly a month, I must say that the lens was meticulously designed with the right compromises in mind. Many pancake design lenses I've used across various camera systems often suffer from significant drawbacks in image quality, especially wide-angle lenses. However, this lens breaks that trend with solid performance in a small size.

Many photographers might prefer an 18mm f/2 lens for the extra stop of light and increased blur. However, Cosina opted to provide an even smaller alternative to the Fujifilm 18mm f/2 R, which is one stop brighter but also almost twice as long (23.5mm vs. 40.5mm in length).

Because of its slower f/2.8 aperture and f/4 depth of field full-frame equivalency, you shouldn't expect significant blur, even when shooting wide open. However, when focusing on subjects at close distances, it can isolate the subject and offer a pleasing rendering with increased blur, especially when shooting at its minimum focus distance (0.17m), where it provides a high level of blur.

The lens's 7-element optical design excels in correcting color aberration, distortion, and demonstrates remarkable flare resistance. All of these qualities are packaged in a super compact design that makes it an absolute pleasure to use in the field.

In terms of resolution and contrast, the lens performs quite well for a pancake design, although it's not setting any records. It's worth noting that the lens performs at its best at f/2.8 and reaches optimal performance at f/4. However, stopping down doesn't notably improve the corners. At close range, the lens performs exceptionally well, even without a floating system.

The build of the lens is superb, offering a satisfying feel in hand. It's constructed with tight tolerances, ensuring both durability and aesthetic appeal, much like the Voigtlander 27mm f/2 Ultron. The focusing tab offers just the right amount of resistance, while the aperture mechanism clicks firmly, making each third of a stop easy to discern. Additionally, the slim hood, a hidden treasure of this lens, complements the overall design, preserving its compact form and often escaping notice by casual observers. I even took the step of attaching a UV glass behind the hood, resulting in an extremely slim profile hood combined with UV protection in one!

One advantage of using Cosina lenses is their straight blade aperture mechanism, renowned for its performance in Leica M lenses. This feature is evident in this lens, delivering well-defined 10-point sunstars even at wide apertures, including f/2.8. I've shared numerous images showcasing this characteristic.

There are a few drawbacks to consider. Barrel distortion is present but mild, and there's noticeable field curvature. This curvature starts outward at close distances and becomes inward towards infinity. Also, significant vignetting and noticeable coma are expected when shooting wide open with this lens. The good news is that Lightroom already offers a custom profile for this lens, effectively reducing vignetting.

I've tested the Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar on my X-Pro3 optical viewfinder. As some may already know, this camera doesn't have a dedicated 18mm (28mm equiv.) frameline. However, by looking through the viewfinder without shifting your gaze, one can still estimate the correct framing for this lens.

In conclusion, despite a few drawbacks, I highly recommend the Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar. Fujifilm photographers who prefer manual focusing with a true mechanical helicoid will appreciate its tactile feel compared to the electronic focus-by-wire system found in autofocus Fujifilm lenses. Although there are minor issues with vignetting, coma correction, and field curvature, this lens still offers exceptional and distinctive performance, making it a must-have for the Fujifilm system. When paired with the Voigtlander 27mm f/2 Ultron, the Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar creates an incredibly compact yet powerful combination.


Pros:
  1. Ultra-compact pancake size and lightweight build
  2. High resolution and contrast even when shooting wide open, with optimal performance at f/2.8 in the center and f/4 in the corners
  3. Low distortion
  4. Impressive minimal focus distance of 0.17m for creative close-up shots and high blur
  5. Excellent build quality with low tolerance, featuring metal construction that enhances its overall appeal
  6. Electronic communication for EXIF, Auto-magnification and distance
  7. Aperture mechanism creates beautifully defined 10-pointed sunstars, adding a creative touch to images (even wide open!)
  8. Virtually no axial chromatic aberration for clean and crisp images
  9. Genuine helicoid manual focus system featuring a tab for simple and accurate focusing
  10. Very good flare resistance, particularly when used with the slim hood.

Cons:
  1. Coma (Sagittal flare) visible when shooting at wide apertures
  2. Outwards field curvature at close distance and inwards at infinity, requiring careful consideration for specific shooting scenarios
  3. High vignetting
  4. Some lateral CA
  5. Short focusing throw may make focus adjustments more sensitive, requiring precise handling





  X-E4    VOIGTLANDER COLOR-SKOPAR 18mm F2.8 lens    18mm    f/2.8    1/60s    640 ISO    -0.3 EV  




Mar 05, 2024 at 09:49 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


After some delay, the new Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount lens is now available at Cameraquest and you can also pre-order it at B&H Photo.

CameraQuest | B&H Photo

(Pre-ordering from FM helps support the site. Thank you!)



Mar 06, 2024 at 04:27 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


For those who purchase this lens, feel free to share samples on this thread. I'll link them to the review! 👍


Mar 06, 2024 at 04:41 PM
Nick Dakota
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


Just got mine today. Very excited to put it to use. Nearly identical to the 27. Focus seems a tad looser/smoother on the 18. Not sure if it's in my mind though. Will post some pics soon.

Fred Miranda wrote:
For those who purchase this lens, feel free to share samples on this thread. I'll link them to the review! 👍



Mar 06, 2024 at 04:49 PM
Erich6_
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


Thank you for the detailed review of this lens. After a long hiatus from photography Iím excited to get back into it with a new X-T5. Ordered this lens last night and already on its way. Canít wait to try it!


Mar 06, 2024 at 09:01 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


Nick Dakota wrote:
Just got mine today. Very excited to put it to use. Nearly identical to the 27. Focus seems a tad looser/smoother on the 18. Not sure if it's in my mind though. Will post some pics soon.

I noticed that their focus resistance is quite similar, although when comparing my copies, the CV 18/2.8 does rotates very slightly more freely towards infinity. I'm unsure if this is intentional in the design, as another member had the same impression. The focus throw is shorter on the 18mm to accommodate the much closer MFD of 0.17m compared to 0.25m. Although the throw angle appears to be identical at around 120 degrees.



Mar 07, 2024 at 01:31 PM
Ditchell
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


I'll likely never own this but it is absolutely gorgeous. Just hard to justify to me when I can get the 18/2. I'm pretty new to Fuji but it feels like all the third parties are just doing the same thing that Fuji does. One thing I miss about being in E Mount is just some wild, weird focal lengths and designs. For instance I couldn't afford the Sony 16-35, but the Tamron 17-28 was in some ways better. I dunno, I'd love to see that over here. Things like that Zeiss 32mm. That's weird! Kinda.


Mar 07, 2024 at 11:30 PM
ShawnD
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


I finally have this lens, have been testing it / using it quite a bit, and have come to many of the same conclusions as Fred. Thanks for the excellent review by the way.

The biggest negative for me is the same as with the 27mm, focusing at distances between 6 feet and infinity is challenging, the focus throw is simply too short in that range. I understand the compromise and that many will zone focus at these distances but for me it's a bit of a pain. Using the in camera distance scale helps a bit as does the well executed focusing tab. Mostly you just need to take your time and be careful. The only other major negative for me is the lack of weather sealing.

Other than those two "issues," which I can certainly live with, this lens is AWESOME. I will mostly be using it on an X-S10 body along with the Voigtlander 27mm f2 on a second X-S10 body, both of which fit perfectly into a small Billingham Hadley Digitial water resistant bag. It feels about the same as carrying one camera with a "normal" sized lens. Such a small and versatile package! For me it's like carrying two somewhat bigger GR3/GR3x cameras but with better ergonomics, durability, the ability to change lenses and clean the sensor, arguably better ibis, and the 27mm is a stop faster.

I owned the Fujifilm 18mm f2 pancake for awhile and while the optics were decent the lens (it was brand new) felt like it might fall apart at any moment (completely unlike more modern Fujinons). The Voigtlander build quality on the other hand is top notch.

I started a Flickr group for the Voigtlander 18mm if anyone is over there. There is already a small 27mm group as well.



Mar 09, 2024 at 11:49 AM
 


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Erich6_
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


Back to sample shots contributed by FM members


Went out this weekend to try the Voigtlander 18mm and had a good time with it. Not the sharpest lens but its a joy to use on the XT-5 being so light and easy to dial-in the manual focus. Here are some shots from the outing. Still rusty from having been away from the hobby so please bear with me!
































Mar 10, 2024 at 07:55 PM
Gabe13
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


Thanks for the comprehensive review! From what I see here I am also surprised at its ability to handle flare so that's a nice bonus and a useful characteristic to have for landscapes and other situations.

I am eagerly looking forward to obtaining a copy for myself in the near future. Voigtlander has definitely been spoiling us recently so hopefully there is more to come.



Mar 11, 2024 at 09:50 PM
Gabe13
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


I've been considering whether to go with a silver CV 18/2.8 to contrast with my 27/2.0 but it almost looks as if the silver finish on the CV is a brighter silver relative to Fuji's silver bodies but its a bit hard to tell.

Makes me wonder if CV matched their finish to any particular Fuji silver finish since the 18/2.8 and 27/2.0 were designed for Fuji.

Also perhaps Fuji has variations of silver from body to body, in my case I have an X-T5 silver so maybe I will just stick to classic black after all IDK...choices



Mar 13, 2024 at 10:38 PM
olegkin
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


Gabe13 wrote:
I've been considering whether to go with a silver CV 18/2.8 to contrast with my 27/2.0 but it almost looks as if the silver finish on the CV is a brighter silver relative to Fuji's silver bodies but its a bit hard to tell.

Makes me wonder if CV matched their finish to any particular Fuji silver finish since the 18/2.8 and 27/2.0 were designed for Fuji.

Also perhaps Fuji has variations of silver from body to body, in my case I have an X-T5 silver so maybe I will just stick to classic black after all IDK...choices


I went with black for silver x-t5. Both are in the mail though.




Mar 14, 2024 at 09:15 AM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


Gabe13 wrote:
I've been considering whether to go with a silver CV 18/2.8 to contrast with my 27/2.0 but it almost looks as if the silver finish on the CV is a brighter silver relative to Fuji's silver bodies but its a bit hard to tell.

Makes me wonder if CV matched their finish to any particular Fuji silver finish since the 18/2.8 and 27/2.0 were designed for Fuji.

Also perhaps Fuji has variations of silver from body to body, in my case I have an X-T5 silver so maybe I will just stick to classic black after all IDK...choices


Though I used the silver X-T5 for a bit, I can't recall if its shade matches the silver of the X-E4. The Voigtlander 18/2.8 has a lighter shade compared to the X-E4. It might not show in the pictures, but it's noticeable in person. It's not necessarily a drawback, but it's not a perfect match. Personally, I find the silver of the Voigtlander more appealing as it appears richer.

If you want, I can show how the Silver CV 18/2.8 lens looks on the X-Pro3 Dura Black. It's quite attractive, resembling a Leica M10 Safari paired with a silver lens. Meanwhile, here it is mounted on the X-E4:







Mar 14, 2024 at 07:16 PM
Gabe13
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


Fred Miranda wrote:
Though I used the silver X-T5 for a bit, I can't recall if its shade matches the silver of the X-E4. The Voigtlander 18/2.8 has a lighter shade compared to the X-E4. It might not show in the pictures, but it's noticeable in person. It's not necessarily a drawback, but it's not a perfect match. Personally, I find the silver of the Voigtlander more appealing as it appears richer.

If you want, I can show how the Silver CV 18/2.8 lens looks on the X-Pro3 Dura Black. It's quite attractive, resembling a Leica M10 Safari paired with a silver lens.
...Show more

Its a pretty close match with that X-E4 which is what got me to considering it. I too like the brightness of the CV Silver. Yeah when you have a moment please post a shot of that combo just for curiosities sake.

I speak no Japanese and not sure how communicative I can be when I head into MAP Camera but I am going to see if they'll let me see how both the silver and black look mounted to my silver X-T5 if they have some display models out of the box.



Mar 15, 2024 at 03:07 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


Gabe13 wrote:
Its a pretty close match with that X-E4 which is what got me to considering it. I too like the brightness of the CV Silver. Yeah when you have a moment please post a shot of that combo just for curiosities sake.

I speak no Japanese and not sure how communicative I can be when I head into MAP Camera but I am going to see if they'll let me see how both the silver and black look mounted to my silver X-T5 if they have some display models out of the box.


I visited MAP Camera with a friend who speaks Japanese, which made it easier to communicate. It's likely they'll have the Silver 27/2 Ultron and a silver Fuji body, given that the Voigt has been out for a while now.



Mar 15, 2024 at 04:54 PM
Fred Miranda
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


Here's a quick image showing the X-Pro3 Dura-Black paired with the Silver CV 18/2.8 Color Skopar. I'm liking the combination.




  ILCE-7RM2    ZEISS Batis 2.8/135 lens    135mm    f/3.5    1/60s    1250 ISO    +0.3 EV  




Mar 15, 2024 at 05:05 PM
Juha Kannisto
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


Gabe13 wrote:
Its a pretty close match with that X-E4 which is what got me to considering it. I too like the brightness of the CV Silver. Yeah when you have a moment please post a shot of that combo just for curiosities sake.

I speak no Japanese and not sure how communicative I can be when I head into MAP Camera but I am going to see if they'll let me see how both the silver and black look mounted to my silver X-T5 if they have some display models out of the box.


They have lots of non-Japanese customers visiting the store and some of their staff can communicate in English. When I've been there recently I usually see many more non-Japanese customers than Japanese. I think the locals buy more from their online store and don't necessarily go to the physical store very often.

They do usually have one display model of each new lens that they are selling (inside glass vitrines), perhaps they can allow those to be checked in person. Also, there may be used copies of the lenses being sold at the store and those can be inspected at the counter and checked on camera there before purchasing, so that way it could be possible to check how they match the camera and then one could purchase a new one instead. Right now their website shows no used copies in stock though. They would not allow new sales unit lens boxes to be opened for any checking before making a purchase.



Mar 15, 2024 at 08:28 PM
Gabe13
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · Voigtlander 18mm f/2.8 Color-Skopar X-mount Review


Fred Miranda wrote:
Here's a quick image showing the X-Pro3 Dura-Black paired with the Silver CV 18/2.8 Color Skopar. I'm liking the combination.



I've never seen that color before, looks slick...a sort of dark graphite. Does Dura imply it is a more durable finish? Was that a limited release?

So I see that CV has announced an RF version of the 75mm/1.5 I've been wanting. Got my fingers crossed its eventually coming to X-mount

---------------------------------------------

Juha Kannisto wrote:
They have lots of non-Japanese customers visiting the store and some of their staff can communicate in English. When I've been there recently I usually see many more non-Japanese customers than Japanese. I think the locals buy more from their online store and don't necessarily go to the physical store very often.

They do usually have one display model of each new lens that they are selling (inside glass vitrines), perhaps they can allow those to be checked in person. Also, there may be used copies of the lenses being sold at the store and those can be inspected
...Show more

Good to hear! And that works for me. Any display model whether used or open box is just fine...as Fred mentioned even a silver 27/2.0 is fine since they have the same finish. Yeah no one would expect them, or anyone really, to open up a brand new box just for that. I know that I can't go wrong with black...but I'm just wondering how that silver looks in person. I have 3 silver lenses in my stable and even though they're not a perfect match to the X-T5 silver, they look nice mounted on it regardless...except for that PK to FX adapter but that's the price of adapting sometimes.



Mar 15, 2024 at 08:59 PM
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