Cosina announced Color Skopar 20mm/f3.5 SLII Asph.

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by akira, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. Hi folks,
    Yeseterday, Cosina announced the release of new lens (for Nikon Ai-s mount with a chip and Pentax KA mount) in the title at the beginning of March. It has one aspherical element (indicated in blue) and is designed to cover FX format.
    Here's the link to Cosina's website. WARNING: it's in Japanese (I couldn't find the English page), but you should be able to read the lens' name and see the picture and optics.
    Hope you enjoy it.
    Thanks to Robert Hooper, you can find some info in English on this page:
    -- Shun
  2. Akira-san..... What's color Skopar? I just took a look at link. Is it like a line of lenses? Cheers!
  3. Hi, Rene', I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean by "a line of lenses".
    This new Color Skopar is a wideangle prime like an older Ai (and later Ai-s) Nikkor 20mm/f3.5.
  4. Color Skopar is really an old classic Voigtländer lens from the 40's used on their rangefinder folders. Cosina uses the Voigtländer brand and has done Color Skopar lenses for their modern rangefinders as well. I don't know how much this new lens has in common with the classic design but every new lens is great news!
    Thanks for the heads up Akira.
  5. Pete, I agree with you! Much more now that Nikon is cutting on backward compatibility of new lenses on MF cameras (G lenses do not have aperture rings) and is reducing the availability of new MF lenses. At least we have an alternative if we are looking for a new MF lens for an old MF Nikon body.
  6. If this new wide-angle lens has anything quality-wise in common with the 125/2.5 APO-Lanthar from Cosina (under the Voigtländer label), it should be an excellent performer. I'll put it on my wish-list.
    What price is suggested, Akira?
  7. According to the link: 55,000 Yen, plus 2000 for the lens shade.
  8. Hi guys.
    You go to this site,put the address you have,et voila,the translation before your eyes.You can see the price also.
  9. Is the 55000 yen the suggested retail price? That would be about 460 euros on today's exchange rate...could be lower but it's still ok, exchange rates are not that favorable for buying Japanese lenses right now.
    I'm eagerly waiting for some reviews and test results. Nikon is not exactly strong in this area and having a 200 gram 20 mm lens would be most useful for the situations when I want to travel light. I assume 52 mm filter size, sweet.
  10. Could be a nice addition for my FM2 primes setup as well.
  11. Hi, folks,
    As Luca has deciphered, the suggested retail price is 55,000 yen and the hood, 2,000 yen. It takes 52mm filter. It focuses as close as up to 20cm (magnification factor of 1:6.1) but the incorporation of the floating element is not mentioned.
    Bjorn, long time no see. I hope you feel all right now, after the illness caused by the sheep tick.
  12. Akira-san.... Bjorn kind of answer my question! I don't know much about classic Nikon lenses and all that so Color Skopar meant nothing to me. I don't understand why all the names like Cosina, Voigtländer and now a Color Skopar. They are the same company, aren't they?
  13. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Some additional info:
    • The physical length (not focal length) for the lens is 28.8mm when focusing to infinity.
    • Weight 205 grams
    • 9 elements in 6 groups, the one element at the very rear is aspherical; that is the element printed in light blue in the cross-sectional diagram
    • minimum aperture f22
    • Unlike the Zeiss ZF lenses that are also manufactured by Cosina, these Voigtländer lenses have the CPU inside so that you can get the lens EXIF data on DSLRs.
    To me, the strage part is the when Nikon has Cosina make some products for sale under the Nikon brand name, people consider those cheap stuffs below the usual Nikon quality. However, lenses manufactured by Cosina with German brand names demand a high premium.
  14. Well, as long as they are quality items, I don't mind a German connection. Labelling the lenses by that ancient brand "Voigtländer" is of course seen only as a concession to vanity (and profit?). However, my Voigtländer 125/2.5 APO-Lanthar by Cosina brings the current AFS Micro-Nikkor 105/2.8 VR to a deserved shame, and their 15/4.5 Heliar and 21/4 Scopar for the "F" mount are simply superb - all of these lenses with a mechanical build to match both price and image quality.
    Akira - yes, it's been a while since we last met. But I currently have sent my son as an envoy to Tokyo :)
  15. Very interesting. Glad to see it. I wonder how it will stack up against Nikon's 20/2.8D-AF?
  16. Probably much better. That will be my initial expectations until real testing can commence.
  17. On a 20 mm I am ready to give up a stop in maximum aperture for the convenience of using 52 mm filters, i.e. the same size of all my primes. I'm waiting to see a field test of this lens.
  18. Shun, thanks for the neat follow-up!
    Rene', I would second Bjorn. Now that the brand names are sold and bought here and there, being confused by the brand names is nothing but the waste of time.
    Cosina will release a promising 20/3.5 lens, period. :)
    Bjorn, I hope your son will enjoy his fruitful stay in Tokyo!
  19. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Akira, one thing I am glad about the Japanese written language is that it has adapted a lot of Chinese characters. In my early teens when my English skill was quite limited, I actually mainly read the instructions in Japanese on the Fuji developer/fixer boxes. (Those instructions were bi-lingual, Japanese/English.) Those were the days when my grandmother would roll her eyes when she smelled the strong odor from those chemicals in our bathroom.
    I have only seen Cosina-manufactured Zeiss ZF lenses but not the Voigtländers. There is absolutely no doubt about the construction quality being first rate. However, I think that exact same physical lens (same optics, same build) with a Nikon brand name on it will be considerably cheaper. With a Cosina brand name on it, you'll have a tough time selling any.
    In any case, in these days of DSLRs and AF-S lenses, these AI-S lenses are a specialty item for a narrow market. I can certainly understand why Nikon doesn't even bother with it.
  20. Rene, most of the German lens manufacturers name their products. Zeiss Planar, Zeiss Distagon, Leitz Summicron, Leica Elmar, etc. These generally convey some information about the general focal length and aperture. Colar Skopar is the name that Cosina picked for this lens. There are so many other lenses with Skopar in the name that saying Colar Skopar doesn't mean very much.
    Voigtlander was an Austrian camera company. Zeiss bought the company in the 1950's and the company has been sold multiple times since then. Cosina currently owns the name. They think that the lens will be easier to sell by having the classic camera Voigtlander name on it. Voigtlander is simply one of their other brands just like General Motors has brands called Chevrolet and Buick. Many people use the term CV as shorthand for Cosina/Voigtlander to differentiate it from the original Voigtlander cameras and lenses that are now decades old.
  21. To follow up on what Shun said. In the past 5 years I think Cosina has improved their quality control and build quality. Cosina will make a camera or lens for you based on your specifications and then you can slap your name on it and sell it. The Nikon FM10 is made by Cosina for Nikon and is generally regarded as having a cheaper feel to it. Cosina also builds cameras and lenses for Zeiss but these have a much higher build quality.
    I have a couple of the Cosina/Voigtlander Bessa rangefinders from 6-7 years ago. They are mostly plastic with an average build quality but low in price. Since then the newer rangefinders have a much more substantial feel to them but of course the price has gone up as well.
  22. Already in 1868 the Voigtländer headquarters moved from Austria's capital Vienna to Braunschweig in Germany so I think for practical purposes most would consider the company as one of the german manufacturers.
  23. I am a bit hazy on this, but the "color" in the Color Skopar might refer to coatings in the past.
    Voightlander used to (and still does it with one lense I think) do a "color" version and a b&w version. The color has multi-coatings on air to glass surfaces. The Skopar without the word color had one surface or none coated. Some folks like the non-color version for B&W film use. (This was re their rangefinder lenses, for their rangfinders, Leicas, RD1, etc).
    I do not know if this has any relevance to their lenses for the Nikon mount though, (just a historical note :)
  24. Considering that Nikon is phasing out MF lenses and considering the long term relationship between Nikon and Cosina (and between japanese firms) I would not be surprised if one day we will discover that Nikon actually licensed Cosina to manufacutre MF lenses with Nikon AIS mount and chip, getting a royalty on each sold. This way they will make a small money at zero cost and without loosing sales of their products.
  25. Quick work with the currency translator at shows that 55K Yen is equivalent to almost $600 US. That's a very expensive lens, considering that I bought my Nikkor 20 f/3.5 for about $200 used. The older Nikkors still turn up for sale now and then.
  26. I'm surprised Stephen Gandy doesn't have any news about this lens on his site, as he is supposedly the largest US distributer of Cosina/Voigtlander.
    Some pictures of the lens here. Looks like a "pancake" lens. Very compact.
  27. I think as Nikon users we are fortunate to have access to Cosina's new lenses. Nikon has completely forgotten to modernize the optics of their wide angle non-pc prime lineup and I have had to give up on autofocus in this focal length range. I'm very happy wuth my three distagons and also with one of Nikon's older wides, the 28/2. It is good to see Cosina add more lenses to their affordable Voigtländer lineup. The new 20 should make a great pair to the 35/1.8 DX for someone looking to go light and unobtrusive. The great-on-film Nikon 20/2.8D was a huge disappointment for me on digital and the 14 was worse. Do I think the Cosina products are overpriced? No, those Nikkors are and they tarnish Nikon's name in my opinion. I am happy to pay extra for the ZF to get the highest build quality, excellent optics and above all, consistency. Nikon sell 30 year old designs as "current" and some aspects of their modern design really leave me wondering if they deliberately leave flaws to make room for future upgrades.Bjorn ofren mentions the tripod collars and also the 105 vr. It was interesting to shoot landscapes last week side by side with that lens and the 85 micro. The latter made the 105 look like a consumer zoom in comparison and I know from previous tests that the 100mm ZF easily beats the 85 in situations where tilt isn't mandatory. The search for a perfect Nikkor is a neverending quest ... I'm eager to see how long the locks of the 85 hold... with my the hyperexpensive 24 pc-e, half a year was too much for the shift lock to stay working. This is what I like about the ZF lenses .... I know they went all the way in the design and QC and that does give a peace of mind. The only drawbacks are that there is no autofocus and also I need to remember to use lower level of sharpeningand less contrasty curve with some of zf lenses when shooting people subjects. Nikon's raw conversion defaults are a better match to Nikkors.
  28. There is a lot of interest in manual focus lenses. Too bad this was not f/2.8.
  29. Who cares about brand names? A brand is good only as long as it makes good products. My perception of the Nikkor brand is that Nikon can make a good lens if they want to, but they usually like to make "good enough" lenses these days.
    At one point I was looking at buying a Nikon 20 mm, but gave up since 2nd hand prices aren't really that low and none of the lenses are really that good. In that perspective, a new lens is most welcome if it performs. I need convenience zooms with AF-S and VR just as much as the next guy, but there are many kinds of photography which benefit little, if at all, of AF. Particularly using live view and the possibilities that it brings have made me aware of the risks of using AF for subjects that don't need fast reaction.
  30. Folks, I just got this email from Stephen Gandy of Camera Quest:
    no price set yet
    should ship next month
    taking $100 refundable deposits to
  31. Shun, thanks for disclosing interesting story about your early days. :)
    Cosina used to be an OEM company that offered low-cost cameras and lenses. They had made (are still making) lenses under their own brand that were even chaper than Sigma or Tokina. The optical quality and built quality depends mostly on the cost. Cosina had been known for low quality products simply because they hadn't made high-cost products.
    I think Cosina had already had technological potential to make quality products and had just decided at some point to allow themselves to produce quality products at higher cost and bought the Voigtlander brand hibernating then in order to promote higher quality.
    One good example is that Sigma once made a 28-70 zoom lens in Leica R mount under their own brand name and at the same time offered the lens with the same optical design for Leica. Leica sold the lens as Vario-Elmar. The prices of these two lenses were vastly different because the Vario-Elmar was made to sasisfy the higher standard imposed by Leitz.
  32. Bjorn do you have any news on the availability of the Apo Lanthar?
    I wonder why Cosina stopped production.
    Also thanks for mentioning the 15mm Heliar. I know the lens in Leica mount and almost bought a body just to use the lens for a special project but then decided against another system.
    I did not know that it is available now in F mount. Good to know.
  33. I used to own a 35mm f2.8 Color Scopar lens on my Voiglander Bessamatic in the early 60th.
    Voigtlander was one of the first (perhaps the first?) to produce automatic aperture exposure bodies. The Ultramatic was the more advanged body than the Bessamatic and had an interesting mechanical design. The neeedle of the exposure meter was locked when the shutter was pressed and cought the aperture lever and fixed the aperture according to the light. I always thought that was very clever.
  34. Point of reference, I had the 28mm /f3.5 Color Skopar in LTM and used an M-mount adapter on an M6TTL. It was a great lens for color, sharpness and contrast. Only bad thing was it had noticeable light fall-off in the corners that didn't get better until about f5.6. Still, a very nice lens.
  35. It seems Cosina makes each Voigtländer lens only for short while, then discontinues it and comes up with different ones. Look at the long list of discontinued lenses on their web site. The Macro Apo Lanthar was probably discontinued before it was "discovered" as a great lens. The 100/2 ZF is Cosina's current tele macro. Shooting at f/2 on a D700 it's hard to tell from the sharpness that one did not use f/5.6 ... well, DOF is shallower. ;-)
  36. Ilkka, please do not initiate the looooong lines of discussion on DOF here. (lol)
    Let's hope that Cosina is trying to replace their MF lenses with the ones with CPU, as the Ultron 40/2.0 and Nokton 58/1.4 may indicate that.
  37. Walter, unfortunately the 125mm Apo Lanthar has been discontinued for some time now and there is no remaining stock in the UK.
    The 12mm Ultra Wide and 15mm Super Wide Heliar lenses in F mount are also discontinued lenses.
  38. Voigtlander 20mm f3.5 Color Skopar SLII Aspherical just added to the website:
  39. Steve Gandy now has it listed, but no final price yet. He is taking $100 deposits to reserve one in his first shipment, slated for late March.

Share This Page