Voigtländer 20mm f/3.5 SL Pancake Lens Review

On this review photographer, Christopher Frost looks at one of the most compact wide angle lenses on the market for DSLRs – the Voigtländer 20mm f/3.5 SL and test it on both the  Canon 6D and EOS M3 cameras).

The Voigtländer 20mm f/3.5 is a really compact lens worthy of the pancake title (and there are not too many of those around), what makes it even more special is its focal length – 20mm covering a full frame sensor (unlike for example the Canon 40mm which is one of the more familiar contemporary pancake style lenses).

The lens has a very good build quality with an interesting rubber focus ring and it does communicate with the lens electronically so you can change the aperture from the camera and get EXIF data (at least with Canon).

 Image quality is a different thing. The lens seems to be good (or even excellent) in the center wide open but the corners on FF are dar and soft. Closing down helps (but you need to close down quite a bit to F/8 or more for maximum IQ). On a crop sensor, the center is sharp and the corners are a bit better but in both cases, you see a lot of CA.

The lens comes with no hood and you do feel the flare if you are not careful against bright light sources. There is also not too much separation from the background with this f/3.5 lens unless you are close to your subject (on the bright side the close-up IQ is very good).

This is a hard lens to come by and prices fluctuate – we seemed to locate it new at around $730 which seems to be a lot of money for what you are getting here.

You can find many more previews and reviews on our Photography review section here on LensVid and you can find more of Frost’s videos here on LensVid.

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