First review of the new Voigtlander APO-LANTHAR 50mm f/2 Aspherical VM lens for Leica M-mount


Jack Takahashi published the first review of the new Voigtlander APO-LANTHAR 50mm f/2 Aspherical VM lens for Leica M-mount (check pricing and availability at AmazonAdoramaPopFlash and Jo Geier):

Summary and recommendations

The Voigtlander 50/2 APO-Lanthar makes me feel spoiled. Previously, the sharpest 50mm lenses in this price range were the Zeiss Planar and Leica Summicron non-APO. Those lenses are both fantastic and leave almost nothing to be desired. Yet, the Voigtlander APO-Lanthar blows them out of the water in performance and barely costs more than the Planar. I’m definitely keeping mine for a very long time and I’m excited for all the images I’ll make with it.

There are a couple of alternatives to consider. The first is the Leica 50 Summicron APO. I’ve never tried one, but by all accounts it offers very similar performance to the Voigtlander APO. It’s also slightly better in terms of size and ergonomics, and has a built-in hood. But the price difference is currently $999 vs $8795, so I’m not sure how anyone could justify buying a Leica 50 APO. A more sensible alternative is the Zeiss 50/2 Planar (review here), which offers fantastic image quality with a slightly better size and weight than the Voigtlander APO. Its main disadvantage is edge/corner performance at f/2, which for many people is completely irrelevant. I think it’s a close call between the two, and it will ultimately be a personal preference whether compactness or extreme performance are a higher priority. The Leica 50 Summicron, non-APO (review here) is almost identical to the Zeiss Planar and is an OK choice if you are willing to pay more for the Leica design, which also includes a built-in hood.

If you want a wider aperture than f/2, strongly consider the Voigtlander 50/1.5 II (review here). It’s stunningly small yet performs well enough for most applications.

Good

  • Image quality
  • Build quality
  • Size and ergonomics
  • Price

Bad

  • None

Read the full review with sample photos at jacktaka.com.

 

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