Leica Showcase Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 50mm F2, M-Mount

This lens is amazing. You will not need a better-corrected lens than this. Unless you shoot UV. Then you need the lens on the Right.

Exif-JPEG-PICTURE.jpg


When received, I noted the overall size was about the same as my Pentax 85/4.5 Ultra-Achromatic-Takumar (UAT). The latter is 50 years old, maybe 40 lenses known to exist today. It now sells for about 5 times what the APO-Lanthar cost. Amazing.

I bought the APO primarily for the M Monochrom, where CA cannot be corrected using post-processing software. I'm shooting mostly on the M9 as it does much better in cold weather. And it has been cold. Plus- most people want to see what an APO lens does in color.

After the first outing, I turned off lens profile on the M9. Any corrections applied in firmware would just degrade the image. It does well "just optically". Perfect for a film camera as well.

Focus is perfect on the M9 out of the box.

F2

L1022946.jpg


F4

L1022947.jpg

NO focus shift.
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
Many thanks for posting these, Brian - I'll have to look into my Summicron-M in earnest now; it's pretty obvious how good the APO Lanthar is - and in the M mount world, the Summicron-M would pay nicely for that lens, and then some ...

Very, very desirable.

M.
 
Good stuff. I was curious about what you said, you want to use the lens on a Monochrom because CA can't be corrected in post. Can you expand on that? :)

Lateral Chromatic Aberration can be corrected by resizing the Red-Green-Blue image planes of the image. The colors do not come into focus on the same location on the image plane, I think of it as being spread out like going through a prism.

Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration- the colors come into focus on different planes, above and below the main point of focus. For a color camera- stopping down improves this. For a Monochrome camera- using a color filter, like a yellow or orange filter, greatly reduces the error. My 1930s 5cm F2 Sonnars are very sharp with a deep color filter.

With a color digital camera, or color film that has been digitized- the Red-Green-Blue image planes can be resized to correct most problems introduced by a lens.

With a monochrome camera- all color values are stored in the same image plane. There is no separation into different image planes that can be resampled and resized to better overlap.
 
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Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
Okay, so I checked the Summicron-M again and found my former findings exacerbated: It's a good lens - especially considering its size; apart from solid sharpness, it renders in a mostly pleasing way. But - it does exhibit several optical issues, none of them grave, but taken together quite, shall we say, sobering. In its day, this lens must have been spectacular, but it's past its "best by" date when judged purely by its optics. I'll say this, though: It's a very desirable people lens - it offers the right mix of features for that (pun intended). And even though it may sound improbable, I paid very little for the lens: It came in a package with a Zeiss Icon rangefinder - considering their respective prices in today's market, I paid only for one of the two items - or half for each ...

However, this round of testing gave me an idea. I'll do another one with the Voigtländer Nokton f/1.2 at f/2 - just to see if its IQ ticks up enough to surpass the Summicron-M. As things stand, I doubt it'll have enough of an advantage - but I want to make sure.

I think it's perfectly possible that as soon as Monday rolls around, I'll be ordering the APO-Lanthar ...

M.
 

serhan

Hall of Famer
Location
NYC
However, this round of testing gave me an idea. I'll do another one with the Voigtländer Nokton f/1.2 at f/2 - just to see if its IQ ticks up enough to surpass the Summicron-M. As things stand, I doubt it'll have enough of an advantage - but I want to make sure.

I think it's perfectly possible that as soon as Monday rolls around, I'll be ordering the APO-Lanthar ...

M.
CV 50mm APO vs 1.2 on Sony for landscapes:
FM Review: Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton
FM: "The Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 is even sharper than the APO @f/2 (center resolution). However, the 50/1.2 can't match the APO off-axis resolution and it's definitely not as corrected for axial CA. Rendering is character vs perfection. Which one do you prefer?
smiley.gif
"

For close ups APO is sharper wide open:
FM Review: Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-LANTHAR
FM Review: Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton
Review: Voigtlander 50mm F2 APO-Lanthar - phillipreeve.net
Review: Voigtlander VM 50mm 1.2 Nokton - phillipreeve.net
Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 Aspherical review - Image resolution - LensTip.com
Review: Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar for Leica M mount — Jack Takahashi
 
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Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
CV 50mm APO vs 1.2 on Sony for landscapes:
FM Review: Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton
FM: "The Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 is even sharper than the APO @f/2 (center resolution). However, the 50/1.2 can't match the APO off-axis resolution and it's definitely not as corrected for axial CA. Rendering is character vs perfection. Which one do you prefer? View attachment 248157"

For close ups APO is sharper wide open:
APO: FM Review: Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-LANTHAR
1.2: FM Review: Voigtlander 50mm f/1.2 Nokton
Review: Voigtlander VM 50mm 1.2 Nokton - phillipreeve.net
Voigtlander Nokton 50 mm f/1.2 Aspherical review - Image resolution - LensTip.com
Thanks a lot for the links - I've actually, over time, read most of this, but the crux of the matter is that the APO-Lanthar is smaller and better corrected while offering outstandingly even performance across the board; even if the Nokton *can* be very sharp in the center and renders a pleasing image, it's certainly not perfectly corrected - as Phillip pointed out, it's a very pleasing set of sensible compromises. I'm looking for "smooth perfection", and that's what I see from the APO-Lanthar.

But yes, I think it's worth checking out the Nokton f/1.2 between f/2 and f/4 or f/5.6 to see what it can do. LensTip shows that while it does well, it's certainly not even. But I'll see - tomorrow. I have no longer any intentions of selling the Nokton, btw. (neither of my two 50mm Noktons, to be exact). But I'll decide later whether to keep the Summicron-M.

M.
 
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serhan

Hall of Famer
Location
NYC
Thanks a lot for the links - I've actually, over time, read most of this, but the crux of the matter is that the APO-Lanthar is smaller and better corrected while offering outstandingly even performance across the board; even if the Nokton *can* be very sharp in the center and renders a pleasing image, it's certainly not perfectly corrected - as Phillip pointed out, it's a very pleasing set of sensible compromises. I'm looking for "smooth perfection", and that's what I see from the APO-Lanthar.

M.
APO Lanthar is not that small, eg bigger than 1.5 noktons (cameraquest - US supplier photo):

voigtlander_50mm_f2_apo_m-10.jpg


Similarly I like m converted contax g 45mm f2 esp with closer magnification and size but the bokeh is not the nicest... Otherwise it is a great lens esp for landscapes...
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
APO Lanthar is not that small, eg bigger than 1.5 noktons (cameraquest - US supplier photo):

View attachment 248164

Similarly I like m converted contax g 45mm f2 esp with closer magnification and size but the bokeh is not the nicest... Otherwise it is a great lens esp for landscapes...
The APO-Lanthar is less bulky and lighter - but point taken, I should have chosen my words more accurately. I find the Nokton f/1.2's girth to be on the upper limit of what I find tolerable for a normal lens on the M10; but of course, that's very relative. The optics are what it's at.

M.
 

rayvonn

Hall of Famer
Rendering is character vs perfection. Which one do you prefer?
Always. Took me 3 years to work this out and for anyone getting into rangefinder use, you’ll save a lot of time and money if you can determine this for yourself before diving in.
 

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