Voigtlander 35mm f2 Apo-Lanthar Aspherical – First Impression

Voigtlander 35mm f2 Apo-Lanthar Aspherical

First Impression

Voigtlander 35mm f2 Apo-Lanthar Aspherical – First Impression

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Voigtlander 35mm f2 APO-Lanthar Aspherical VM
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Voigtlander 35mm f2 APO-Lanthar Aspherical VM - Front

What does APO stand for? How is it different from normal lenses and how does it compare with Leica’s new Summicron 35mm f2 APO? There were so many questions in my head before I bought this lens. This Voigtlander 35mm f2 APO is my third APO lens, my first one was an Alpa Kern Macro Switar 50mm f1.9 AR and the second one was Voigtlander 50mm f2 APO. After trying the VM 50mm f2 APO, I was amazed with the sharpness and 3D rendering from it and I always have preference on vintage lenses than modern lenses but let me tell you more about it!

Voigtlander APO Lanthar

APO means Apochromatic, so an APO lens has better correction of spherical aberration and chromatic than a non-APO lens. Umm…so what exactly does that mean in English? 

It brings three wavelengths into focus in the same plane (red, green and blue)So when you use this lens to take images against the light, flare resistance is promising with minimal ghosting. Also, when looking at the highlights, the purple fringe (colour aberration) is well corrected. Some say it performs better on BW because it corrects the colour and it will have significant improvement when we shoot with black and white film (I will try it and let you know).

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@F2.0 Central, Hong Kong
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@F5.6 Central, Hong Kong
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@F2.0 Central, Hong Kong
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@F2.0 Central, Hong Kong
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@F2.0 Central, Hong Kong

Lens Construction

Voigtlander 35mm f2 APO is the second APO M mount lens released by Cosina Japan. The lens was well made in Japan taking a filter size of 49mm. Engraved with its signature APO-Lanthar logo and their usual silver rim in the front. It consists of 11 lens elements in 9 groups with two double sided aspherical elements and five with abnormal partial dispersion and floating elements to enhance close focusing. Its closest focusing distance is 0.5m live view or 0.7m rangefinder coupled. The thing I love most is the super smooth focusing ring and the scallop is perfect for grip.

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Voigtlander 35mm f2 APO-Lanthar Aspherical VM - Front

Sharpness

Great sharpness, from my memory the Summicron 50mm f2 ASPH APO is a little sharper than this Voigtlander but this lens looks more natural to me. I normally shoot film and I prefer vintage looking lenses because their sharpness looks comfortable and not enhanced but think this lens is well designed on film and digital. Sharpness is really not my thing but this 35mm APO and 50mm APO from Voigtlander is too convincing and changed my mind.

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@F2.0 Central, Hong Kong
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@F2.0 Central, Hong Kong
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@F2.0 Central, Hong Kong
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@F2.0 Central, Hong Kong

Bokeh

It’s big brother 50mm APO-Lanthar is known for its circular bokeh. With no exception, this lovely 35mm f2 lens also has the same feature creating round aperture from aperture blades at F2, F2.8, F5.6 and F16. It is quite easy to spot the roundness of the bokeh when you capture images at these aperture range and the result is pleasant because I used to own the Summilux 50mm f1.4 ASPH but at F2 the aperture is not round so the bokeh is not that great and I feel like it is quite unnatural to use but this Voigtlander’s bokeh is creamy and passed my standard in terms of “nice” bokeh.

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@F2.0 Central, Hong Kong
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@F2.0 Central, Hong Kong

Digital Performance

I cannot justify myself with a $8,796 Leica Summicron 50mm APO so I only tried it once and the lens was lended by Leica Hong Kong to my friend. This is the only chance I will get a f2.0 lens at such a reasonable price. Unless I have a chance to try the new Summicron 35mm f2.0 APO otherwise I will stick to this lens or other f1.4 asph lenses instead. Overall digital performance is extraordinary, especially to green and blue. Slightly cool in colour tone which is the usual Voigtlander style (Leica usually warmer) unless you place two lenses size by size it is hard to tell the difference.

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@F2.0 Central, Hong Kong
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Accessories

This lens takes the LH-13 hood, I guess not all of the Voigtlander lenses includes lens hood, I would prefer them to have a basic hood and an upgraded hood that you can get if you want like the Voigtlander 35mm f1.4 I (Version 1).

Thought on this 35/2 APO Lanthar

Overall it is such a great lens, great value for money. Honestly, I was so surprised with the 50mm f2 APO Lanthar at first and then decided to get this as well. If you have seen my other reviews, I mainly shoot vintage Leica lenses and mostly with film, this time is the first modern lens that I would like to try at F2.0 and I am going to do more in depth testing with this lens on black and white film. I am going to develop some in Easter Holiday and hopefully share some results with all of you!

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@F2.0 Central, Hong Kong
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@F2.0 Central, Hong Kong
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@F2.0 Central, Hong Kong
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@F2.0 Central, Hong Kong

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2 Comments

  1. Great review, I also am similar, bought the fifty apo and was amazed at it on film both slide and B&W. I am sorely tempted to buy the 35mm too.

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