Voigtlander 50mm f2 APO-Lanthar Aspherical VM – Great All-Purpose Lens

Voigtlander 50mm f2 APO-Lanthar Aspherical

Lens Review

A Great All Purpose Lens

Voigtlander 50mm f2 APO-Lanthar Aspherical VM – Great All-Purpose Lens

In my last review I shared what I think about the Voigtlander 35mm f2 APO lens. This big brother 50mm APO with no exception is one of the best performing lenses from Voigtlander and they have been developing more and more user-friendly lenses such as the upcoming Vintage line 28mm f2 Aspherical. This 50mm was my first Voigtlander APO and also the first VM lens that I am so impressed with its 3D rendition

Front with Leica MP and Leicavit

Voigtlander APO Lanthar Series

APO means Apochromatic, 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 black and white because it corrects the colour and it will have significant improvement.

Lens Coating
Front with Leica MP and Leicavit
VM 50/2 APO with Kodak Vision 3 5207 250D
VM 50/2 APO with Kodak Vision 3 5207 250D

Black and White Film Performance

Finally I got some B&W film developed. Images are all taken with Kodak Double-X at ISO 400. Sharpness is great and contrast is higher than pre-aspherical lenses as usual.

50/2 APO with Kodak Double-X at ISO400
50/2 APO with Kodak Double-X at ISO400
50/2 APO with Kodak Double-X at ISO400

Amazing Flare Resistance

With the aid of Apochromatic glasses, the lens performance against direct sunlight is great. There is minimal flare or none when I try to take a picture facing the sun. Example is the photo I took during 4-5pm in Hong Kong where the light was strong. Also the highlight details recovery is gorgeous and even if I use aperture F2.0 there is no purple fringe in the highlights. I tried to capture photos during sunset where there was multiple water reflection and it still performed really well. Samples taken with Kodak Vision 3 5207 250D

50/2 APO with Kodak Vision 3 5207 250D
VM 50/2 APO with Kodak Vision 3 5207 250D
VM 50/2 APO with Kodak Vision 3 5207 250D

3D Pop and Sharpness

This lens is so SHARP! I used this lens taking portraits for my Muay Thai boxing Centre and it is insanely great in capturing all the details I need. Also at F2 and F2.8 the image separation is so great that it instantly creates the 3D look. If you are looking for a sharp and 3D lens, this 50mm APO is a lens that you don’t want to miss.

VM 50/2 APO with Leica M9P
VM 50/2 APO with Leica M9P


This 50mm APO’s aperture blades at F2, F2.8, F5.6 and F16 will form circular bokeh. 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.

Front with Leica MP and Leicavit
50/2 APO with Leica M9P (Ray from Gik Muay Thai)
50/2 APO with Leica M9P (Zeason from Gik Muay Thai)

Digital Performance

Having a chance to own this lens and knowing what APO glass can do to a lens is already enough. I don’t think I will ever get the original Leica APO 50mm or 35mm, I tried the Summicron 50mm APO once before. But for a documentary photographer or journalist, APO lenses greatly help them record all the details they need in publishing and portraying all kinds of situations.

50/2 APO with Leica M9P (Ray from Gik Muay Thai)
50/2 APO with Leica M9P (Ray from Gik Muay Thai)
50/2 APO with Leica M9P
50/2 APO with Leica M9P


Same as Voigtlander 35/2 APO. This lens takes the LH-13 hood and 49mm filter, preferring 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).

VM 50/2 APO with LH13 Hood

Viewfinder Blockage

I think with or without the hood is not a big problem.

Viewfinder of MP 0.72x without LH13 hood

General Thoughts about this 50mm APO

I am looking forward to using this lens more often as it is an all purpose lens like I said, great for capturing all the details that you want and the amazing sharpness enhances the image quality too. The silky smooth bokeh elevates this lens to another level. If you like sharpness and want a consistent lens at all aperture and having less vignette than normal lenses at wide open. This is a lens you should try!

Need Film or Camera Gears Assistance?

If you have any questions related to film photography or you would like to understand more about it, feel free to email me or simply comment below.

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  1. Nice photos
    I just got this lens and from what I see it is beautiful. Sharp, Contrasty
    I tried the 35 Ultron and it was too small for my long fingers. This lens is bigger but not too big, It is not heavy and very easy to focus.
    Great lens

  2. Hi Anson,

    I am super grateful for your review, but would still like to ask you for an extended assessment.

    I shoot film-only with a black paint MP (like you).
    I just switched from my longtime companion of an M2, on which I used a 2.8/35 Summaron as well as the 50 Summicron Rigid. With the MP I want to have black lenses and am very pondering on 35 and 50mm.
    From the external design, the two Lanthars, with their black body and red lettering and the pretty focus-ring (similar to the classic 50mm Summicron Rigid) fit perfectly to the MP.
    But is its image-quality -too- perfect for analog? Too clean?
    I’m a big fan of pastel colors, which actually go well with lenses with little contrast.
    Your test is so far the only one I have found testing an APO Lanthar on film and I like your images very much. But since they are only a few examples, I wanted to ask you again in conclusion if you think this lens would be a good fit or rather not.

    In any case, thanks for your great review!

    Kind regards from germany,

    • Hi Sebastian, thanks for your comment. In my opinion, this lens may not be the best choice for analog photography as it is too perfect and may not produce the desired character and aesthetic that some photographers look for in their analog images. While it does offer excellent sharpness and minimal flare, it may not be suitable for those seeking a more vintage or organic look. If you prefer a softer look, you may want to consider adding a 1/2 or 1/4 Tiffen Black Pro Mist filter. Alternatively, you might want to explore other lens options such as the Voigtlander Nokton 50mm f1.5 SC II, which could better cater to your needs.


  3. Many thanks for your review, this lens has definitely the best image quality quality price ratio in the whole M mount universe. Quite funny I had the Leica APO 50 twice but i ending selling it to fund a new body and a voigtlander apo 50 only size differs a bit

    • Thanks for your comment! Happy to hear you settled on a vm50apo. I think it is an interesting lens that comes with a reasonable price tag. Enjoy!

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