Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar Review

October 10, 2017 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar is a manual-focus standard prime lens for Sony Alpha 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras that can also double up as an effective macro lens thanks to its 31cm / 12.2" minimum focus distance and maximum magnification of 1:2. It also features an aperture range of f/2-f/22 and a ten-bladed circular diaphragm for smoother bokeh blur in out-of-focus areas. The lens is comprised of 10 elements in 8 groups, has a precision-engineered full-metal casing, and weighs in at 625 grams. The Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar is priced at £749 / $1059 / 999 Euros.

Ease of Use

With a maximum diameter of 78mm and a length of 91mm, the Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar is a slightly longer than standard fixed focal length optic that's well-matched to Sony's full-frame mirrorless camera bodies, such as the A7R II that we tested it with. Weighing in at 625g, it is quite a heavy lens, and you should also note that the length of the lens extends to just over 125mm when set to the minimum focusing distance of 31cm. It is also compatible with Sony APS-C cameras like the A6500, where it will produce a 97.5mm equivalent focal length.

Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO LantharThe Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO LantharThe Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO LantharThe Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar lens mounted on a Sony A7R II

Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO LantharThe Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar lens alongside a Sony A7R II

The Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar boasts superb build quality, with all markings being both engraved and painted. The lens has an all-metal casing and features a metal E-mount bayonet. With no need for a zoom ring, the manual focussing ring spans a significant width of the lens barrel and is exceptionally smooth to operate, complete with a useful depth of field scale and even a reproduction ratio scale. It also has a very large rotation angle which helps to enable precise focusing and it moves smoothly without any play at all. The precise engravings in meters and feet, together with the depth of focus scale, help make manual focusing a veritable pleasure, especially in conjunction with the excellent peaking and focus magnification features offered by the Sony A-series cameras.

Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO LantharThe side of the Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar lens

Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO LantharThe front of the Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar lens

Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO LantharThe rear of the Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar lens

The Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar has 10 lens elements in 8 groups, including one aspherical element to achieve greater sharpness, and an apochromatic design that promises to eliminate longitudinal chromatic aberrations. A ten-bladed rounded diaphragm, combined with the fast maximum aperture, helps provide very smooth bokeh blur.

A manual aperture ring is located at the end of the lens barrel, with clickable 1/3EV stops ranging from f/2 to f/22. Unlike some previous Voigtlander lenses that we've reviewed, you can't toggle the aperture click on or off, making it less suitable for video use when you really want it to rotate smoothly for silent operation during movie recording.

Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO LantharThe side of the Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar lens

Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO LantharThe side of the Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar lens

Very usefully, the Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar has electronic contacts so that it can communicate fully with the camera body, which means that EXIF data is saved and features like focus magnification, in-camera image stabilization and lens corrections can be used. There’s no optical image stabilisation actually built into the lens, but the short-ish focal length and fast maximum aperture largely alleviate the need for it. A high quality removable metal circular-shaped lens hood is supplied in the box, which can be fitted by screwing it into the threads on the front of the lens.

Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO LantharThe Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar lens in-hand

Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO LantharThe Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar lens with the supplied lens hood fitted

Focal Range

The 65mm focal length gives an angle of view of 38 degrees on a 35mm full frame sensor.

 Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO LantharField of view at 65mm

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberration (purple fringing) is rarely an issue with the Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar, so much so that we couldn't find any instances of fringing in our test shots.

Light Fall-off and Distortion

Light fall-off is noticeable wide open at f/2, though this is to be expected for such a fast lens and can easily be corrected in Photoshop. Stop down to f/5.6 and the vignetting is already less prominent, but it is still visible when shooting pale scenes that fill the frame.

Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar

Macro

The 31cm / 12.2" minimum focus distance and maximum magnification of 1:2 makes the lens very useful for shooting reasonably close subjects.

Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar

Bokeh

A major appeal of fast, wide-aperture prime lenses is their ability to produce an eye-catching separation between a sharp subject and a very soft out-of-focus background. The Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar generates smooth out of focus areas through its use of a ten-bladed diaphragm, which provides smoother bokeh than nine, seven or five-blade designs. Bokeh is however a fairly subjective part of a lens’ image quality, so check out these 100% crops to see the Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar’s bokeh quality for yourself.

Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar
   
Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar Voigtlander 65mm F2 Macro APO Lanthar

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.