Voigtlander 110mm F2.5 Macro APO Lanthar Review
The Voigtlander 110mm F2.5 Macro APO Lanthar is a manual-focus 1:1 macro prime lens for Sony Alpha 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras.
It has a 35cm / 13.7" minimum focus distance and maximum magnification of 1:1. It also features an aperture range of f/2.5-f/22 and a ten-bladed circular diaphragm for smoother bokeh blur in out-of-focus areas. The lens is comprised of 14 elements in 12 groups, has a precision-engineered full-metal casing, and weighs in at 771 grams. It features electrical contacts for storing exif data and a distance encoder to enable support for 5-axis image stabilisation on compatible Sony cameras.
The Voigtlander 110mm F2.5 Macro APO Lanthar is priced at £875 / $1099. Voigtlander lens kindly loaned by the UK & Ireland distributor www.flaghead.co.uk
Ease of Use
With a maximum diameter of 78.4mm and a length of 99.7mm, the Voigtlander 110mm F2.5 Macro APO Lanthar is well-matched to Sony's full-frame mirrorless camera bodies, such as the A7R III that we tested it with.
Weighing in at 771g, it is quite a heavy lens though, and you should also note that the length of the lens extends substantially to just over 160mm when set to the minimum focusing distance of 35cm. It is also compatible with Sony APS-C cameras like the A6500, where it will produce a 165mm equivalent focal length.
The Voigtlander 110mm F2.5 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, both of which are supported by this lens.
The Voigtlander 110mm F2.5 Macro APO Lanthar has 14 lens elements in 12 groups and has 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 front of the lens barrel next to the camera body, with clickable 1/3EV stops ranging from f/2.5 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.
Very usefully, the Voigtlander 110mm F2.5 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 58mm threads on the front of the lens.
The 110mm focal length gives an angle of view of 22.6 degrees on a 35mm full frame sensor.
Chromatic aberration (purple fringing) is rarely an issue with the Voigtlander 110mm F2.5 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/2.5, 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.
The 35cm minimum focus distance and maximum magnification of 1:1 obviously makes this lens extremely good for shooting close subjects, as in this photo of a Compact Flash memory card.
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 110mm F2.5 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 of the Voigtlander 110mm F2.5 Macro APO Lanthar’s bokeh quality at its various aperture settings to see for yourself.
In order to show you how sharp this lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.