Lens review

Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 50 mm f/2 E

15 July 2021
Maciej Latałło

3. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between basic parameters of the Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 2/50 and other 50 mm f/1.8-2.0 instruments designed for mirrorless cameras. It is clear that the Voigtlander is optically the most complex lens, out-rivalled in this class of equippment only the much bigger Nikkor. The Nikkor is also the only lens heavier than the Voigtlander; mind you the significant weight of the tested lens stemms not only from a high number of optical elements but also from the fact that its whole barrel is made of metal.

In the photo below the Apo Lanthar 2/50 is positioned next to other Voigtlander lenses – a fast Micro 4/3 standard, the Nokton 0.95/25 on the left, and the Apo Lanthar 2/65 Macro on the right.

Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 50 mm f/2 E - Build quality

The tested lens starts with a metal mount which surrounds contacts and a rear element, 24 mm in diameter. On the metal frame of the mount you find the serial number of the lens and an inscription COSINA CO., LTD. The rear element is surrounded by a black, well matted part of the barrel. When the focus is set at infinity the element is positioned right under the level of the contacts; when you pass to the minimum focusing distance it hides over 1 cm deep inside the barrel.

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Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 50 mm f/2 E - Build quality

The proper body of the lens is made of metal; it starts with an immobile ring, 8 mm wide. On that ring you see a depth of field scale with marks by f/16, f/11, f/8, f/5.6 and f/4.0 (the f/5.6 mark is not inscribed due to lack of space). On both sides of the scale there are some scallops for a firmer, more secure grip. Behind the ribbing, on the left, you get a red dot, making an alignment with a camera easier, and an inscription “E-mount” and then another inscription “Lens made in Japan”. On the right you see '50' number– its the focal length of the lens.

Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 50 mm f/2 E - Build quality

A manual focus ring takes the most of space on the body of the lens as it is 30 mm wide. The middle of the ring features significant ribbing with comfortable finger grooves for a better grip. Underneath you see a distance scale expressed in feet and meters.The ring moves evenly and is properly damped; running though the whole distance scale needs a turn through an angle of as much as 150 degrees or so, more than enough for comfortable focusing.

Turning the manual focus ring moves the whole optical system so the whole front part of the lens with the front element extends forward. The lens doesn't change its focal length and it significantly limits 'focus breathing', a fact that undoubtedly will make video-recording users very happy.

Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 50 mm f/2 E - Build quality

Then you see an aperture ring which enlarged part is 5mm wide, with fine ribs to improve your grip.The ring moves every 1/3 EV stop.

The lens ends with an immobile part of the barrel on which you can find a colourful logo and an inscription 'APO- LANTHAR'. That part doesn’t feature a typical hood mount as in this case the hood is screwed into the threads at the front of the lens.

Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 50 mm f/2 E - Build quality

The front element is 29 mm in diameter and quite flat. It is surrounded by a part of the barrel with inscriptions stating the name and parameters of the lens, along with a non-rotating filter thread, 49 mm in diameter.

Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 50 mm f/2 E - Build quality

The optical construction of the lens consists of 10 elements positioned in 8 groups. 5 elements are made of abnomal partial dispersion glass and two are double-sided aspherical. Inside, you can also find an aperture with as many as 12 blades which can be closed down to a value of f/16. From f/4.0 onwards it provides an interesting star-like shape.

It's worth mentioning the fact that optical constructions of Sony FE and VM Voigtlanders Apo Lathar 2/50 differ from each other. Both consist of 10 elements positioned in 8 groups but the shapes of these elements are a bit different; apart from that, the VM model features just two anomalous partial dispersion glass elements, not five like the Sony FE version of the lens.

Buyers get in the box with the lens a simple hood, a rear cap and two front caps: one of them fits the lens and the second fits the hood.

Voigtlander Apo Lanthar 50 mm f/2 E - Build quality