Apo-Lanthar 35mm and 50mm f2 for Nikon Z
I use several different 50mm lenses on my Nikon Z7. When I noticed that the Apo-Lanthar 50mm is now also available for Nikon Z mount, I naturally wanted to try it out immediately.
Thanks to the support of uig (united imaging group), especially the Voigtländer brand, it was also possible to get one for testing - and even better: the current 35mm f2 Apo-Lanthar came directly with it. The two lenses differ somewhat in size and weight, and of course in focal length. However, their characteristics are almost identical, so I'll cover both in this review (and therefore simply write "the Apo-Lanthar").
The Apo-Lanthar snaps cleanly onto the Z mount. It is very nice that it is not simply a VM Leica lens with a different bayonet, as some manufacturers solve this cheaply, but here also the corresponding electronics come into play. So the lens data gets transferred. This is already practical for the exposure values, but with Nikon it also leads to the focus point turning green when focusing is successful. This helps to focus very quickly even without peaking ( peaking always bothers me) and without a magnifier. Unfortunately, the aperture control is not transmitted to the camera, so that you actually focus with the working aperture. For Leica M users this is not important, but with a mirrorless Nikon this becomes interesting in low light.
The focus ring is damped and runs cleanly. The aperture ring clicks just right, and you can adjust the aperture in thirds. This allows for very precise exposure in manual mode. The aperture ring sits at the outer end of the lens and is therefore very easy to reach. About 160° is the focus travel, which leads to quite accurate focusing.
In terms of weight and size, the Apo-Lanthar is well balanced on the Nikon Z.
As I expected, the Apo-Lanthar renders very sharply. At open aperture you will find some noticeable vignetting, but this is gone by f2.8. I like to use some vignetting, so I find it very pleasant this way. There is hardly any distortion in the image, the Apo-Lanthar is very well corrected. Also pleasant is the close-up limit of 0.45m with the 50mm lens. There you can also see that this ist not just a Leica lens that was converted.
The image quality is very good - at least in the areas for which the lens can be held responsible. The rest is usually the photographer's fault.
After the rather sober description, now a personal word about the Apo-Lanthar: I really like the image effect. It reminds me a lot of my favorite 50mm lens (for Nikon), the ZEISS Makro-Planar 50mm f2. You can slide into focus very well slowly. It grips very comfortably and therefore is a pleasure to work with.
I would like to see more choices for the Z mount - probably something will be coming there. And the whole program again for the L mount? I have some wishes there.
Personally, I can recommend the Apo-Lanthar (and that goes for both focal lengths) for a purchase. You just have to know as a buyer beforehand that it is of course manually focused....
I like it. Give it a try if you are a Nikon Z user! The quieter and slower manual work is a nice process too, after all.
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