The Voigtlander 50/2 cuts a razor-sharp slice across the frame in a consistent sharp zone characteristic of a flat field (no field curvature)—exemplary, meaning right up there with the Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4 APO-Planar and surely superior to the Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH.
Roy P writes:
I assume you no longer have the Leica 50mm f/2 APO-Summicron-M ASPH.
I can confirm the Voigtlander 50/2 APO is superior to the Leica 50 APO, at least on a Sony A7R IV. Quite dramatically so.
Re. “When I first started using the Voigtlander 50/2, I was struck by just how much real depth of field it delivered—the hallmark of a superb lens.” Ditto. I can confirm the same with the Leica 50 APO and 50 Summilux-M.
It really is stunning how much more DoF the CV reels in at the same f-stop compared to the other two lenses.
One by one, my Leica M lenses are exiting. My 50 APO is now on its way out. I will keep my 50 Summilux for its OOF rendering style. At f/1.4, at dead center, it is almost as sharp as the Leica 50 APO and the CV 50 APO. Of course, it falls off very rapidly after that, and that is its uniqueness. It is also incredibly compact, half the size of the CV 50/2 APO.
DIGLLOYD: the more I shoot the Voigtlander 50/2 APO, the more I am impressed with it. I have some strong images coming to show.
Correct, I no longer own the Leica 50/2 APO. One cannot expect more than marginal performance out of Leica M lenses on Sony mirrorless in terms of center to corner performance, due to ray angle problems. Even so, I deem the Voigtlander FE 50mm f/2 APO the best 50mm lens ever produced—the Leica 50/2 APO shows its limits even at 24MP on its native Leica M platform, far less than the 60MP of the Sony A7R IV.
Below, the smart move for the landscape photographer is to buy this entire set of lenses.
Brian K writes:
Finally took the 50mm and 65mm APO Lanthars out in the field. I bought them both based on your reviews and I have to say you were spot on. Amazing glass.
I’ve been using them on a Nikon Z7 with the Techart TZE adapter and it seems the weak point is that these lenses were limited by the 45mp of the Z7. I think they might even resolve more than a 60mp sensor can handle. Just amazing. The Techart adapter is quite good, but with the Lanthars it's just a dumb adapter. Maybe firmware updates from Techart will change that. They have made me a fan of Voigtlander and the APO Lanthars.
I see that you tested the now discontinued 90mm 3.5 APO Lanthar SL-II, however that was on a D800e. Do you think that lens is as good as the 50mm and 65mm? I’m currently using a Zeiss 85mm Milvus but that lens, while excellent is just massive, and these little Lanthars are quite attractive.
DIGLLOYD: the Voigtlander 90mm f/3.5 is a fine lens, but I sold me several years ago. I would recommend the Voigtlander FE Macro APO-Lanthar 110mm f/2.5. OTOH, the 90/3.5 is considerably smaller. At this point I am unsure of how it would perform on Sony, but it was a very sharp lens. My concern was color rendition and flare—perhaps my impressions are erroneous, it’s certainly worth a look if a very compact 90mm is needed.