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Voigtlander FE 35mm f/2 APO-Lanthar vs Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM

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re: World’s Best 35mm Lens? Voigtlander FE 35mm f/2 APO-Lanthar for Sony Mirrorless and Leica M Coming in April

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM
Voigtlander FE 35mm f/2

Really cool to see two new top-flight 35mm focal length prime lenses showing up for Sony mirrorless. Maybe the world’s best 35mm lens vs Sony’s f/1.4 offering should make for a really interesting comparison.

Accordingly, I am deferring review of the Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM until the Voigtlander FE 35mm f/2 APO-Lanthar becomes available in April. The choice of manual focus or autofocus will surely decide the matter for some (in favor of AF), but size/weight and performance for others.

For landscape and those who wish to travel compactly/lightly, the Voigtlander offering is unbeatable at 352 grams vs 524 grams for the Sony, and much more compact dimensions.

The Sigma FE 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art is superb, but it is huge and heavy (1090 grams). Still, I should probably try to get all three together because the Sigma 35/1.2 was really impressive when I reviewed it.

My expectation of a “good sample” is highest for the Voigtlander FE 35mm f/2 APO-Lantharbecause of excellent quality control at Cosina Voigtlander, and the simplest lens design of the three. It can be tough getting a top-performing sample of exotic lens designs of f/1.4 and f/1.2 speed—the Sigma 35/1.2 had some sample variation issues.

It also makes me wonder: for those who need a compact/lightweight top performer for some uses (the Voigtlander), but also want a fast high performer autofocus lens, maybe the Voigtlander and Sigma could turn out to be fine choices as a combo? Also, for some uses, the best overall illumination at f/1.4 or f/2 might be a serious factor for consideration, like astrophotography, or 'street' shooting.

Finally, characteristics like distortion and field of view might be considerations (the Sigma 35/1.2 has substantial barrel distortion). I’d expect the Voigtlander to have the least distortion (TBD), and it does have the widest field of view. When used, distortion correction has a real impact on actual micro contrast, so a low-distortion lens like the Zeiss Loxia 35mm f/2 is a big plus.

Please use these links to buy, thank you. See also Voigtlander for Sony.

Eric B writes:

I am very much looking forward to your reviews of the new 35mm E mount lenses. I have the Voigtlander 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar and it is truly spectacular.

I wonder if you might include the interesting Sigma FE 35mm f/2 DG DN in that group. It appears to be light, relatively inexpensive, and desirable as part of a small prime set for Sony E.

I do not question the excellence of the Sigma f/1.2 but at 1 kg, (compared to the f/2 DG DN at 325 grams, the CV f/2 at 352 grams and the even the Sony GM at 524 grams) it will likely never see the inside of my camera bag whereas the Sony GM and/or the CV 35 APO are decent candidates. It’s great to have so many excellent choices. Thanks for all you do.

DIGLLOYD: Yes, I should probably add the Sigma FE 35mm f/2 DG DN Contemporary to the grouping. Though I have yet to be satisfied with any of the Contemporary lenses performance, with 3 aspherical elements, the Sigma 35/2 might turn out to be a fine performer if it can control field curvature and be free of focus shift issues. Its sibling the Sigma FE 45mm f/2.8 DG DN Contemporary makes visually appealing images, but disappointed me in field use and could not perform satisfactorily on the mosaic test. And when I look at some sample images with the Sigma 35/2, they looks pretty poor in the outer zones on distance scenes.

Top-class 35mm lenses for Sony mirrorless
  Voigtlander FE50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar Sigma FE 35mm f/2 DG DN Art Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM Sigma FE 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art
Aperture range: f/2 - f/16
1/3 stop clicks or stepless aperture
f/2 - f/22 f/1.4 - 16 f/1.2 - f/16
Iris blades: 12 blades
circular aperture through f/16
9, rounded 11, rounded 11 blades, rounded
Focusing range: 13.8 in = 35 cm - INF 10.6 in = 27 cm - INF 9.8 in = 25 cm - INF 11.81 in / 30 cm - INF
Reproduction ratio: 1:6.46 0.18X = 1:5.5 0.26X = 1:3.84 0.19X = 1:5.26
Angle of view: 62.2° 63.4° 63° 63.4°
Number of elements/groups: 11 elements in 9 groups
5 special dispersion glass
2 double-sided aspherical
10 elements in 9 groups 14 elements in 10 groups 17 elements in 12 groups
Filter thread: 49mm 58mm 67mm 82mm
Weight (nominal): 352g 11.5 oz = 325g 524g 38.45 oz = 1090g
Dimensions: 62.6 x 67.3 mm 2.8 x 2.7 in = 70 X 67.4mm 76 X 96 mm 3.46 x 5.36 in = 87.8 x 136.2 mm
Includes: Front and Rear Lens Caps
Lens Hood
Limited 1-Year Warranty
LH577-01 Lens Hood
Sigma LCF-55 III 55mm Lens Cap
Sigma Rear Cap LCR II for Sony E Mount Lenses
Limited 1-Year Warranty + Limited 3-Year U.S.A. Warranty Extension
ALC-F67S 67mm Front Lens Cap
ALC-R1EM Rear Lens Cap
ALC-SH164 Lens Hood
Lens Case
Limited 1-Year Warranty
Lens Case LH878-02 Lens Hood
Sigma LCF-82 III 82mm Lens Cap
Sigma Rear Cap LCR II
Limited 1-Year Warranty + Limited 3-Year U.S.A. Warranty Extension

Image below from Patriarch Grove from Above At Dusk, View Southwest.

Sunset at Patriarch Grove
f1.2 @ 0.4 sec electronic shutter, ISO 100; 2019-10-24 18:24:21
Sony A7R IV + Sigma FE 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art + polarizer Breakthrough Photography X4
ENV: Patriarch Grove, altitude 11500 ft / 3505 m, 45°F / 7°C
RAW: Enhance Details, LACA corrected, +40 Shadows, -80 Highlights, +40 Whites, +10 Contrast, USM {8,50,0}

[low-res image for bot]


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