- Outstanding build quality with precision metal construction
- Smooth, perfectly damped focus ring
- Exceptionally sharp across the entire frame from f/2
- Smooth and neutral bokeh
- Excellent color and contrast
- Very low chromatic aberration
- Minimal distortion
- Excellent flare resistance
- No weathersealing
- Moderately high vignetting
I’ve had the pleasure to review the two best 50mm lenses I’ve ever used in the past month. First was the Canon 50mm f/1.2L, and now this Voigtländer 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar. And while both are exceptional lenses, the design goals differ drastically. Instead of a large, fast autofocus 50mm lens, Voigtlander has crafted a small, moderate aperture lens that competes with the very best 50mm lenses ever made.
The lens is exceptionally sharp at f/2, such that it comes close to outresolving even the A7R IV’s 60 megapixel sensor across the entire image frame. Stopping down a bit yields corner to corner sharpness even using the 240 megapixel sensor-shift multi-shot mode of the A7R IV. But this lens is more than blisteringly sharp: it also has an apochromatic design with exceptionally low CA, very pleasing bokeh, excellent flare resistance and minimal distortion.
Voigtländer has crafted a modern classic with the 50mm f/2 APO-Lanthar. It’s a reference optic at 50mm and a triumph of optical design.
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