I have only owned two lenses since I began photographing professionally: a 50mm and an 85mm. This setup has suited me perfectly fine for well over a decade. When I need another focal length, I rent it or borrow it. Somewhere along the line, I developed an appreciation of storytelling. The more I choose to incorporate backgrounds instead of creamy bokeh, the more my 85mm sits on a shelf collecting dust. I have mainly chosen a 50mm or wider for my portraiture. I have wanted a longer focal length a few times, but not enough to use my 85mm. The Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 65mm f2 lens would be an excellent option for portraits in these cases.
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Voigtlander has done a fantastic job with their current APO lens lineup. The lenses correct many unwanted aberrations without sacrificing character. The 65mm lens does not have as much character as some of the Leica lenses I have come to love. It could very well be that Sony sensors are flatter than some of the other options out there. Regardless, I appreciate that Voigtlander is not going the boring, clinical route. But, true to the Voigtlander blueprint, there is zero weather-sealing. Are the optics enough to overlook this? Keep reading and decide for yourself.
The Big Picture
The Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 65mm f2 lens is a great in-between focal length that does not require a zoom. Photographers who prefer prime lenses will appreciate this option. It fits comfortably in the hands and is versatile enough for various applications. It is an attractive option for Sony full-frame and crop sensor shooters.
Voigtlander has reduced imperfections without making images from the 65mm APO lens boring and clinical. There is still enough character to maintain appeal. The 65mm APO lens produces beautifully sharp images with lovely colors and micro contrast. Contrast enthusiasts may want to bump it 1-2 points either in-camera or during post-production when photographing in flatter light. Otherwise, images require minimal editing.
True to form, Voigtlander offers zero weather-sealing with this lens. It held up well in a moderate sprinkling of rain and some dusty wind. However, I would not recommend depending on this lens in more adverse weather.
We are giving the Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 65mm f2 lens four out of five stars. You can rent one from Lensrentals or buy one for $949 if you’re ready to take the plunge.
Pros and Cons
- Lovely colors
- Sharp with ample details
- Minimal imperfections
- Easy to work with
- I still prefer Leica’s contrast and slightly more vibrant colors.
- No weather-resistance
We rented a Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 65mm f2 lens, Sony a1, and Sony a6600 from Lensrentals.
Voigtlander’s APO 65mm f2 lens is not innovative. The APO functionality reduces a lot of imperfections without becoming boring. It strikes an outstanding balance many companies strive to achieve.
The Voigtlander Lanthar 65mm lens weighs 1.6 pounds and fits comfortably in the palm of the hand. It follows a classic design. The depth of field scale is closest to the lens mount, followed by a textured focus ring. I appreciate how Voigtlander utilizes different textures and shapes here. A click-style aperture ring sits at the end of the lens.
This is what it looks like from the side.
The 65mm lens accommodates a 67mm-sized filter.
The Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 65mm lens has an all-metal design with varying textures. It looks and feels like a premium lens. However, its lack of weather-sealing prevents it from claiming that accolade. The 65mm lens performs well in moderate light rain and dusty wind gusts. But, in demanding weather conditions, I would recommend something else as your primary workhorse.
The Voigtlander 65mm lens will feel familiar to photographers who have worked with manual focus. It will also feel familiar to those who have used Fujifilm or Leica M cameras. It was easy to see the image slide into focus when photographing with the Sony a1. Photographers less familiar with manual focus will find this camera easy to use, benefiting from the depth of field scale, magnification, and focus peaking on full-frame bodies. It all quickly becomes second nature.
Ease Of Use
The contrasting textures and shapes of the Voigtlander 65mm lens make aperture and focal adjustments a breeze. Sony’s viewfinders are nice and bright, making it easy to see when images slide into focus. The magnification and focus peaking are fantastic in poorly lit environments. It is also nice to rely on this when your eyes become tired from manual focusing.
The Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 65mm f2 lens produces lovely, sharp images with plenty of detail. Bokeh is luscious and plentiful when you desire it. The APO lens does an excellent job of maintaining vibrant colors and micro contrast. Imperfections are minimal and there is plenty of character.
Maximize bokeh by utilizing minimum focusing distance and widest aperture. Its 10-blade diaphragm creates a slight geometrical-shaped bokeh as opposed to perfectly round. It is round enough that subjects pop and details melt into the background.
The colors produced by the Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 65mm lens are vibrant. Skin tones are true to life and easy to work with. Contrast is plentiful in direct light. I did find myself wanting more in flatly lit environments. Contrast was less abundant than Leica APO offerings, although it was suitable. You might want to bump it in-camera or during post-production if you are a contrast enthusiast.
The Voigtlander APO 65mm lens extinguishes most unwanted imperfections. Highlight fringing is almost non-existent, and verticals require very little, if any, correcting. Lens flares are an infrequent occurrence, but sun and light stars are still achievable. Images need minimal editing to get them where you want them.
The aspherical 65mm f2 lens is tack-sharp. The outermost corners and edges of the frame are soft at f2, so stop down to f2.8 or further and watch sharpness extend through the frame. If you need to make a significant crop to the image, there is plenty of detail.
Extra Image Samples
From day one, The Phobographer has been huge on transparency with our audience. Nothing from this review is sponsored. Further, lots of folks will post reviews and show lots of editing in the photos. The problem then becomes that anyone and everyone can do the same thing. They’re not showing what the product can do. So we have a section in our Extra Image Samples area to show edited and unedited photos. From this, you can make a decision for yourself.
Who Should Buy The Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 65mm Lens?
Voigtlander has done an excellent job with this APO lens. As with all the brand’s lenses, its biggest drawback is the lack of weather sealing. That will be a deal-breaker for some photographers. However, the image quality and price point might be enough to sway them.
Lack of weather-sealing would be a deal-breaker if I needed this to be an all-around workhorse lens. Due to their versatility, I would prefer Voigtlander’s 21mm and 50mm lenses as all-around workhorses. Although, the 65mm APO-Lanthar would be a great compliment to other primes for a different perspective. In that case, the $949 price point would be justified and well spent.
The 65mm APO-Lanthar is a welcome addition to the Sony lineup. It is a fantastic choice for portraits, weddings, detail shots, landscapes, and street photographers. It produces images with beautiful colors and subtle micro-contrast that requires minimal editing.
You can rent one from Lensrentals or buy one for $949 if you’re ready to take the plunge.
Tech specs are from the Lensrentals listing.
- Angle of View: 38°
- Autofocus: Manual Focus Only
- Brand: Voigtlander
- Compatibility: Full Frame
- Diameter: 3.1″
- Dimensions: Length: 3.6″
- Filter Size: 67.0mm
- Focal Length: 65.0-65.0
- Groups/Elements: 8/10
- Hood Included: Yes
- Image Stabilization: No
- Item Type: Lens
- Lens Type: Macro
- Magnification: 0.5x
- Max Aperture: 2.0
- Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1:2
- Minimum Aperture: 22.0
- Minimal Focusing Distance: 1.0 feet
- Mount: Sony E
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