Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Voigtlander Lanthar 50mm f2.8 from Vitoret D
Scored 3 broken rangefinder cameras from the antique market on Sunday. One of them is the Voigtlander Vitoret D with a Lanthar 50mm f2.8 lens, which I have been using for the last few days and I really enjoy it.
It's commonly believed that the original Lanthar lenses were made with glass containing lanthanum, a rare earth element that gives the glass high refractive index. Later ones made by Cosina, like the Lanthar 90mm f3.5 and the 125mm f2.5, do not contain lanthanum, I believe. Of course, lenses containing lanthanum does not automatically mean great lens by default. The Color-Lanthar 42mm f2.8 that I tried was OK, but not great. This 50mm f2.8 Lanthar, I like it quite a bit more.
The Lanthar 50mm f2.8 contains 4 aperture blades, as oppose to most of the old Voigtlander rangefinder lenses with 5. This creates interesting bokeh, like the enlarging lenses I tried, here, here, and here. But when shot wide open, the bokeh looks normal, of course, and it's quite nice in fact.
I also have no complains about the optical performance of the lens, given that it's not top of the line lens. Wide open the center of the frame is acceptably sharp, but the outer edges are mushy, but improves as the lens is stopped down, but the edges are still not critically sharp until f16. It's interesting how much difference between f11 and f16. But of course the overall sharpness starts to suffer a bit at f16 due to diffraction limit, though still excellent.
To me, it's acceptable for a lens to have at least one aperture that provides uniform sharpness when needed. My shooting style does not require uniform sharpness most of the time and when I do need it, I can stop it down to get it.
Overall, I think it's a very good lens for the money. The Vitoret D I got was $20, and it was very easy to remove the lens.
All pictures below were taken with the Voigtlander Lanthar 50mm f2.8 and Sony A7.