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Author Topic: Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar  (Read 30562 times)

Michael Erlewine

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Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar
« on: August 09, 2017, 12:24:41 PM »

I have received my copy of the Voigtlander 65 Macro APO-Lanthar f/2 lens for the Sony E-Mount. I wish that it was also available for my Nikon F-Mount cameras, sigh. An updated CV-125mm APO-Lanthar (for Nikon) is something I have looked forward to for years, so this may be as close as I get, but on Sony rather than Nikon.

Arriving in a very attractive and form-fitting package, the lens is a solidly-built all-metal lens with a focus throw of maybe 300-degrees, just what I like for a macro lens, and that degree of focus throw reminds me of the Voigtlander 125mm f/2.5 APO Lanthar, one of the great macro lenses, which I will see how it compares to. The CV-65 is a rather pretty lens.

The f/stops go from f/2 through f/22. It has 10 diagram blades, with a minimum focus range of 12.2Ē (31 cm). The reproduction ration is 1:2, which I like because I seldom require 1:1, although I am sure others will complain about that. And yes, it is manual focus, with no stabilization or tripod collar. It weighs (635 g, 1.38 lb.

Although I read online that many photographers think of a 65mm Macro as a strange length and wonder how to use it, as a close-up photographer, that length is just perfect for adding context to a shot. There are very few macro lenses that I know (or use) around this size. I had the 50mm Zeiss Makro-Nikkor, but it was not corrected well enough, so I eventually sold it rather than having it sitting there on the shelf looking nice, but never used.

I also have the 50mm Leica Elmarit-R Macro that I converted to Nikon F-Mount and I use it all the time. It is a very nice lens. Yet, the idea of a wide-angle macro lens is almost an oxymoron. There are not many of them. So, I am very happy to see this from Cosina/Voigtlander and I hope it is just the first in a line of quality APO lenses like the legendary CV-125 APO Lanthar Macro that I treasure.

So, this new 65mm Macro looks good and feels good in the hand, not too big and not too heavy, but heavy enough. How does it perform?

In a word, it performs well. It is definitely sharp enough for my work. Very sharp. The color is good and needs less correction than images from the Nikon D810. If I have any problems with it, they are same as I have with the Sony A7RII, which I am not as used to as my Nikons and IMO not as well-designed, but that is a criticism of the A7RII and not the CV-85 Macro.

If I have a single complaint, it is that there is not enough contrast to the shots, but that can, to some degree, be corrected in post, but still I am not happy about that. Perhaps some of you out there will have a different experience.

Will I keep it? Not sure yet, but perhaps not, especially with the Nikon D850 coming soon. I could use the context of a wide-angle macro, but perhaps not at the expense of having to mess with the A7RII, which while I respect that camera, I donít really like it that much. But thatís my problem. However, if they offered it in a Nikon F-Mount, I would buy it in a minute.

Here are a couple shots, with the A7RII and the CV-65 APO. The Moon Flower is a single shot, the Hibiscus is a stacked shot. In general, for about $1000, I canít say where you could find a macro lens of this quality, but I look forward to hearing from others.

I compared both the Voigtlander 125mm f/2.5 APO-Lanthar to the new Voigtlander 65mm f/2 APO-Lanthar by taking shots of the same subject and found them quite similar in terms of sharpness. I see no reason to have one over the other. For me, the only reason to keep the Voigtlander 65mm f/2.5 APO-Lanthar is for the wider angle. I am still considering keeping this new lens or sending it back.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 03:30:26 AM by Michael Erlewine »
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Michael Erlewine
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NancyP

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Re: Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2017, 12:59:05 PM »

Thanks. I particularly like the first "petunia' image, very tactile, excellent light.
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RobertJ

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Re: Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2017, 08:25:04 PM »

Nice images Michael.

I had a look at some of the Dpreview RAW files, and I feel that the lens is an absolute steal for the price, especially being an APO lens.  I would use this more for food photography and portraits, so I'm not concerned with 1:1 either.
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2017, 08:51:55 AM »

Thanks for sharing your views, and always nice photos. As I wrote before, I prefer macros in the range 90-100mm, for bugs and a bit more separation in nature macro shots.

Hopefully, there will be an update of the 125 APO for Sony FE; or, who knows, perhaps a Zeiss 100 macro in the Loxia range:) Either would make me think about trading in my Sony 90 macro G (a fine lens on its own).

Michael Erlewine

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Re: Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2017, 10:53:10 AM »

As I continue to check out the Voigtlander 65mm APO-Lanthar on the Sony A7RII, I am more impressed than I at first was. This is a very nice lens at a bargain price and one that I plan to keep. I include some shots of a stacked image, along with cropped 100% close-up. Not bad, eh?

My main reason for keeping this lens will not be for the A7RII, but for its successor, whatever better camera that might be. It took me a while to separate my possible complaints about the CV-65 from my complaints about the Sony A7RII, which are mostly about the lack of dynamic range or whatever you want to call it. To my eyes (and IMO) the Nikon D810 has a better dynamic range, especially in the low ISO department. And I value that.
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Michael Erlewine
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shadowblade

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Re: Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2017, 03:42:02 PM »

The image quality may be good, but how do you find the focal length in terms of usability, compared to other macros?

I always find macros with a short focal length problematic to use. Firstly, they require that you get very close to the subject - easier with some subjects than others, and difficult when there's even a slight breeze. Secondly, they can never seem to generate enough background blur for good subject isolation - I often have to shoot at f/16 or so to get sufficient depth of field for the subject, but then run into the problem of insufficient background blur to isolate it. At longer focal lengths, you get plenty of blur even stopped down heavily.

If it were, say, 200mm or 300mm (even if a much smaller aperture, e.g. f/5.6, to stay around the same size), I'd probably find it more useful.
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muntanela

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Re: Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2017, 06:10:17 PM »


I always find macros with a short focal length problematic to use. Firstly, they require that you get very close to the subject - easier with some subjects than others, and difficult when there's even a slight breeze. Secondly, they can never seem to generate enough background blur for good subject isolation - I often have to shoot at f/16 or so to get sufficient depth of field for the subject, but then run into the problem of insufficient background blur to isolate it. At longer focal lengths, you get plenty of blur even stopped down heavily.

If the lens is really short (wide angle) you must  go very close (6/7 cm, or even closer, from the lens front element) and really very low, in order  to let the viewer into the image (it is the function of the wide angle, isn't it?) and to have a real landscape background. In this case the problem is that  you can't get sufficiently detailed background and you have to close to f/16 or f/22...


« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 06:19:05 PM by muntanela »
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2017, 06:18:06 PM »

I find that this length of lens is perfect, if only to fill in a gap that very few lenses offer, a wider angle macro lens. So, I am not thinking of this as my only macro lens, but one (as mentioned above) that I would use to gather more context. I don't like long macros, because context is sacrificed. To me, context is what helps to tell the story of a photo.
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Michael Erlewine
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muntanela

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Re: Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2017, 06:23:33 PM »

To me, context is what helps to tell the story of a photo.

I agree, but in order to tell  a more interesting story, a real wide angle close up is better...

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Michael Erlewine

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Re: Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2017, 07:02:07 PM »

I agree, but in order to tell  a more interesting story, a real wide angle close up is better...

That's your opinion; I've got my own.
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Michael Erlewine
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muntanela

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Re: Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2017, 01:59:52 AM »

That's your opinion; I've got my own.


«a va sans dire  :)

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Michael Erlewine

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Re: Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2017, 02:12:51 AM »


«a va sans dire  :)

Or... you can say it again.
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Michael Erlewine
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NancyP

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Re: Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2017, 07:21:30 PM »

And then there's the low-end Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro for APSC. I have seen some entertaining close-up and macro photos of insects and herps with this lens. Insect being "king of the hill" in its habitat, etc. For example, http://orionmystery.blogspot.com/
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muntanela

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Re: Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2017, 09:17:26 AM »

And then there's the low-end Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro for APSC. I have seen some entertaining close-up and macro photos of insects and herps with this lens. Insect being "king of the hill" in its habitat, etc. For example, http://orionmystery.blogspot.com/

This lens attracts me very much. But... 1) At RR 1:1 it has 4.7 mm working distance and at 1:2  the WD is very few centimeters (1in ?); 2) I have read that its front element tends to break off; 3) Its aperture ring hasn't clicks, this makes difficult to stop down by counting the clicks, which is often much more practical, when I'm lying on the ground behind the camera (which often in wide angle close-ups lies on the ground); 4) I still can not find on the web a reliable, and telling, image (at about 100% enlargement) to check the real lens sharpness, especially at the smallest apertures. (My Distagon 25 f/2.8 is still good at f/22); 5) 15mm focal length makes the mountains very small. To preserve their natural (and ontological) dignity, I should go very close to them, but not always this is possible and, if possible, It would be still very difficult to convince the flower to follow me...
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Michael Erlewine

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Re: Quick Take on the Voigtlander 65mm Macro APO-Lanthar
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2017, 09:56:05 AM »

And then there's the low-end Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro for APSC. I have seen some entertaining close-up and macro photos of insects and herps with this lens. Insect being "king of the hill" in its habitat, etc. For example, http://orionmystery.blogspot.com/

I have this lens and it does do things that other lenses will not, however, it is not an expensive lens nor it is in the same ballpark as one that is pricey. I like it, but I find myself not using it, because when all things are said and done, I want that mark of a really good lens, which sadly to day, it is not... quite. As mentioned, it can do some remarkable things, but those kinds of things do not make my photography, so it turns out.
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Michael Erlewine
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