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Thread: Voigtlaender Apo Lanthar

  1. #1

    Voigtlaender Apo Lanthar

    I recently purchased a Linhof IV Technika which came with a Symmar 5,6/150mm. The lens has some fungus inside, nevertheless I love the image-quality despite that its very soft and has problems handling backlight situations. Thats why I purchased an additional lens on ebay and thought I will try out the famous Voigtlaender Apo-Lanthar 4.5 / 150mm and see what it's all about. I payed 550 US $ for a very clean lens which came in a Synchro-Compur shutter ... (maybe that was too much ? I am not very familiar with the value of vintage Voigtlander lenses). But when I inspected the lens I noticed that the front element has a serialnumber and the rear-element does not. Symmar lenses have the serial# engraved on both parts. Also the glass of the frontelement is perfectly clean but the rear shows several tiny airbubbles. Is it possible that the rearelement is not the original part ? Plus is there a way to figure out the age / production-year by means of the serial# ?

    many thanks in advance for your comments

  2. #2

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    Voigtlaender Apo Lanthar

    It's important for the serial numbers of both elements of an "old" Symmar to match, but I can't think of any reason for the Lanthar to have a number on the rear element. Little bubbles in the glass was once the sign of high quality optical glass -- not to worry.
    Please be sure to post your impression of the Apo-Lanthar lens (after you've used it for a while).
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  3. #3
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
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    Voigtlaender Apo Lanthar

    The rear group of the APO-Lanthar contains the lens element that gave it its name. It is made of a glass containing Lanthanum. Most of these special glasses are rather tricky to make, requiring the glass to be just barely melted for a minimum of time. This automatically leads to the prescence of tiny air bubbles.

    There are bubbles in my 150mm APO-Lanthar as well, and they don't harm the image quality at all. It's good - it's my favorite 150mm lens, and I own/have owned about 11 different ones.

    The price you paid is good.

  4. #4

    Voigtlaender Apo Lanthar



    It's relatively uncommon for both front and rear cells to be labeled with a serial number. Don't worry about it.





    Besides lanthanum, the high-index, low-dispersion glass used in the Apo-Lanthar also contains thorium. This makes the glass slightly radioactive and subject to discoloring with age. If you look carefully, you will probably notice a warm, or tea color to your lens. This can be mostly removed with exposure to UV light.
    Today there are other high-index, low dispersion glasses that don't use thorium. There is more information about thorium glass on my Aero-Ektar webpage: http://home.earthlink.net/~michaelbr...aeroektar.html.


  5. #5

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    Voigtlaender Apo Lanthar

    For $550 you probably could have gotten a near new, multicoated 150mm set in a Copal shutter.

  6. #6

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    Voigtlaender Apo Lanthar

    Mine is similar, late in Synchro Compur. It does not have a serial on the rear element.

    $550 is a average price IMO. I paid about $100 less for mine with a sticky shutter that only needed a cleaning.

    They have a wonderful character, like the Heliars from which they were derived. However, all of them seem to shoot "warm" if you shoot color; the yellow-orange cast is very noticeable. Some attribute this to the "browning" from the radioactive glass some of the Apo-Lanthars used, but mine does not show a cast and is not radioactive. I asked Jim at MPEX and he said all of them he's used exhibit that "warmness" - but they're great for B&W.

    They also have little excess coverage on 4x5 though.

    Steve

  7. #7

    Voigtlaender Apo Lanthar

    I too was fortunate that I found a late 150mm Apo Lanthar in a Compur shutter. Serial number is only on the front barrel not on the rear. I haven't shot any color with mine yet but what blk. & wht. polaroids I've shot have been sharp and contrasty even without a filter. Perhaps the slightly discoloured glass acts as a filter. You can do a Google search for "Age of Voigtlander Lenses " to be directed to a post with a list of Voigtlander serial numbers and dates. This is an invaluable resource. I dated my 180mm Collinear lens to 1900 and my 150mm Apo-Lanthar to 1965. As to your Symmar if you want a crisper image from that lens I would send it in to Paul Ebel for lens cleaning. My Symmar was hazy and produced lackluster images until it was cleaned. Just a thought. Enjoy both your lenses and your new Technika.

  8. #8

    Voigtlaender Apo Lanthar

    Steve, how do you know that your Apo-Lanthar is not radioactive?

  9. #9
    the Docter is in Arne Croell's Avatar
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    Voigtlaender Apo Lanthar

    I'd like to chime in with Michael here. No discernible color cast does not necessarily mean it doesn't contain Thorium glass. It could either be a late model (what is the serial number, Steve?) or has seen a lot of UV to bleach the coloration. I had the chance to compare an early 1950's and a late 1960's version of the 210mm Apo-L. and both showed the same radioactivity, but the discoloration in the older one was much more pronounced. Btw, the lens element containing the Thorium and Lanthanum is the front element, not the back.

  10. #10
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
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    Voigtlaender Apo Lanthar

    Arne, that's strange.

    Because when I took a Geiger counter to my lens, the rear group was clearly radioactive, the front not...

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