View Full Version : Apo-Lanthars... are they worth it?

16-Jan-2016, 18:10
Back in the 1970's turned down a 210mm Apo-Lanthar in a shutter for under $100.00. Now have been offered same lens for really a lot more. Are Apo-lanthars really worth it?

Presently use a 210mm G-Claron. Focusing with a f/4.5 optic would certainly be a lot easier that dealing with the G-Claron's max aperture of f/9.

Shoot B&W but am a prefectionalist at heart.


Dan Fromm
16-Jan-2016, 19:16

Do you mean perfectionist? Pictorialist?

16-Jan-2016, 19:21
There are plenty of 210/5.6 Plasmat for 20% or less of an Apo-Lanthar

Mark Sampson
16-Jan-2016, 20:20
If you've got the money, TRY IT and see. If you like it, great. If not, sell it along. If you don't have the money, spend it on film.

16-Jan-2016, 20:35
As per both of the above cited 'Excellent' Recommendations and for further Reading:


Regards, -Tim.

16-Jan-2016, 22:52
Back in the 1970's turned down a 210mm Apo-Lanthar in a shutter for under $100.00.

Wow, crazy.

I'm curious how much the one you are looking at is priced at, as I paid quite a bit for mine but it was much cheaper than any on eBay. It's a newer one in late Compur #3; I've never seen another like it for sale.

Anyway, plenty of people will say they are totally not worth it. If you shoot mostly at f/32 and prefer small lenses, it probably isn't. But they have some unique qualities. They have a "classic" rendering, but, with modern sharpness. Definitely some of my favorite lenses. I have 3 different focal lengths.

Perhaps one day when I have nothing better to do (I estimate that'll happen in 5-10 years...) I'll do a direct comparison between my 150mm APO Lanthar and 150mm f/5.6 APO Symmar, to see the differences. The Symmar was my first LF lens and I use it when I'm focusing on a system with the same filter sizes.

17-Jan-2016, 08:24
I would not buy for today's price even if I was Warren Buffet. What can I do more with an LF and even MF Apo-Lanthar that I can not do with an Heliar coated and dressed with a lens shade?
Maybe if it was only for colour film - but due to the lack of lab colour film processing available around where I live, it limits the choice even more.
I would buy one for 35mm digital to "near macro" shots, or MF with a digital back, but in colour, not for B&W as I'm sure I can have superb results with less - read much less - money.
The Apo-Lanthar has an almost unique colour signature, in black & white I find it undistinguishable from the Heliar coated.



17-Jan-2016, 08:55
A fair point regarding heliars as an alternative, but I must say the hype surrounding heliars has also pushed their prices up - I've seen 150mm heliars sell for only a bit less than one could get a lanthar for of the same FL.

17-Jan-2016, 09:03
Bought exactly as this one from a forum member here 1 1/2 month ago for 100 EU. Had to wait longer, I know, but that's a think that happen. The Lanthars insist to stay far higher then the Heliar predecessors, at least for what I have seen in the latter months,
Corran, I would suggest you to never sell your Lanthars if you can, it will be probably impossible to get the same or a close price you probably paid for,



17-Jan-2016, 09:31
I didn't pay the prices you see on eBay.

In fact I had an offer of about 8x what I paid for my latest acquisition by a hardcore collector, but out of respect for the person I bought it for who gave me a very good price, I declined. I want to use it and not flip it for some quick profit, though I know I could. I think the 210mm I have would likely sell for double what I paid for it.

Doesn't really matter though, I seriously enjoy them and they are unique in their own way.

17-Jan-2016, 10:41
Do you mean perfectionist? Pictorialist?

Perfectionist... was a poor play on words

Hugo Zhang
17-Jan-2016, 12:41

I use them and they are very good. If I use only one lens with a 57 camera for landscape, I would pack the 210 mm Lanthar with the camera. The 30 cm one is my most used lens for my WP camera.


18-Jan-2016, 17:45
Back in the 1970's turned down a 210mm Apo-Lanthar in a shutter for under $100.00. Now have been offered same lens for really a lot more. Are Apo-lanthars really worth it?
Shoot B&W but am a prefectionalist at heart.
FYI asking price was north of 4K

Drew Wiley
19-Jan-2016, 14:28
I'd imagine the G-Claron you're already using, if its relatively late, would blow away an Apo Lanthar on several fronts, including image circle, edge definition at
strong tilts, certainly close-range correction. Otherwise, you're paying ten times as much just for wide aperture point n' shoot performance, like on a technical
camera. What format are you using? I'm assuming 4x5. Are you photographing dim interiors? I can't understand why you're having trouble with focus. Maybe you
need a better loupe or groundglass instead of a second mortgage.

19-Jan-2016, 15:12
$4K sounds excessive, even if it's a modern version in Compur rather than the older Compur. I paid much, much less than that for my 210.

If you are interested my bog linked below has tags for images I shot using my 210, on the right column, down under "Voigtlander."

19-Jan-2016, 22:38
I have a 150mm... It's a good lens, but really is more like a improved Tessar in practice... I have used it for color + B/W and it's OK, but IMHO not worth thousands of $$$... There are MANY sharper lenses for much less, and a good Tessar/Xenar is not too different in look...

I assume that when people see that term "APO" on it, they assume it is a super sharp process lens (which it is not), and resellers have a hook on something "exclusive" to sell for the big bucks...

Use 'em if you got 'em, but don't stay awake at night craving one for a high price you can't afford...

Steve K

Daniel Unkefer
20-Jan-2016, 15:54
I'd like to have one for my Plaubel Makiflexes, it was offered in automatic iris by the Plaubel factory. But I was warned by the camera repairman Ken Ruth (who had one in his shop) that the one he had was awful, and he could not improve it. So I would never consider one unless I could test it extensively before buying.

I've seen one of these particular 150mm lenses in thirty years and it was priced over $2000