View Full Version : RE: Apo-Lanthar lenses

6-Dec-2016, 17:33
Can anyone tell me what the mystique around Apo-Lanthar lenses is? One just quickly sold on this FORUM. Years ago came across a 210 Apo-Lanthar (in early shutter) FS for $200 in the used section of a local camera store (remember them?). Have always regretted passing it up, but just not exactly sure why. They now seem to command premium prices. Would love to know how my "modern" 210mm Nikkor stacks up to a "vintage" 210mm Apo-Lanthar. FYI: I only shoot B&W.

6-Dec-2016, 18:21
Hi Greg,

I believe that the following Threads...


Will address your questions/concerns about the early Voigtlander Braunschweig Apo-Lanthar Lenses...
And all the (*IMHO only) somewhat, 'unwarranted' mystique -- That currently surrounds them.
Then again, if you ever locate another one for $200 -- You now know what to do!
Thank-you! -Tim.

6-Dec-2016, 18:35
I've posted on both of those threads linked.

I think they are wonderful lenses. All of the wonderful things written about Heliar lenses apply, but sharper and better corrected for color.

On my old blog I have tags with lots of images from my 10.5cm, 15cm, and 21cm APO Lanthars.

The one that just sold was a 21cm. These are much less common than the 15cm. My 21cm seems less sharp than my 15cm at wide stops but is still fantastic. I like these lenses so much, I used them exclusively for my wedding.

Compared to a cheap and cheerful 210mm of your choice, well, in simple metrics like resolution and contrast it probably fairs no better, or perhaps worse. But so would any Tessar, Heliar, etc. etc. yet people still like them a lot.

Mark Sawyer
6-Dec-2016, 19:47
I suspect the mystique arises partly from the "Apo" prefix, (although in every test I've seen published the Apo Lanthars perform about like most other decent lenses), and partly from the "Lanthar", indicating the use of exotic radioactive lanthanum glass. As far as I can tell, the largest advantage of this radioactive glass is that if a spider takes up residence inside your lens and later bites you, you may develop super-spider-powers.

7-Dec-2016, 08:35
Agree with Tim- it's like many of the lenses in the recent(?) soft-focus craze that go for stupid money: the myth/lore outstrips the intrinsic scarcity/value/rarity and generally hype ends up driving the price.

Daniel Unkefer
10-Dec-2016, 21:21
I'd like to have the 150mm one with automatic iris in a Plaubel Makiflex mount, I have only seen one in thirty years of looking. It was located in Germany and priced at $1500.

Ken Ruth (Photography on Bald Mountain) had a Makiflex one in his shop, and could not make it right despite his best efforts. He warned me to be careful and test ahead of purchasing. Apparently the elements can shift inside the lens barrel? Not good for such a coveted lens.