Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 180mm f/4 SL - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published December 2007


After experiencing the performance of the Voigtlander APO-Lanthar 125mm f/2.5 SL in Canon mount I gave it a try and sniped a APO-Lanthar 180mm f/4 SL in Nikon mount over in the bay in order to find out whether the SL 125mm was a lonely bird or an indicator for the rest of the SL series. For those who are not aware of the Voigtlander SL lenses - these are high quality manual focus fix-focals made by Cosina and the "unofficial" predecessors of the Zeiss ZF/ZS series lenses which are manufactured in the same factory. The SL series has also been phased out in favor of these new Zeiss lenses - quite sad actually because some of the Voigtlanders have no equivalent on the Zeiss side and that's including the APO-Lanthar 180mm f/4 SL which is the longest tele lens in this row. It is a full format lens which has a field-of-view equivalent to 270mm when used on the Nikon D200 (used for testing).

The build quality of the lens is excellent thanks to an outer metal shell and a very smooth and very well damped focus ring. It takes a ~300 degree turn from infinity to the most extreme close focus setting. The lens has a sturdy mono cam focus design and it extends when focusing towards very close distances. The overall mechanical design is obviously very related to the current Zeiss ZF lenses inc. the chrome ring at the front of the lens. You may think that a 180mm lens is quite "substantial" in term of size and weight but the Voigtlander is comparatively tiny which does naturally also originate in the moderate max. aperture.

The Voigtlander behaves like a Nikon Ai-S lens with manual focusing and manual (but automatic) aperture. Therefore it is not compatible to base class Nikon DSLRs. It handles like a breeze on the Nikon D200 although manual focusing is difficult with the standard screen.

Equiv. focal length270 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/6 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction9 elements in 7 groups
Number of aperture blades9
min. focus distance1.2 m (max. magnification ratio 1:4)
Dimensions66 x 79 mm
Weight485 g
Filter size49 mm (non-rotating)
Hoodbarrel-shaped (snap-on)
Other features-

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