Voigtländer APO-Lanthar 90mm f/3.5 SL II lens is now discontinued

Voigtländer APO-Lanthar 90mm f/3.5 SL II lens for DSLR cameras ($549) is now listed as discontinued on Cosina Japan website. I guess this lens did not sell that well because it was announced "just" two years ago. Curious to see if Voigtländer will announce a replacement at Photokina.

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  • Joaquim Prado

    The 20mm f/3.5 , 400mm f/2 and 58mm f/1.4 seems much attractive lens to me compare to this one. But if I have to pic one I would go for the 40mm for sure.

    • Oh boy! They might bring back the legendary 125 mm APO Lanthar SL! That would be a true lensgasm.

      • georg

        yep.. exactly my thoughts when i read this headline

  • I own a great many CV lenses, but all are for LTM or M mounts; none DSLR. I understand why people want to shoot manual focus lenses, such as the Voigts, Zeiss, Leica R and Samyangs, they are lovely for portraits and video, but I was never tempted by this as Canon has some really excellent glass in this approximate focal range.

  • EnPassant

    It was too expensive and slow, has no autofocus and is not better optically compared to both Nikon and Canons 85/1.8 lenses that used in good condition sell for around $ 300. And f0r $ 400 and up one can get a used, as new real Nikon 85/3.5 DX macro lens with both VR and autofocus. It was simply killed by competition with few crying for its demise.

    As Cosina already produce a good 85/1.4 and splendid 100/2.0, 1/2 size macro lens under the Zeiss label I doubt they make another try with a faster short tele as they generally seem to avoid competition between their Zeiss and Voigtländer brands.
    That’s why we don’t see this lens in M-mount as it would compete with the Zeiss ZM 85/4 lens. Nor do we get an updated Apo-Lanthar 125 mm macro lens that many actually would buy because of the Zeiss 100/2.

    This is a prime exemple what happens when there is no real competitions between brands as they are both made in the same production plant.

    • jarda

      Not better optically than than both 85/1.8? Are you kidding?
      Do you at least know what APO means?

      I see people judge the lenses by max aperture and sometimes by resolution. Some are even interested about resolution measured wide open in the frame corner. I wonder if someone looking for lens based on this criteria can ever be a good photographer. I guess not.

      • EnPassant

        Do you?
        In theory an apochromatic lens will focus three different wavelengts (usually illustrated with blue, green and red lines, explaing why the first series of Voigtländer APO-Lanthar lenses had thre lines around them in those colors.) in the same focal plane and thereby avoid chromatic abberations which is when different wavelengts have different focal length.

        In practise the designation “APO” is just a marketing ploy to make people beleive this lens is sharper and pay more for it. Just look at the many Sigma APO lenses. Are they really better than Nikon’s and Canon’s lenses not having APO in their name?

        And before you make a joke of the old AF 85/1.8 from Nikon and Canon you should at least check some test reports, for exemple this for Voigtländer (the old version without chip but optically the same) on a Nikon: http://www.photozone.de/nikon–nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests/266-voigtlander-sl-90mm-f35-apo-lanthar-nikon-review–test-report

        Sure it is a great lens! But then look at Nikon’s own 85/1.8: http://www.photozone.de/nikon–nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests/221-nikkor-af-85mm-f18-d-review–test-report
        It is practically equally good! And Canon 85/1.8 is not far behind: http://www.photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/419-canon_85_18_5d

        Generally standard, short tele lenses, especially if they are not fast or have very close focus, are among the least complex and most easy to construct. Even most of the more complex macro lenses in the 85-105 mm range even from Sigma, Tamron and Tokina are optically very good.

        It is simply today hard to make a bad choice among the well known brands in the short tele (-macro) category.

        One should just always be critical to what names and figures a company use in their advertisement to claim a product is good or better than the others!

        In summary what you pay for in the Voigtländer lens is mostly the mechanical quality with best manual focus. If that is of less importance one get about equal optical quality with Nikon’s 85/1.8 or for exemple Tamron’s 90/2.8 macro: http://www.photozone.de/nikon–nikkor-aps-c-lens-tests/283-tamron-af-90mm-f28-di-sp-macro-nikon-mount-lab-test-report–review for a lower price. Other lenses simplý give more bang for the buck and is the reason the 90/3.5 never sold well.

        • Smackdown!

        • CVuser

          So since Sigma apo lenses are not apo you conclude that this one was rubbish. Well played sir.

          The clarity and lack of axial CA in this lens is excellent. The Nikkor fast 85’s on the other hand are plagued by it.

          Clearly you never used one, read a decent review of one, or saw photos taken with it.

  • Mark

    Why was this lens not an f2 or at least a 2.8…?

    • EnPassant

      It was originally built for use on Voigtländers rangefinder cameras. There it is an advantage if the lens is small to avoid it blocking the view in the viewfinder. Especially as Voigtländer have the viewfinder window closer to the lens than for exemple Leica M. Only later it was adapted for SLRs as well as it is a very good lens.

  • Richard Ward

    Not to comment whether the Lens was a success or failure, but Cosina/Voigtlander never struck me as a company all that firmly wedded to long product cycles. Maybe the design proved difficult to build profitably, or a glass type was discontinued forcing a redesign, or maybe it did indeed bomb in the market place and CV has cut it loose from the catalog!

    My baseless suspicion is they decided to experiment with an exotic fast prime in that focal length or conversely a high grade macro ninety.

    I have two CV lenses, f1.9 28mm and f2.5 75mm, that I use with great joy on a Leica M8 Rangefinder. The lenses are definitely sub-leica build quality, but wonderfully all mechanical manual focus gems that cost a fraction of what Leica Glass will cost ya.


    • I agree. CV are wont to discontinue good equipment for which there still is demand and no replacement or alternative. You have to buy them while you can. Examples include:

      * Bessa L: Super cheap and light stripped down wide angle master.
      * Bessa T: Simple but effective updated IIIF in M mount and with a TTL meter.
      * Bessa R2S/C: I heard these were going.. WHY!?!?
      * Most of their excellent, tiny and versatile LTM lenses that I can shoot on both my LTM and M bodies.

  • Valentin

    I am a voigtlander fan, but the 90mm is simply too slow!!!
    The 20mm is also f3.5, but for a wide-angle it’s not so much of an issue.

  • Yarrus

    Who make decision to discontinue: Cosina or Voigtlander.

    • EnPassant

      Cosina, Japan.
      Voigtländer was before a german company producing cameras and lenses. Cosina just bought the brand name to use for their rangefinders and lenses. Before they used to produce budget SLR lenses and cameras. the Cosina name was simply not associeted with high quality, so they bought an old respected name for their new rangefinder series.

      • Yarrus

        Thank you, i think before they just serve Zeiss and Voiglander.

  • I have the older version with coloured rings on the end and while relatively slow the image quality is fantastic from wide open and I’m sure this version is just as good. Definitely the kind of lens you should try before you criticise.

  • This is too bad, I’ve heard these are pretty good.

    • Also, as for the ‘announced two years ago’ part, the lens has been around longer than that — I think the version “II” version may have been announced then. It’s my understanding that for version II, CV tweaked the cosmetics, made an EOS-compatible version, and maybe updated the chip in the Nikon F-mount versions.

  • c.d.embrey

    Camera Quest, the USA distributor, has had this lens marked as Discontinued, but Still Available for awhile. There have been “SL II N ” models announced, but the 90/3.5 SLII APO-Lanthar isn’t included.

    Here’s the list of “SL II N” lenses that are coming: 20/3.5 SL II N Nikon and EOS Versions, NEW 28/2.8 SL II N Nikon and EOS lenses , 40/2 SL II N Nikon and EOS Versions, 58/1.4 SL II N Nokton Nikon Version. The 75/1.8 Classic Heliar for Nikon AIS and Canon EOS was Announced Feb 12, 2011 (still waiting).

    Here’s the link to Camera Quest’s Nikon AIS and Canon EOS page http://cameraquest.com/Voigt_SL2.htm

  • EE

    Lens is slower than molasses, who would even bother with it?

    DSLR sized f.95 plz Voightlander.

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