Preferred Schneider lenses

Discussion in 'Talk About Large Format Gear' started by Jeremy Greenaway, Jan 5, 2018.

  1. Jeremy Greenaway

    Jeremy Greenaway New Member Registered User

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    I'm looking for another primary lens for my Crown Graphic as the Kodak 127mm shutter is playing up, and I'd rather have a longer focal length objective. Candidates are Schneiders, but which one? Symmar, Symmar-S or Xenar. The latter I think is an older design. Or perhaps you may suggest other glass?!
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    The far better lens is the Symmar S, I use a Caltar branded 135mm f5.6 version but it's not got a lot of room for movements,very sharp though and practical. I also have a 210mm Symmar S and it a fantastic lens

    I use a very late 2001/2 150mm f5.6 Xenar but there's not as much room for movements compared to my main standard LF lens a 150mm Sironar N but the 150mm Xenar's were budget lenses. It depends what you want to do, simple movements adjust rise/fall to stay in the image circle theses Tessar type lenses are superb.

    I gave a talk last year, there were some 20x24in enlargements and I asked which images where made with vintage lenses Dagor and Tessar or modern lenses and no-one had a clue, They couldn't tell the difference between 10x8 and 5x4 despite it being easy :D It's about knowing you lenses and how to use them. I regularly shoot with a 90mm f6.8 Angulon, the first two I shot with were awful :D

    Ian
     
  3. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member Registered User

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    Ian has already provided some great advice! Much of your decision on lenses will revolve on what you plan to do with them. Do you need a large image circle for camera movements? How big do you plan to enlarge your images? How far do you anticipate carrying equipment? Etc, etc.

    Any plasmat design (Schneider Symmar S) will be heavier than tessar designs. Like Ian, I, too, have owned a 210mm Schneider Symmar S lens for nearly 40 years; my first LF lens, as a matter of fact. It's a superb lens and I'll own it 'till the end! ;) However, for hiking great distances or over tough terrain I much prefer my 210mm Caltar II-E. I believe this was made for Calumet by Rodenstock. It's a fantastic lens and certainly sharp enough for any enlargement size I'll ever make.

    I, also, own a 90mm f6.8 Angulon which is generally considered to be a "dog." Not so! If you get a good one (look for serial numbers near or above 1 mil or Linhof select versions), use it at it's optimum aperture, and don't use camera movements, it will provide wonderful image quality. And, it's so tiny it fits anywhere for carrying around.

    Hope this helps. Good luck!
     
  4. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member Registered User

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    A 210mm f/5.6 Apo Symmar, in my experience, would be the sharpest of all options at that focal length, and optimum if you shoot stopped down for maximum depth of field. I also own a 210mm Apo Sironar N and an 80-degree, single-coated 210mm Fujinon W. If you prefer to include out of focus areas in your images, among those three I'd go with the Apo Sironar N, which exhibits much smoother bokeh.
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    If you're shooting landscapes you don't really need lenses with large image circles, the main movement I use is front or rear tilt and you can compensate with rise/fall to keep inside the image circle. If you're shooting architecture etc then you really do need lenses with good image circles,

    In general I'd expect to print images to 24"x20" on occasions, sometimes larger, all my lenses are sufficiently capable in terms of sharpness of that sort of enlargement. I may be carrying LF equipment all day, weight becomes more important though when I'm in the heat in Turkey/Greeece where it'll get to over 40ÂșC by mid-morning,. So I carry a small backpack and light weight lenses.

    My 90mm f6.8 Angulon is one of the later ones and excellent but the first I owned was a dog as was one I borrowed, the saving in size and weight compared to my 90mm f5.6 Super angulon or 90mm f6.8 Grandagon N is very significant, the difference is similar between between my 203mm f7.7 Ektars and my 210mm f5.5 Symmar S.

    Other options are a Osaka (Congo) Commercial 210mm f6.3 a Tessar type lens based on Kodaks Commercial Ektar very small and light, or the Rodenstock 210mm f6.8 Geronar (you're Caltar II-E is the same lens re-badged) a multi-coated Cooke Triplet, very sharp stopped down and an excellent portrait lens at wider apertures.

    I've tended to use a CZJ T (Coated) 150mm f4.5 Tessar with my light weight kit, the Shneider equivalent is the 150mm f4,5 Xenar but the 150mm f5.6 Xenar is slightly smaller and lighter in a #0 shutter instead of a #1.

    It's the end results that count I have large prints made with a 150mm Sironar N alongside those from the 150mm Tessar and there's no discernible differences in quality. I do have to be aware of tight image circles and take care but it actually becomes instinctive.

    Ian
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2018
  6. Alan9940

    Alan9940 Active Member Registered User

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    I, too, use mostly front/rear tilt, but I also use front rise quite often because I don't like converging verticals. This movement was especially critical when I was shooting old meeting houses, churches, and other misc buildings in northern New England here in the 'ole USA. That is architecture, of course, which you mention requires more coverage.

    I've never owned a Congo, but have it on good authority that you have to search to find a good one; like your 90mm Angulon.

    Yep, I always go with smaller shutter lenses, if I can because I typically hike with my LF equipment. For fact, my two main lenses for my 10x8 are a Fuji A 240mm and a Fuji A 360mm (the absolute smallest lens available--sort of--in this focal length!) Can't wait to find out how these two lenses get along with my new 10x8 Intrepid when I finally get it. Just thinking about dropping my camera weight by about 7 lbs makes me all giddy inside!! :D

    Alan
     

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