View Full Version : Schneider Super Symmar 120 HM for Close-Up?

23-Dec-2006, 14:50
I want to use a 120mm f5.6 on a 4x5 for moderate close work @ 1:3 - 1:6 magnification [15" - 30" subject area,] with coverage for moves. These are borderline magnifications, the 120mm macros won't cover and according to the manufacturers are optimised for the closer ranges.
I have read in Schneiders' publications that normal Apo-Symmars are designed to work at magnifications from 1:3 up [1:20?.] However, the 120mm Apo Symmar is low on coverage [none if I wanted to also use it at infinity.]
The new Super Symmar XLs are also designed to work from @ 1:3 out to infinity but are problematically priced.
I've located a nice 120mm Super Symmar HM [1990s blue ring.] I know the're Apo lenses. I know they have larger coverage. I think they had some extra special glass? Schneider provides very little info on these lenses. The brochure contains little about glass or design. I had one years back and it was 'super' sharp but I never tried it close.
I'm wondering if anyone knows if those earlier Super Symmar HMs were also designed for a wide magnification range, how close were they corrected for [Schneiders' apparently preferred 1:3 to infinity?]

23-Dec-2006, 15:12
I have had both the f 5.6 120mm Super Symmar HM and the f 5.6 120mm Makro Symmar HM for something like 10 or more years. Based on converstions with Schneider quite some years ago, they indicated that the 120mm Super Symmar performance fell off when getting into the close focusing range, but I can not recall how close (but it may have been around 1:3). The two lenses were supposed to compliment each other perhaps to the point that there would be an almost seamless focusing range (and I suppose performance in the 120mm focal length) of infinity to up to an approximate 4:1 with sufficient bellows in 4 X 5.

My Super Symmar HM is extremely sharp from certainly 3 or so feet to infinity, however, I can not recall using the lens in such close focusing conditions. The literature for the Makro Symmar HM indicates that at 1:4 there is only 1 mm available for shift in either vertical or horizontal direction for 4 X 5. At 1:2 the literature indicates 23mm vertical and 20mm horizontal for 4 X 5.


23-Dec-2006, 15:49
I am considering using the Fuji 125mm f5.6 as a second choice, the coverage is next best...
I suspect it may be a near symmetrical design that could work ok fairly close, like an Apo Symmar or Apo Sironar. The Fuji is not identified as Apo. and that raises questions about general corrections. Unfortunately it seems difficult to find info about the Fujis.
I also have a very strong bent toward the look of the Schneiders...
However if close range work handicaps the Super Symmar HM performance enough [sharpness, distortion] then I wonder if it may well be better to compromise with the Fuji.

23-Dec-2006, 15:57
The loss of performance of the 120mm Super Symmar HM in the close up range may only be relative to the performance in the long distance range. Schneider is often somewhat conservative in their assessment. Perhaps Kerry Thalmann or Chris Perez can make some comments. Kerry and I believe Chris each also have or had one of these same lenses that they like (liked) very much. In fact Kerry considers this to be one of the future classic lenses in this focal length for 4 X 5.

Here is a link to Kerry's website: