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Thread: 210 APO-Symmar-L

  1. #1
    Scott Rosenberg's Avatar
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    210 APO-Symmar-L

    hey guys...

    is anyone using this lens? i've been able to find very little about them since their introduction, which is quite unlike the flurry of reports that usually surround the introduction of a new lens.

    besides increasing the image circle to cover 8x10, did schneider make any other improvements to the optical performance of this lens over the venerable 210 APO-Symmar? with the increased coverage, this lens is, on paper, the equal of the Rodenstock APO-Sironar-S... is there any reason to think that this new design will outperform the 10+ year old Sironar-S design?

    scott

  2. #2

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    210 APO-Symmar-L

    Scott,

    IIRC, they reformulated the glass without lead. Other than the unleaded glass and a bit more coverage, what little I've seen indicates performance is about the same. But let's face it; would anyone expect more than small incremental performance increases in a design as old as the plasmat?

    BTW, Bob Salomon in his past posts alluded that the Apo Sironar-S has been incrementally improved throughout its run.

    Steve

  3. #3
    Scott Rosenberg's Avatar
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    210 APO-Symmar-L

    hey steve...
    thanks for the info. i did find something on the littman site which stated basically that improvements in the manufacturing process reduced sample to sample variation considerably, in effect, making evey Symmar-L lens a 'select' lens.

    from the site...
    "... fabrication has really improved to a degree never seen before, variances from unit to unit still exist and are meaningful yet the consistency of the curve shows that the new lens could be slightly sharper wide open , and more consistently sharper at all distances than the previous model, it also proves the existence of an ideal scenario by showing that each element is quasi identical to the next which means that they can count with each piece of glass doing the intended job as opposed to the least desirable scenario which would be to make a front or rear element and then make the other to compensate or match, this was made possible by the incorporation of the latest computer technology into the lens grinding and polishing process.

    Clearly this isn't only beneficial for those who buy many lenses, its optimum for those who buy just 1, in the old age lenses were very good when considered as a unit but inconsistent as individual elements and camera makers had to inspect hundreds to just " select" a few. The new L could be rated as " pre-selected".

  4. #4

    210 APO-Symmar-L

    C'mon Scott - buy one and tell.... BTW, I know you are looking for a Sironar-S - there are a couple around for $800.

  5. #5
    Scott Rosenberg's Avatar
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    210 APO-Symmar-L

    hey don... gonna tip me off as to the whereabouts of these 210 APO-Sironar-S lenses?

  6. #6

    210 APO-Symmar-L

    I wish there was truly a way to KNOW the answer to this question AND so many other lens questions. It would be really nice if maybe at a convention of LF photographers everyone could bring their lenses ... all would be analysed ... and the results published. I'd pay to read the results. It would be worth a substantial amount of money actually. I'm sure this is impractical and would take a huge amount of time and be horrifically expensive.

    I have serious doubts that the new invironmentally friendly glass is as good as the old leaded glass.

  7. #7

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    210 APO-Symmar-L

    Scott,

    I've been around "spin doctors" long enough to recognize potential marketing "smoke" when I see it, but I applaud Schneider for developing new LF lenses.

    "... fabrication has really improved to a degree never seen before,...",

    "... it also proves the existence of an ideal scenario by showing that each element is quasi identical to the next ...".

    Phrases like these are really pretty meaningless although if I were buying I'd strongly consider these lenses. It would be interesting to know if these are Littman's comments or Schneider's and if Littman's what communication prompted him to say them. The comments imply their quality is significantly better than their competitor's quality (unlikely in this field). What they don't say is also important, for example they don't say they didn't have this degree of implied manufacturing quality in the last generation of "regular" Apo Symmars.

    I think where you get significantly better image quality or performance is with significantly better designs. Now I'll believe that a Schneider Super Symmar XL has a leg up on Rodenstocks, Nikkors, Fujis because they don't seem to have have a competing design that seems to offer the coverage, weight, and other advertized advantages of the SS XL.

    So let's have a lens with aspherical elements giving better edge performance, broad repro range, 90 degrees of coverage and a max f/6.8 aperture. Should be Dagor-like size wise with the alleged focus shift fixed and good up close. That's what I'd want for a next-gen "all purpose" lens instead of an incrementally better plasmat.

    BTW "quasi identical" and phrases like "virtually the same" mean "different"!

    Steve

  8. #8
    Scott Rosenberg's Avatar
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    210 APO-Symmar-L

    here's a link to the article, steve:

    http://www.littman45single.com/09wls...youchoose.html

  9. #9
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    210 APO-Symmar-L

    As to Scott Flemming's comment ...... there was a time when every single lens that left the leitz factory was individually tested and the results of those tests, inclkuding the MTF curves for THAT lens, were included with the lens whne it left the factory. I can't remember when the practice stopped but it was likely sometime in the 1970's. Such attention to detail was, of course, one of the many reasons (pure snob appeal and marketing hype a few other non technical ones) why you usually paid so much more for Leitz optics than for other comperable optics.

    You still get those kinds of individual tests and lenses matched lens to lens for commercial conema lenses where you frequently have a set of lenses specially made individually for a film. Of course, here we are talking single lenses that are priced higher than the total investment any of have in our entire LF system.

  10. #10

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    210 APO-Symmar-L

    Scott,

    Thanks for the link. I understand what Littman's saying now, and what he observes does indicate better tolerance control. However, we probably shouldn't read too much into the single fact that rangefinder cam curves are more consistent, because the relationship between more consistent rangefinder cam curves to any observable image quality is not self-evident (but we hope is true). It is encouraging because maybe there are less "duds" or even average lenses, and encouraging because of what we can get from Chris Perez' and Kerry Thallman's published tests.

    (Ramble alert, with nothing to do about taking good pictures !!)

    With respect to these tests and Scott F's comment, I think we don't really need to test LF lenses probably any more than Chris and Kerry have. What those tests tell me is 1) top-the-line vintage glass can be as sharp as new glass; 2) there's more sample variation between the same lenses of recent manufacture than we'd like to see; and finally and maybe even most importantly, 3) a good example of an old lens may be as good or better as any particular new one WRT resolution.

    So I'd once again say what we need in a general purpose lens is not an improved plasmat, but a smaller, lighter lens with greater coverage and better edge performance - something comparable to the Schneider SS XL in manageable sizes from 135mm to say 360mm. So I'm less interested in a "big 4 plasmat shootout" (because it isn't going to tell me anything I don't already know) than I am a new and better performing general purpose lens design. At some point you've got to forget the vanishingly small difference in numbers and make photographs. Maybe Barbara Lowery of Cooke is listening!

    Steve

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