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Thread: Schneider 210 Apo Symmar Sweet Spot

  1. #1

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    Schneider 210 Apo Symmar Sweet Spot

    I've only taken and developed around 10 shots on my first LF camera. Using a Sinar P and the results are pleasing for the most part. The resolution for reasonably large prints is certainly there. I can see how people who can afford drum scans can print huge using this format. I was even happy with the HP5 Plus shots when scanned on an Epson.

    I've been researching the sharpest aperture of this lens. Schneider says it's around f11. A lot of people say it resides around f16 - f22. I shoot mainly still life, arranged objects and sculpture. Almost all of the shots I've taken have been f8-f11. I took one @ 5.6 and the results were soft. I guess I need to start taking meticulous notes.

    I've been reading about diffraction causing softness. I assume this effect would not occur at f16 but what about f22? I'm fully aware I need to shoot a lot more and discover this for myself and was looking for a bit more validation on the subject. Thanks for any info.

  2. #2

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    Re: Schneider 210 Apo Symmar Sweet Spot

    I have this lens. I am a portrait shooter and I prefer it to use at f16-22, but that is as much down to the practicalities of shooting living subjects as anything else. I've never really noticed any fall off in sharpness in F22, I just pick the f-stop I feel I need to get the shot I want and to have some reasonable leeway in focusing. I'd rate it as the best lens I have ever used, across all formats, it really is out of this world.

  3. #3

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    Re: Schneider 210 Apo Symmar Sweet Spot

    Your lens is diffraction limited at F22 for 45. Beyond that you are in diffraction.

  4. #4

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    Re: Schneider 210 Apo Symmar Sweet Spot

    Diffraction is certainly a fact of physics, but something people hear about and then get unduly concerned about. Film and paper size matter. Unless you are printing HUGE prints (something beyond 20x24 off a 4X5 negative) then you aren't going to notice degradation from f:22 or f:32. F:45? You will notice a very slight difference, in close inspection, in a 16X20 print. And you will not be looking at it from a normal viewing distance to see the difference and you might need a magnifying glass. I can differentiate my few f:45 negatives, but only with a loupe, which isn't a very realistic standard.

    F:5.6 is not the Symmar's best aperture, to be sure. But absent some extraordinary demands it is should be plenty sharp in practical terms from f:8 to f:32. If you look at the index to one of John Sexton's books with technical details, look at the taking apertures....f:22 to f:45. Or consider the f:64 Group.

  5. #5

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    Re: Schneider 210 Apo Symmar Sweet Spot

    Based on these tests, looks like f/11 is max sharpness: http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/testing.html

  6. #6

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    Re: Schneider 210 Apo Symmar Sweet Spot

    I use modern lenses at f/22 Dagors at f/45. Wide-open is for focusing not for shooting!!! Soft focus or special purpose lenses are a different story .

  7. #7

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    Re: Schneider 210 Apo Symmar Sweet Spot

    Quote Originally Posted by EdSawyer View Post
    Based on these tests, looks like f/11 is max sharpness: http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/testing.html
    Except this test is meaningless, it is not repeatable, it is loaded with variables:
    Lighting, exposure, developer strength, developing time, atmospheric conditions, alignment to the chart, strength of loupe, quality of the loupe, condition of the viewing eye, etc.. at best, all that this test shows is the performance of a particular lens. Additionally, since the tests are not scientifically controlled and are done at different times, by different testers on used lenses, most from other owners you can't even know if the lenses were within new factory specification when the tests were done.
    If you can find them look at MTF, that is how lens and camera manufactures have been testing lenses for decades, distortion curves, color curves, fall off curves, and then you will see where a lens performs best.

  8. #8

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    Re: Schneider 210 Apo Symmar Sweet Spot

    So you've taken 10 shots and you're concerned about the sweet spot. Suggest you put that off and take more pictures. I've probably made 5,000 4x5 frames and never worried about any spots unless they were on the negative.

  9. #9
    Martin Aislabie's Avatar
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    Re: Schneider 210 Apo Symmar Sweet Spot

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis-F-S View Post
    So you've taken 10 shots and you're concerned about the sweet spot. Suggest you put that off and take more pictures. I've probably made 5,000 4x5 frames and never worried about any spots unless they were on the negative.
    +1

    Martin

  10. #10

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    Re: Schneider 210 Apo Symmar Sweet Spot

    Quote Originally Posted by Luis-F-S View Post
    So you've taken 10 shots and you're concerned about the sweet spot. Suggest you put that off and take more pictures. I've probably made 5,000 4x5 frames and never worried about any spots unless they were on the negative.
    I concur. I think the whole issue of diffraction is overblown. My feeling is if you need to stop down to make the photograph, you stop the lens down to whatever it needs to be and don't worry about it. It's better to have a possibly technically imperfect image than none at all. In my experience with modern lenses the differences are quite subtle. I have made 40x50 inch prints and when seen from a reasonable viewing difference, maybe the large format photographers in the audience can see that I shot at f/32 (or even f/45 on occasion), but no one else cares. I try to shoot at f/16-22, but if I can't, so be it.

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