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Thread: Apo symmar 240 vs/ 240symmar s

  1. #1
    FU64 ShitKickerPhoto's Avatar
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    Apo symmar 240 vs/ 240symmar s

    I'm versed in rodenstock and understand the huge difference between sironar n and s, as I've shot with an N and know the sweet spot falloff.

    I'm in the market for a 240 and have been racking my brain over the difference between the symmar s and the apo symmar. I take it the "S" is the older model and the apo was the more recent untill schneider replaced them with the "L" series.

    sigh, it all must be so complicated.

    So my question is optimal sharpness is essential, I need the sharpest 240 I can find and am going used. Would an APO symmar be comprable to a new rodenstock sironar S?

    I have a feeling I'm overcomplicating a simple issue,
    thanks for your input
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    Re: Apo symmar 240 vs/ 240symmar s

    and before someone takes offense I'm not shit talking the sironar N, just for the mixed light field portraiture I do its not the lens for me.
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    Re: Apo symmar 240 vs/ 240symmar s

    The Symmar-S lenses replaced the original convertible Symmars. The early "S" lenses are single coated and the later ones are multicoated. You can easily tell the difference; if it doesn't say multicoated on the barrel it isn't. People selling used ones sometimes don't take the trouble to mention which one they are selling. The APO's came later, they have a smidgen more coverage than the S's. I started out in LF with several MC Symmar-S lenses and they are extraordinary performers. I don't think you can objectively claim the APO's are any sharper than a typical "S" (both are outstanding lenses) and frankly, when you are using lenses this nice any difference between lenses lines will be non-existent or buried by the inevitable minor sample-to-sample variations between them. If you are shooting 4X5 you should be aware that these are big, heavy lenses, big enough to overwhelm a lot of folding field cameras. This is why so many people opt for something smaller and lighter for field work, like a 240 G Claron for example. This is probably also why used prices for the 240 APO-Symmars seem depressed, often they go for not much more than a new Copal 3 shutter.

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    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Re: Apo symmar 240 vs/ 240symmar s

    You say "field portraiture" .... I am assuming you know the size of the lenses you are considering lugging around. The differences between the later Symmar S MC and the Apo Symmar will be marginal at best in real world terms, especially for portraiture. The earlier, single coaed Symmar S will have slightly lower contrast and a slightly higher tendancy to flare.

    As for for comparing either of these lenses to a Sironar S in terms of sharpness it all depends. 'Sharpness' is an oft misused word. You can stare at MTF curves and lines per mm chats all day and you still need to do real field tests. In real field tests form landscape or poduct work IMO the images from the Sironar S will be chosen most of the time. For portraiture I'm not so sure. BTW,whyat about the Fuji 240A. I think it is equal to or better than the others you are considering and it is light and small.

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    Re: Apo symmar 240 vs/ 240symmar s

    I'll be using them on my 8x10 field,
    thanks for the input,
    The great thing Is I've found a 240 apo symmar in good shape for like 600 and just wanted to make sure it'll be what I need instead of searching around for a sironar S.
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    Re: Apo symmar 240 vs/ 240symmar s

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Harris View Post
    You say "field portraiture" .... I am assuming you know the size of the lenses you are considering lugging around. The differences between the later Symmar S MC and the Apo Symmar will be marginal at best in real world terms, especially for portraiture. The earlier, single coaed Symmar S will have slightly lower contrast and a slightly higher tendancy to flare.

    As for for comparing either of these lenses to a Sironar S in terms of sharpness it all depends. 'Sharpness' is an oft misused word. You can stare at MTF curves and lines per mm chats all day and you still need to do real field tests. In real field tests form landscape or poduct work IMO the images from the Sironar S will be chosen most of the time. For portraiture I'm not so sure. BTW,whyat about the Fuji 240A. I think it is equal to or better than the others you are considering and it is light and small.
    I've been carrying around a sironar N300 for ahwile now and the weight is not a concern. I've considered the fuji as well and will continue to look into that.
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    Re: Apo symmar 240 vs/ 240symmar s

    The reason I own the 240 Apo-Sironar-S rather than -N is because the extra coverage was enough to make a real difference in the usability of that focal length on 8x10, at least for general outdoor snapshooting. At least by specification, the Apo-Symmar is comparable to the -N in that respect.

    If you need the absolute sharpest lens you can find, I'm not sure there's any alternative but to keep buying and testing lenses until you're satisfied. That said, I've used Apo-Symmars in the 135 and 360 focal lengths, and if you don't need the larger coverage the 240 Apo-Symmar should be a very fine lens. And if it's clean, $600 strikes me as a reasonable price. You won't find a clean 240 Apo-Sironar-S for anywhere near that.

    Another thought: you mention "field portrature", which suggests you might end up with OOF stuff in your pictures. The Apo-Sironar-N/S and the Apo-Symmar render OOF differently. Depending on how much you care about that, that difference may be more visible, and more important, than a difference in sharpness.

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    Re: Apo symmar 240 vs/ 240symmar s

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    The reason I own the 240 Apo-Sironar-S rather than -N is because the extra coverage was enough to make a real difference in the usability of that focal length on 8x10, at least for general outdoor snapshooting. At least by specification, the Apo-Symmar is comparable to the -N in that respect.

    If you need the absolute sharpest lens you can find, I'm not sure there's any alternative but to keep buying and testing lenses until you're satisfied. That said, I've used Apo-Symmars in the 135 and 360 focal lengths, and if you don't need the larger coverage the 240 Apo-Symmar should be a very fine lens. And if it's clean, $600 strikes me as a reasonable price. You won't find a clean 240 Apo-Sironar-S for anywhere near that.

    Another thought: you mention "field portrature", which suggests you might end up with OOF stuff in your pictures. The Apo-Sironar-N/S and the Apo-Symmar render OOF differently. Depending on how much you care about that, that difference may be more visible, and more important, than a difference in sharpness.

    You raise a good point.
    I'm about to purchase a new 300mm as well, was going to go with one of the new schneider "L"s . I've however heard that they are the same exact glass as sironar s. So one would raise the question, should I just invest in a 240 sironar S. You shoot with it, with the coverage how do you find the distortion and ability to use movements. my only concern is going with a 240 and ending up with a collection of images that just feel wide.
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  9. #9

    Re: Apo symmar 240 vs/ 240symmar s

    Quote Originally Posted by ShitKickerPhoto View Post
    I'm about to purchase a new 300mm as well, was going to go with one of the new schneider "L"s.
    What is it that you're not happy with about the 300 Sironar-N? I have a late-production sample of the 300 Caltar II-N (Apo-Sironar-N, basically the same lens). Although I really like the S-series, in the 300 focal length the extra coverage wouldn't be any help, so I've never felt any urge to spend the extra to upgrade.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShitKickerPhoto View Post
    I've however heard that they are the same exact glass as sironar s.
    They may or may not be the same glass, but they're not the same design. I've never used an Apo-Symmar L, but I'd be surprised if the story isn't the same as with the Apo-Symmars: excellent lenses that differ from the Rodenstocks of corresponding specification primarily in subtle aspects of image character.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShitKickerPhoto View Post
    So one would raise the question, should I just invest in a 240 sironar S. You shoot with it, with the coverage how do you find the distortion and ability to use movements. my only concern is going with a 240 and ending up with a collection of images that just feel wide.
    Yes, the 240 is too wide to serve as a standard lens for me. I wish there were an Apo-Sironar in the 270 focal length, but it's never going to happen. Not sure what you mean by "distortion". As for coverage, the difference between the 72 degrees of the N and the 75 of the S is real and IMO substantial. I've tested the N, and though it's also a fine lens, I was regularly running out of coverage for the pictures I wanted to take. However, it might be less of a problem if I were using it to make portraits at closer range, with both less need for movement and more bellows extension giving me a bit more image circle anyway.

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    Re: Apo symmar 240 vs/ 240symmar s

    great, that makes sense.
    With the ability to pick up the aposymmar for 600,
    as well as already being on the list for one of the new schneiders
    it would seem the best course of action would be to invest in the schneider 300
    and use the good deal on the 240 to get a feel for it (I'd like to consider it my "low light lens" as I'm really in the market for it's use in low lighting portraiture to gain that extra bit of depth of field that can make all the difference.

    Thanks for you help
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