PDA

View Full Version : Schneider Kreuznach Symmar S 135 mm f 5.6 for a first time LF lens



Misbah
26-Mar-2013, 09:42
Hi

I am new here, and to LF photography. still putting together my LF kit. I have recently bought a Tachihara 4x5 and am now looking for a lens. I would like to start with a 135 as that is what i usually shoot on the 35 mm format and i really want to shoot landscapes with LF.

I have seen the Symmar S selling for reasonable prices on evilbay but don't see a lot of images from it or comparisons with the Fujinon 135/5.6 or the Nikkor 135/5.6. Is this an older version of the Apo-Symmar? will it be a good buy? I don't like to buy, try, sell and buy another .. i keep whatever i buy. so please any feedback on this lens' performance will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you ...

Misbah

IanG
26-Mar-2013, 09:46
Hi Misbah, I use a re-badged Caltar version of this lens and they are excellent performers, I'm very happy with mine and it's asgood as any of my other Symmars and Sironars.

Ian

Professional
26-Mar-2013, 09:48
Welcome to the forum, and welcome to the LF world!

Well, what do you mean that you use 135mm on 35mm format? you know that 135mm LF on LF body is different equivalent to 135mm on 35mm format.

Jac@stafford.net
26-Mar-2013, 09:49
Hi I am new here, and to LF photography. still putting together my LF kit. I have recently bought a Tachihara 4x5 and am now looking for a lens. I would like to start with a 135 as that is what i usually shoot on the 35 mm format and i really want to shoot landscapes with LF.

To be clear, do you use a 135mm lens on 35mm film, or are you saying you prefer the 135 on 4x5 because it is about the equivalent of a 35mm lens on 35mm film?

Misbah
26-Mar-2013, 09:53
Welcome to the forum, and welcome to the LF world!

Well, what do you mean that you use 135mm on 35mm format? you know that 135mm LF on LF body is different equivalent to 135mm on 35mm format.

Hi

I shoot with 35 mm primes on the 35mm format, so i would like to keep in the vicinity of that focal length for large format ...sorry about the confusion... ! (although it is closer to 50mm: 135/50 = 45)

Misbah
26-Mar-2013, 09:54
To be clear, do you use a 135mm lens on 35mm film, or are you saying you prefer the 135 on 4x5 because it is about the equivalent of a 35mm lens on 35mm film?

Exactly ! thank you...

BrianShaw
26-Mar-2013, 09:59
Based on what you say you'll be happy with the 135, including the price since they are quite available and affordable. In terms of differences betweent he Fuji and Nikon o fsame era... you'll be hard-pressed to really see a difference. It once was said that the Nikon had greater contrast. Maybe so, but I never noticed enough of a difference to make me want to replace my Schneider.

Professional
26-Mar-2013, 10:00
Ok, now it is clear, i thought you use 135mm on 35mm format and you think that 135mm is same on LF.

if you like 35mm on 35mm format then you should consider something like 125mm or 120mm focal length, Fujinon and Nikkor have 125mm FL lens, give it a try, but even if you decide on 135mm it is not a bad choice at all, i was going to get 135mm if i didn't have 150mm at all, maybe in the future when i get most lenses i need then i will add 135mm too.

Misbah
26-Mar-2013, 10:04
Ok, now it is clear, i thought you use 135mm on 35mm format and you think that 135mm is same on LF.

if you like 35mm on 35mm format then you should consider something like 125mm or 120mm focal length, Fujinon and Nikkor have 125mm FL lens, give it a try, but even if you decide on 135mm it is not a bad choice at all, i was going to get 135mm if i didn't have 150mm at all, maybe in the future when i get most lenses i need then i will add 135mm too.

i can look at those too i guess... thank you

BrianShaw
26-Mar-2013, 10:05
The difference between a 135 and 150 is negligable in my experience. The recco for 120 is a solid one. There should be plenty on the market since that was touted as part of a "recommened LF kit (120, 210)" throughout much of the 1980s and 1990s. I haven't noticed the market on them simply because I have never needed/wanted one.

Kevin Crisp
26-Mar-2013, 10:18
It would be a fine first lens if in good shape. You can find endless arguments about what is best for a first lens, with most of it being in the range of 120 mm to 150mm. Be aware that there are two flavors of the -S Symmars, some are multicoated and the earlier ones were not. All other things being equal, I'd go for the multicoated one. It was clearly say "multicoated" on the barrel. The regular -S is an excellent lens too, but if shooting into a strong light source like the sun you can see a difference.

drew.saunders
26-Mar-2013, 10:27
I just picked up a 1976 135/5.6 Symmar-S at a camera swap meet. You can look up the age of a lens here: http://www.schneideroptics.com/info/age_of_lenses/

The Symmar-S has a little smaller image circle than the APO-Symmar that replaced it, which has a little smaller image circle than the current APO-Symmar-L version, but if you don't need extreme movements, you should be fine. The shutter will be old, so the top speeds will be slow, unless it's just been serviced. If the glass is in good shape and the shutter accurate from 1/125 and slower, then it could be the first and last 135 you'll ever need.

I also have a 120/5.6 APO-Symmar and I'm liking the 135 a little more for general wide angle usage. My next longest focal length is 165, not the more common 150. If I expect to need wide angle views for a particular outing, I'll probably take the 120, but I might just keep the 135 in the bag as my standard mildly wide lens. If you do want a 120/125, the 125 Fuji has a larger image circle than either the APO-Symmar or APO-Symmar-L, and often goes for less money, so look for one of those.

Comparing 4x5 to 35mm isn't an exact science. I find myself using the 24, 35 and 50 quite a bit in 35mm, while I tend to use the 165, 200 and 250 the most in 4x5. In time, you'll learn what focal lengths you prefer, but I'd guess the most common first lenses are 150, 135 and 210.

Misbah
26-Mar-2013, 11:06
Hi Drew

thanks for your response... the lens I am looking at on eBay says "multicoating" on it, and it is from Dec 1976 batch and it is listed for $125.00 however, the seller does not ship to Canada... i have to message him and ask.

E. von Hoegh
26-Mar-2013, 11:44
One thing to keep in mind is that the 135mm lens will have a smaller image corcle than a 150 of the same type. You will need at least some excess coverage if you wish to use your camera's front movements.

Misbah
26-Mar-2013, 12:10
E. von Heogh: hadn't thought about that ... thanks for that tip.

drew.saunders
26-Mar-2013, 12:51
Hi Drew

thanks for your response... the lens I am looking at on eBay says "multicoating" on it, and it is from Dec 1976 batch and it is listed for $125.00 however, the seller does not ship to Canada... i have to message him and ask.

I paid $150 for mine that I got to handle and inspect (and no shipping costs, of course), so $125 is a good deal.

E. von Hoegh
26-Mar-2013, 14:27
Misbah, Have you looked at the homepage of this site? ( http://www.largeformatphotography.info/ ) It contains a wealth of information about lenses, cameras, image circle, and so on. Very helpful.

Misbah
26-Mar-2013, 14:35
E. von Heogh: yes I have. Slowly making my way through it.

After all this discussion I am seriously thinking about the 150 mm focal length as well. Some thing with a large-ish lens circle to allow for movements. Also looked at some images produced by 150 mm LF lenses on Flickr, didn't see much difference between those and 135 mm especially in case of landscapes. I belive not a lot of movements are required for landscapes? Anyhow, I still have few days before the actual purchase.

thank you all for your inout. I will come back once I have more questions.

BrianShaw
26-Mar-2013, 14:54
E... didn't see much difference between those and 135 mm especially in case of landscapes. I belive not a lot of movements are required for landscapes?

You won't see much, if any, difference unless you are comparing a very old lens to a new lens where the design differs drasticaly. Major movements not too useful for landscapes, but some use mvoements to get foregrounds like this: http://www.dailyartfixx.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Mount-Williamson-Sierra-Nevada-from-Manzanar-California-Ansel-Adams-1944.jpg

E. von Hoegh
26-Mar-2013, 14:54
180mm is also available, with a correspondingly larger image circle. Older lens types will be found in 165mm/6 1/2".

AJ Edmondson
26-Mar-2013, 18:16
Image circle with the 135mm will probably be the biggest consideration... the 135 WF Ektars have become too expensive and the older Fujinon W single-coated lenses in Seiko shutters are pretty hard to find. If "a little bit wider than normal" is really what you like you can sometimes find the 120 Angulon lenses at fair prices and my experiences with them has always been favorable. That said, the older Caltar 165mm f6.3 in Seikosha shutters are also pretty good lenses - small, good coverage and reasonably priced.
Joel

Peter Yeti
26-Mar-2013, 18:17
... or a 210mm with even larger image circle... But that's beside the point. I think that a 135mm or 150mm is a very good all purpose lens for getting started. Most of the old folding cameras for 4x5'' or 9x12cm from the beginning of the 20th century had 135mm lenses. Think about this, it was for a reason.

The Symmar-S 5.6/135mm is the shortest symmar covering 4x5'' wide open at infinity. Stopped down to f22 it allows for reasonable movements, certainly sufficient for standard landscape. All symmars produced after 1978 were multicoated, so it's easy to find out. Alternatively, a Sironar-N 5.6/135mm has a slightly larger image angle (72 vs. 70) and is as good as a Symmar-S. (I can't say anything about Fujinons or Nikkors form personal experience but I guess they are very similar). The good thing about 135 and 150mm lenses is that they are so common and plentiful that you can easily find a very affordable one.

Kevin Crisp
26-Mar-2013, 18:29
"The Symmar-S 5.6/135mm is the shortest symmar covering 4x5'' wide open at infinity." ???

Peter Yeti
26-Mar-2013, 22:05
Sorry, make this "The Symmar-S 5.6/135mm is the shortest Symmar-S covering 4x5'' wide open at infinity." Yes, because the image circle of the Symmar-S 5.6/120mm is only 142mm wide open. Later Symmar-L or Symmar-XL have larger coverage.

Peter Gomena
26-Mar-2013, 23:09
I think it was the 120 Super-Angulon that was touted (by Fred Picker, anyway) as the second lens in the 210/120 setup. I would not recommend that lens for a starter on a Tachihara because it is pretty heavy. Much better to have the 150 or 135 Symmar-S and get a 90mm for wider angles. The F/8 90s are much lighter and more compact than the 120s. I found the 120 to be kind of boring on 4x5, but it all depends on your point of view!

Misbah
27-Mar-2013, 09:22
Kevin C and Peter Y: really confused now! LOL

have to read up some more on the lenses... :(

Peter Yeti
27-Mar-2013, 13:09
Sorry about that, I'll try to explain it more clearly.

The image angle depends on the aperture and the values are usually given at f22 because that's the recommended taking aperture (at least according to Schneider). This angle increases when you stop down.

The Symmar-S has an image angle of 70 at f22 but less when used wide open. As a result, you can use a Symmar-S 5.6/135 wide open for 4x5'' but the Symmar-S 5.6/120 has not enough coverage wide open (only 142mm). You can use the 120 when stopped down sufficiently (but I wouldn't recommend it for 4x5''). All this only refers to the Symmar-S lenses.

Other lenses like the Symmar-XL or Fujinon-W have larger image angles than the Symmar-S. Such lenses could be used with focal length of about 120mm on 4x5''.

All the above is purely technical and has little to do with your question about an all-purpose lens to start out with. I think that a 135mm might be a good starting point for what you want to do.

Kevin Crisp
27-Mar-2013, 14:55
My experience has been that both the -S and APO Symmar 120's cover 4X5 just fine with adequate room for movement. I wouldn't recommend them for serious architectural photography because the image circle isn't that big. It is a lower cost option for a 120mm.