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View Full Version : Will an old chrome Symmar 5.6/150 cover 5x7?



Ian Greenhalgh
30-May-2013, 12:55
I happen to have a near mint Symmar 5.6/150, and I've been unable to find any specific info aboutwhether it covers 5x7 or not. Schneider mysteriously says the 135mm Symmar is for 4x5 and the 180mm Symmar is for 5x7, so the 150 seems to fall somewhere in between.

I've found comments by users that their APO-Symmar 150 just and so covers 5x7 with no movements, but no comments from users of the old Symmar like I have on 5x7.

Has anybody used an old Symmar 150 on 5x7?

Kevin Crisp
30-May-2013, 13:00
I used one with a 8 series serial number on an Ikeda 5x7 and got vignetting. It was not rated as a 4X5 lens by Schneider, though the APO's were. Once I found a nice 150 g claron, I never looked back in that focal length on 5X7 and have never used my APO 150 on 5X7.

The 180 original Symmar covers 5X7 with a fair bit of room for movements (maybe 1 1/2" of rise) and it became my most used 5X7 lens.

Kevin Crisp
30-May-2013, 13:02
And I'll add that I tried the 150 Symmar for the first time on a trip and from the gg glass it looked like it was covering. But the negatives told a different story.

Struan Gray
30-May-2013, 13:07
My 150 Symmar sorts of squeaks in with soft corners and no movements. It would work for head-and-shoulders portraits.

If I remember rightly, my 150 Sironar-N has a more aggressive field stop and misses the corners.

A 180 Symmar definitely works (I've borrowed one before now). If you have to have a 150, it really needs to be an 80 plasmat (like the APO-Sironar-W) or a proper wide angle design.

Dan Fromm
30-May-2013, 13:08
When in doubt, go to the horse's mouth: https://www.schneideroptics.com/info/vintage_lens_data/large_format_lenses/symmar/data/5,6-150mm.html

Ian Greenhalgh
30-May-2013, 13:53
Cheers guys. Thanks for the link Dan, I got a dead link from my google search of the schneider site for some reason. :(

Schneider says the image circle at f16 is 210mm, which doesn't tell me how good the corners would be on 5x7, so I guess I'll just have to try it. If the corners are not to my liking, I guess a G-Claron 9/150 is on my shopping list. I do have a Rodenstock APO-Gerogon 9/50 but it's in an M39 barrel and won't go in a shutter like the G-Claron.

I'll definitely keep an eye out for a 180mm lens, my other lens in shutter for 5x7 is an Ilex Acuton 4.8/215 and I think I will prefer something wider for many shots.

Or maybe I need to finally track down an Ilex #4 to put one of my several Ross WA Xpres f4 5-inchers in, I have one that is supremely sharp even wide open and the low contrast it has isn't a problem for me really. 5 inch on 5x7 is the sort of really wide view I enjoy most in smaller formats, 21 and 24mm lenses are my most oft used on 35mm for instance.

Struan Gray
30-May-2013, 14:04
I have an old brass 127 mm Series III Doppel Anastigmat (a Dagor before the name) which is tiny enough that you could front mount it forward of a conventional shutter. The 5" Ross will vignette unless you spring for a Copal 3 or a Sinar shutter. Better than both is a 121 Super Angulon. They sometimes go for prices which are thoroughly depressing for owners. Not very compact, but gobs of movement on 5x7 and excellent sharpness and colour. There may be Nikon or Fuji equivalents which fetch even less.

Ole Tjugen
30-May-2013, 14:12
The 150mm Symmar covers only slightly better than an ancient 90mm Angulon: It will get you a picture if you have nothing else, but the corners range from soft to absent. With the right subject I woldn't hesitate to use either on 5x7", but I really try to remember to bring the 120mm Angulon - and the 165mm one too, for good measure. The G-claron is slightly better than the Symmar, but not by muc.
The 121mm Super Angulon can be used on 18x24cm film, slightly smaller than 8x10", if dead centered.

Kevin Crisp
30-May-2013, 14:56
My experience is very different from yours, Ole. A chrome ringed 150 Symmar covers 4X5 with much more movement than a 90mm Angulon. Many of the Angulons are barely passable straight on, some of the later ones maybe have a little room to spare. The 150 g claron (I have two) covers 5X7 with lots of room to spare.

Ian Greenhalgh
30-May-2013, 15:10
Thanks for the help guys, let's see if I understood.

So, a 121mm Super Angulon would be the one to go for if I can find one I can afford? With the G-Claron 9/150 as the budget option?

What other cheapo options are there? An old Dagor 6.8/120mm perhaps? I saw one in a Unicum shutter very cheap the other day but passed on it as the Unicum, while very pretty, is a bit old for regular use I think. Was I wrong?

Maybe I can front mount my APO-Gerogon 9/150 on the apertureless Copal #1 I have? Or is that likely to be a recipe for vignetting?

The Ross 4/5" has 58mm threads front and back, direct fit into a Ilex #4, that's the only shutter I've ever seen them mounted in. A Copal would be nice, but I doubt I'll ever find one cheap. :(

Struan Gray
30-May-2013, 15:15
KEH has a 120 Angulon for a couple of hundred dollars. That's a pretty good price/performance ratio (assuming it's not out of wack). Even a G-claron and a shutter won't be much less than that.

I would say play about with jury-rigging what you have and seeing what the results look like. I found that - contrary to expectations and conventional wisdom - I gravitated to longer and longer lenses as I went up in format. Bodging about with a range of sub-optimal lenses helped me decide what I actually wanted (and confirmed that I wasn't interested enough in the flarey olde worlde aesthetic to have brassies as my only options).

Ian Greenhalgh
30-May-2013, 15:54
I'll definitely do some playing around before I buy anything else. I picked up a beautiful Lancaster Instantograph in half plate with 4 book type double film holders, a quarterplate reducing back and a few other bits for less than half of what I;ve seen them go for on ebay, the lens with it is a primitive brass one, it all needs a thoroughly cleaning as it'sbeen sat in a local antiques shop for a long time and is a mass of dust, but it all works, bellows look rough but are free of holes.

I can definitely shoot with it with my Ilex Acuton 4.8/215, I'll have to make some lensboards for it and try the Symmar 5.6/150, all my other suitable lenses are in barrel, so unless I get a Sinar shutter or more likely a T-P roller shutter, I'll be stuck with the lens cap shutter idea. That might work to try a few barrel lenses out as I have 300 sheets of Agfa Brovira Speed in 5x7 and given the late 80s vintage of the paper, I reckon I'll get no more than ISO 1 out of it. I also have 250 sheets of Agfa graphics arts film in 5x7 and that is slow, ISO 3-6 so even that could work with a lens cap I suppose.

Kevin Crisp
31-May-2013, 13:50
Scanning negatives is not my strong suit but....

this is a scan of a 5X7 Negative, using 2" of rise on a 150 G claron. This is the most rise I've used. It is sharp to the corners at f:32. Given that I was down a bluff and across a dirt road there was just no option other than pressing the lens to this extreme.
96162.

Ian Greenhalgh
31-May-2013, 14:08
Cheers Kevin, that's very useful to see. I'll have to see if front mounting my APO-Gerogon 9/150 on a Copal press #1 without aperture will work or if it vignettes. If that doesn't work, I'll have to find a G-Claron 9/150.

Kevin Crisp
31-May-2013, 14:38
Generally speaking, front mounting anything doesn't help coverage.

Kind of like hoping for great peripheral vision when looking at the world through a toilet paper tube.

Ian Greenhalgh
31-May-2013, 16:16
Yeah, that's my concern, I doubt it will work, but I can only try as I have all the necessary bits to try.

Larry H-L
31-May-2013, 19:50
For small and light and semi-wide on 5x7, I've had good luck with: 120mm Angulon, 135mm WF Ektar, 150mm G-Claron, 150mm Computar/Kowa/Kyvytar, 165mm Angulon, 180mm Fuji-A.

Struan Gray
1-Jun-2013, 00:02
Ian, before you start manufacturing hardware it will be worth trying your shutter in front of and behind each lens. Even if the lens design is symmetrical, the barrel design and positioning of field stops and filter rings often is not. It is possible that even if you get vignetting with the shutter on the back, it will work well enough at taking apertures on the front.

Ian Greenhalgh
1-Jun-2013, 08:47
Cheers Larry, exactly the sort of recommendations I need.

Hi Struan. I'm not going to do any metal bashing, just some playing around with tape and hot melt glue, purely temporary solutions, just to try things out. If I really like the APO-Gerogon I can have it properly mounted to the front or in a #1, I have a friend who can do such work for a mere fraction of the cost of most repair shops, he's retired but happy to take on some small jobs for me.

Carsten Wolff
1-Jun-2013, 15:45
I settled on a nice copy of the Wollensak 108mm f6.8 W.A. Raptar (vs f9.5 vs f12.5 ExWA , W.A. Velostigmats and respective WA Raptars), after owning a fair bit of other vintage glass in that FL over the years. I found that quality varies greatly between copies of lenses and making a recommendation of one model over another is pretty futile. At one stage had e.g. a half-decent Goerz W.A. Dagor and two tiny Cooke VIIb, but sold them all on, since people like paying silly money for the Dagor and Cooke names. Very happy with the Wolly though for what it is (IC about 235mm); At f22 its great. Comes generally in Betax shutters, or barrels; I changed mine over into an Alphax Synchro. As with much other vintage glass, filter sizes can be push-on annoyances, but I standardised it to 52mm via a machined adapter. It is perhaps my 2nd favourite travel lens up to 5x7". Although not quite as nice as e.g. my 135mm Fujinon-W, the 108, 159, 254 (and 380)mm line-up suits me in 5x7" (I do color and b/w). Happy hunting.

Roger Hesketh
1-Jun-2013, 16:45
The way I see it the key to successful front mounting of lenses in front of leaf shutters in order to avoid cut off of lens coverage is to mount lenses which are substantially smaller than the shutter. I use a number of my barrel lenses front mounted in front of leaf shutters. I do however also look to retain the ability to use them as barrel lenses with cameras that have focal plane shutters (Graphics). IMHO the best approach is not to permanently front mount a lens to a shutter but to get an adapter which converts the thread of the shutter to the thread of the lens. That has the additional advantage of allowing you to also front mount onto that shutter any lens which will screw into the same size flange.

I have a Compur shutter to which is mounted an adapter which converts the shutter thread to 1.25 inch. Now it just so happens that most of the physically small Dallmeyer and T.T.& H barrel lenses use that flange size. I use that shutter with the small wide angles from those makers. (2-5 inch) on various cameras. With those Double Gauss wide angles you have to stop down to f11 minimum to use them anyway the shutter aperture is many many times larger than the lens aperture so I do not experience cut off or perhaps I should say If it is occurring I am unaware of it such is the angle of view of those lenses compared to plate sizes they are used on. Ian the 5 inch Dallmeyer Wide Angle Anastigmat is incidentally a good moderately wide lens on 5x7. It was designed for use on full plate which it covers generously so it allows substantial movement on 5x7.

A problem with front mounting is the width of the shutter adds extra extension which can be awkward with short wide angle lenses as depending on the camera the bellows may not compress sufficiently to allow their use. I have a 6.25 inch Cooke Series VIIb a bigger brother to the aforementioned lenses which I am unable to use front mounted for that reason. For the record a Size 2 Luc shutter fits that lens OK and also does double duty as a lens shade but it is difficult to adjust the aperture with the shutter fitted. Easy enough to fit it after all the camera adjustments have been made though.The shutter is very nearly as easy to fit as a lens cap.

I also have some lenses which will front mount via adapters to Betax / Alphax 4 shutters. I use the shutter from my 12" Turner Reich . Once again small lenses, big shutter. One lens used that way is a Wollensak 90mm Micro Raptar.

Dan Fromm
1-Jun-2013, 17:28
As long as the thread has drifted to hanging lenses in front of shutters and shutters in front of lenses, some of you may want to visit my lens diary, which has a long discussion of hanging lenses in front of shutters, and an account of my failed Baby Bertha, which adds to the discussion.

http://www.galerie-photo.com/telechargement/dan-fromm-6x9-lenses-v2-2011-03-29.pdf and http://www.galerie-photo.com/baby-bertha-6x9-en.html respectively.

I use a simple similar triangles model -- a ray from the lens' exit pupil to the corner of the format to be covered has to clear all obstacles, e.g., the shutter blades or the end of the shutter's rear tube -- to help me think clearly about what I'll have to do to front mount a lens. See my discussion of stuffing a 60/14 Perigraphe into the front of an Ilex #3. In retrospect, an Alphax #3 might have been a better choice. Spacing between the rear of the lens and the obstacle can be critical; the shorter, the better.

Ian Greenhalgh
1-Jun-2013, 17:59
Thanks for the info guys, all very useful. I'm thinking I might get a T-P roller shutter and restore it. I have a bunch of nice lenses in barrel that I could then use.

Thanks for the tip on the Dallmeyer 5" Roger, I've almost bought one of those a couple of times but never did because I have two lenses of the same length with similar coverage - namely the Ross WA Xpres 4/5" and a much smaller 4/5" that I think might be that Dallmeyer because it covers 5x7 as well. Not sure if the latter it will go in a shutter, the cells are both 50mm threads it looks but they are threaded at th back, so i doubt it was designed to go in a shutter. I might be able to have it mounted in a shutter but i think I would just be better off getting an Ilex #4 or Copal #3 to put he Ross WA Xpress 4/5" in. I have a couple of Ilex #3s but have yet to find a #4 at a price I can afford.

I also have a near mint Wray HR Lustrar 5.6/7" that is a great lens, needs to be closed to f8 to give it's best, as the VM says, but from f8 down, it is excellent, I need to check the size of the cells on that, it might fit an Ilex #3.

Dan, you know about the Perigraphe, which of them cover 5x7? I have seen a 6.8/110 Perigraphe that was from a 10x15 format camera, that sounds like it will cover 5x7.

Dan Fromm
1-Jun-2013, 18:24
Dan, you know about the Perigraphe, which of them cover 5x7? I have seen a 6.8/110 Perigraphe that was from a 10x15 format camera, that sounds like it will cover 5x7.

Ian, reread my lens diary. The answer to your question is there. To help you think about it, a 110 mm lens has to cover 87 degrees to cover 5x7. Wishful thinking won't make a 110/6.8 Perigraphe cover 5x7.

Colin Graham
1-Jun-2013, 18:44
Dan, you know about the Perigraphe, which of them cover 5x7? I have seen a 6.8/110 Perigraphe that was from a 10x15 format camera, that sounds like it will cover 5x7.


The Series VIa f14 12cm Perigraphe will cover 5x7, with a quite a bit of room to spare. Nice lens.
Another nice, if dim, barrel lens is the 15cm f15 Busch WA aplanant. It's quite sharp for 8" or so, but gets a bit funky outside that circle. Both lenses together are half the size and weight of my 120 Fujinon WS.

Ian Greenhalgh
1-Jun-2013, 19:31
Cheers guys. I'm not bothered about the speed of the lens as I would only be shooting them at f22, f32, f45.

I'd like to have a little list of chap wide angle options for 5x7, so far I know about:

6.8/120 Dagor
14/120 Perigraphe
15/150 Busch WA Aplanat

I wonder if a 6.3/150 Tessar would cover?

Ian Greenhalgh
1-Jun-2013, 20:00
I found an old Berthiot catalogue and the 6.8/110 covers 10x15, so a 180mm image circle. The 6.8/135 is rated to cover 13x18. What is the falloff outside the rated field like on a dagor type? Is the illuminaton rather bigger than the sharp area so the coverage is rather bigger than the rated one but sharpness will be less outside the rated circle? If so, I could maybe live with some soft corners from a 6.8/110.

In the f14 variety, a 90mm covers 13x18 so I'll look for one of those, I really like very wide views.

Roger Hesketh
1-Jun-2013, 22:02
Ian I thought you were after a moderate wide for 5x7 not a wide angle. A wide angle lens made for use on half plate / 5x7 is around 4 inch in Focal Length or perhaps just a little bit longer. Before you get too excited looking for short lenses with wide coverage may I sound a couple of notes of caution.

Firstly may I suggest you measure your minimum extension on your camera. I suspect 4 inch maybe OK but if you go much shorter than that you may find you cannot achieve infinity focus.

Secondly Dan Fromm has on numerous occasions on this forum made reference to coverage being a sometime thing and quoted Berthiot as an example of manufacturer who over the years have become more conservative with their lens coverage claims. I suspect that with regard to Berthiot he may be correct.

Sorry I derive no please from pissing on peoples bonfires. Their are plenty of good 5x7 wide angles of about 4 inches in length. The previously suggested 108 mm Wollensak Raptar is a good choice if you want a lens in a leaf shutter at a reasonable ish price. In barrel mount the Cooke 108mm Series VIIb is a good choice as is the equivalent Dallmeyer 4 1/4 inch Wide Angle Anastigmat.

I have a Watson 3 1/2 inch Wide Angle Holostigmat that will cover 5x7 but it is difficult to get the lens that close to the film. A half plate Sanderson can be persuaded to do it as I suppose another brand of camera might which will allow the struts that support the front standard to be used in reverse but forget any ideas about camera movements. The bellows are too compressed to allow movement.

Ian Greenhalgh
1-Jun-2013, 22:09
Hi Roger. That's a very good point about measuring the minimum extension.

Basically, the only lenses I have in shutter for this camera are a Symmar 5.6/150 that might not cover and an Ilex Acution 4.8/215 that will.

So I am looking for anything wider than the Acuton, which means at least two lenses, perhaps a 90 and a 150, I'm not really fussed what exact lengths, price is such a limiting factor for me.

Dan Fromm
2-Jun-2013, 07:16
Ian, even though you'll be shooting well stopped down a large maximum aperture makes focusing and composing easier. I just recently shot a 1.75"/2.8 Elcan against a 45/9 CZJ Goerz Dagor, have seen the difference that ~ 3 stops can make.

The 90/14 Perigraphe is by far the most common f/14 Perigraphe. It should just cover 5x7, but would benefit from a center filter -- there are none for it -- because the corners will be around 2 1/2 stops darker than the center. But and however these lenses are all in barrel. Front-mounting one on an Ilex #3 or Alphax #3 is physically possible but I expect mechanical vignetting problems on 5x7. The cure is a larger shutter. More $$$, sorry, .

Remember that front-mounting adds extension. To extend Roger's comment, even if your camera can focus a short lens to infinity, hanging the lens in front of a shutter may make it unusable. I've hit the problem more than once. The obvious solution is a recessed board but this isn't always possible.

I don't enjoy pouring cold water on you either, but you really need to take a cold shower. While shivering you can think about ends (what you most want to accomplish) and means (budget).

If your budget really is constraining, the scattershot approach you seem to be pursuing is a bad idea. There are lists of lenses that give coverages and flange-focal distances. See, e.g., this site's FAQs and Michael Gudzinowicz' list on www.graflex.org. Study them, they'll give you better advice than you can get by posting questions whose answers you should know (and can certainly find for yourself).

Ian Greenhalgh
2-Jun-2013, 07:32
Sage words of wisdom Dan. My thinking might be a bit scattergun right now, as I'm in the learning what's available phase, but my spending certainly won't be scattergun. :)

Ed Bray
2-Jun-2013, 07:49
I haven't seen much mention of the 6.25inch (159mm) Wollensak WA Velostigmat Series III which has an image circle that just covers 8x10 so offers a fair bit of movement on 5x7. I have had both the f9.5 and the f12.5 versions both in Betax shutters, I sold the f12.5 version and kept the f9.5 version just for the extra light for focussing.

These were not expensive lenses to purchase and I just put a wanted ad on this forum and had a few to choose from, a nice one in shutter should be less than $200.