View Full Version : Schneider 150mm F5.6 Symmar-S - should I keep it?

7-Dec-2017, 10:10

This is my first post, good to meet you all. I'm in the process of building a 4x5 kit, have ordered a Chamonix 45n-2 and also a Schneider 150mm F5.6 Symmar-S from eBay, which arrived today.

There are two issues with the lens which weren't apparent in the online photos:

- The chip on the front... while I've read about Schneideritis, this one seems quite large. There are also smaller specs on the back, these seem more in line with photos I had seen online.


- There appears to be some form of haze(?) inside the back element.


As I don't really have anything to compare it to, I was wondering if you could tell me if these around bound to have an impact on image quality and as a results if I should keep the lens or return it.

Thanks for your help!

7-Dec-2017, 10:18
Return it unless you paid like $50 for it or something. You might be able to clean it up if you are lucky (I have had lenses that had a bit of haze on the outer element of the cell that cleaned up easily enough). If you paid more inline with the "going rate" then return it. The older Symmar-S lenses are cheap and plentiful anyway, and since you are still waiting on the camera it sounds like, why bother with a misrepresented item?

7-Dec-2017, 10:22
The Schneideritis is insignificant, and I can't see the chip. The haze seen in the last photo is concerning so I'd send it back. 150-210mm lenses are a dime a dozen, so get a good one.

7-Dec-2017, 10:22

Some people will tell you "it's a piece of junk". Other people, like me, will tell you -- it depends. If you got it at a great price, think about it. Some will say Schneideritis will prevent you from becoming the next Ansel Adams. I have some Fujitis, and somehow manage to sleep well at night. The haze is hard to determine because it can have different causes and results.

The easy answer is, if you can get a 100% refund, go for it. If you can run some tests or find something to compare it to -- even a smaller format lens -- you have another possible path.

There are many perfectionists on this list that actually sleep with their lenses. I'm not one of them. So explore your options before you take any advice -- INCLUDING MINE!!!

7-Dec-2017, 10:27
The chip is that white "line" in the first image, the one with the front element. In the photos shown on eBay I thought it was a reflection as it was photographed from an angle and that bit was quite blurred.

Dan Fromm
7-Dec-2017, 11:07
The "chip" looks like separation, not damaged glass. If it really is a chip, filling it with india ink will save the front cell.

The haze may or may not come off. Unscrew the rear cell from the shutter and try cleaning the inner surface. That's the glass that faces the diaphragm. If it comes clean, good. If not, I suggest returning the lens.

As has been mentioned, there are many good and not too expensive 150 mm lenses that will cover 4x5 on offer. I'm surprised that xkaes didn't suggest you get a Fuji lens. He's slipping.

7-Dec-2017, 11:14
Thanks Dan. The "chip" seems to be on the inside, so can't really fill it. As for the haze, I tried cleaning it but it also seems to be on the inside. Based on everybody's comments it seems like returning it might be the best option.

7-Dec-2017, 11:19
Based on everybody's comments it seems like returning it might be the best option.
Definitely. You'll never be happy with it.

Pere Casals
7-Dec-2017, 11:49
Thanks Dan. The "chip" seems to be on the inside, so can't really fill it. As for the haze, I tried cleaning it but it also seems to be on the inside. Based on everybody's comments it seems like returning it might be the best option.

Not clearly, just evaluate how the lens performs, this is quite easy, just place a DSLR in the back of the view camera, take some shots and judge.

My best lens has a 6x6mm chip (because a hit) in the rear cell, I measured 70 lp/mm performance.

Just take a cheap macro extension ring for the DSLR (a Nikon D3300 is perfect for that), attach it to a lensboard and place the lensboard at the rear of the view camera. With rise/shift movements you can explore all the image circle.

Then you can also download and print a resolving power chart, place it at some 5m far. Then you can learn to calculate how many line pairs per mm your lens can resolve in a practical test, this is easy and straight. Not necessary having a lens lab to see if a lens is more than able to perform perfectly.

Also you can calculate how contrasty it is, it is also easy.

I would be more concerned by the shutter health than with the glass itself. It is very important shutter is +/-30% accurate and with repeatable times, specially 1/125 and under that is what you may use.

O course if it has haze it has to be cleaned. It would be rare if a Simmay-S has permanent haze.

IMHO resolving power tests (and etc) are mostly irrelevant to take great LF photographs, but IMHO it is very interesting evaluating Lp/mm once in a lifetime to understand what can be important or not, so one can have a good criterion when judging gear.

Paul Ron
7-Dec-2017, 13:29
send it back.

neil poulsen
21-Dec-2017, 02:24
Still, if the chip wasn't disclosed, send it back. Twer me, I would insist on a full refund, with seller paying return shipping. That's standard, if an item is not as described.

22-Dec-2017, 13:21
Return it at the seller's expense. It doesn't matter if the seller is a scammer or only unfamiliar with the item. The Schneider-itis is of no concern but the chip (or separation) and fog are deal killers. Of course, this depends on how the lens was advertised and how much you paid for it.