View Full Version : 360mm Nikon vs. Schneider

Chris S
11-Apr-2006, 09:08
Hi, I have my eye on a Nikkor 360mm f6.5 W lens, and a Schneider Symmar-S f6.8 360mm MC Lens, both in Copal 3 shutters, for my 8x10.I will only be shooting out of the back of my jeep.Are these lenses pretty much equal in image quality, sharpness and contrast?


Donald Hutton
11-Apr-2006, 12:01
Probably (I haven't shot with either - I have an APO Symmar 360mm which is great). A much bigger concern for me would be the size of filter rings on each. I think the Nikkor takes 95mm filters - these are not ultra expensive and you could also use a 4inch filter system like Lee makes on this lens. The Schneider needs 120mm filters which are considerably more expensive and means that if you wanted to use a square system, you'd have to use the Cokin X Pro system, but while the filters would cover the lens, I don't think they make a mounting adapter that big.

11-Apr-2006, 14:25

I use the Symmar-S 360 f6.8 as well.... great piece of glass. Humongous in size though! :)

As is the Nikkor.

Both Symmars have image circles of 491 whereas the Nikkor has 494... so not much difference.

Don is quite right with regards to the filter diameters of these lenses... filters for the Symmar cost an arm and leg!

Whichever lens you decide to go with... I don't think you'll be disappointed with their sharpness and contrast. I use to have a SK 240 f5.6 and now use the Nikkor 240. You couldn't tell the difference in results between them. Both are equally fine IMHO.

Good luck.


Michael Kadillak
11-Apr-2006, 15:35
I had the same thought process when I first got into 8x10 - I would be shooting out of the back of my truck and convinced myself that I needed an f5.6 lens for focusing. Looked at the 300mm and 360mm W series from Nikon and the corresponding lenses from Schneider. I got the 360W and after less than two months into shooting with it (no question it is a wonderful lens) I dropped it like a bad habit and sold that sucker as fast as I could get rid of it. Why?

Both lenses you are considering are heavy and friggin HUGE and 95mm filters are IMHO a BITA. Give me two words that resonate together - 67mm and/or Copal #1 any day of the week. When I figured out that I had to stop down to check critical focus anyway, all of a sudden the need for the f5.6 went out the window. I have no lenses in 8x10 and larger that are any faster than f9. I can do anything I want with an f9 or even an f11 lens (my 30" Doctor in Copal #3 is an f14.5) and have the flexibility to get away from the vehicle if and when I may want to in the future. No sense limiting yourself in this regard.

Do yourself a favor. Consider stepping up a bit in focal length and look at the Fuji 450C
f12.5 in a Copal #1. I takes 52 mm filters! The price from Badger has never been lower new at $895 (I paid over $1,100 for mine a few years back when they were not as many imported) and it weights close to nothing. It damn near covers 12x20 so 8x10 is a day at the beach. You can put this lens in your jacket pocket and not even know that it is there. Sharp and contrasty to the nines.

Just my $0.02.

Eric Leppanen
11-Apr-2006, 17:41
My experience has been that large-aperture plasmats like the APO Sironar-S, APO Symmar, etc. (I have never owned a Nikkor W, but it is also a plasmat and will I presume behave similarly) are better corrected for close-up subjects than the Fuji C series. My 480mm APO Symmar-L, for example, is significantly sharper than my 450mm Fuji C when focusing on a subject that is, say, fifteen feet away. Plasmats are also easier to use for focusing during dark sunrises, at the bottom of dark canyons, etc. That being said, if you will be shooting only more distant, sunlit landscapes then none of this matters and by all means take the smaller, lighter lens and run. I own both plasmats and lightweight lenses to cover all my bases.

I agree that plasmats from the major lens manufacturers produce very similar results, and that filter size should play a significant role in choosing between them. The nice thing about the Nikkor 360W is that it has a relatively small (for this lens class!) filter size of 95mm and a front barrel diameter of 100mm. This means you can use a 4x4" rectangular filter system for this lens, which will also work quite well with any smaller lenses in your arsenal. For the Nikkor 360W, you can use a standard Lee or Hitech holder with a 95mm adapter ring (which screws into the filter thread), or better yet, a Lee FK100 press-on filter holder (the press-on holder fits over the lens barrel, thus placing the filters closer to the lens and reducing any vignetting problems). If you plan on taking advantage of the large coverage of a lens like this, then the press-on holder is by far the best option to avoid vignetting when movements are applied.

Chris S
11-Apr-2006, 20:48
Thanks for the tips so far guys.I want to do table top work, florals, etc., but also some beach landscapes as well, tide pools, driftwood, Weston style stuff.I'm already screwed as far as weight goes as my camera
is 18 lbs. and I'm using the big Ries A tripod.I'm in the process of converting a jogging stroller for taking my gear down the beach paths here in So.Cal, so adding a heavy lens is really no big deal.The huge filter size is definately a good point though.


John Kasaian
11-Apr-2006, 22:06
I don't know anything about either of these two lens but I have a 14" Commercial Ektar and I've been using a Lee Gel snap system for Lee 4" polyester filters which I put in Calumet cardboard frames for endurance. Maybe that would be an economical alternative for filtering the Symmar-S?