View Full Version : Schneider lens quality question

Norm Buchanan
26-Dec-2006, 22:06
Hi all,

My lovely wife bought me a used Schneider Symmar-S 300mm f/5.6 (MC) Christmas and it appears to have some white substance along the inside the front and rear elements. It appears to be along the inside edge where the glass meets the lens enclosure but the lens itself appears very clear. I have attached a picture to illustrate. It was purchased at Calumet in Chicago and was marked as 8-9/10 for quality. I have always had good experiences dealing with Calumet and I feel the lens is probably fine but I want to be sure as there is a 15-day return time. I haven't tried it yet as I am waiting for an Arca Swiss lensboard. Has anyone seen this effect before and if so is it fungus or some kind adhesive that is deteriorating?

26-Dec-2006, 22:25
Search the archives, here and at APUG, for the term "schneideritis". This is a common issue. It is a bubbling of the blacking on the side of the lens elements. It does not appear to affect quality in any significant way.

27-Dec-2006, 01:04

Brian is absolutely right on the flaking of the black paint... it won't harm your images at all.

Fujinon lenses also exhibits the same anomaly in some of their older lenses.

No big problem!

BTW, you're very lucky to have a wife who would buy you lenses... mine buys me Champagne! :)


Norm Buchanan
27-Dec-2006, 07:22
Thanks guys! I was hoping it was someting like you described :)

Frank Petronio
27-Dec-2006, 09:26
It does affect resale value though, so I hope she didn't send too much. Maybe $4-500 for one as late as yours with moderate Schneideristis, versus $600 or so for one without.

Norm Buchanan
27-Dec-2006, 10:36
I am not concerned about resale, but I do want something that gives good results. After finding out what the problem is I have read quite a bit and while I am confident the image quality won't be too adversely affected I am shocked that this is such a prevalent issue. I work in a field where precise clean optics are a requirement and I can't imagine this problem wasn't nipped in the bud immediately. It really doesn't seem like it would be terribly difficult to modify the processing steps/materials to alleviate the issue. It's not like these are cheap lenses for point and shoot cameras...

Kevin Crisp
27-Dec-2006, 11:41
Norm: It probably wasn't nipped in the bud immediately because it took years to show up. The condition is not confined to Schneider lenses, though it has been named after Schneider lenses. I think it has zero effect on the image and other than the issue of resale value, I wouldn't worry about it. You've got a very nice lens there, congratulations.

Ernest Purdum
28-Dec-2006, 19:28
I feel a little sorry for Schneider that we have hung this name on the condition. It really is quite common on older lenses from many makers. Just now, I noticed it on some WWII era Bausch & Lomb lenses.

Jim Galli
28-Dec-2006, 19:47
A LOT of my old Wollensak lenses have Schneideritus. Hey that makes them worth more it they've got Schneider anything right? A service rep a Schneider assured me that there is no deleterious effect and it was Schneiders policy not to repair it. He felt it is such a non issue that it should NOT affect the lenses resale value. I don't mention it when I sell used Schneider lenses but usually my photos are good enough that it can be seen if someone is the finicky type.

18-Jan-2007, 14:09
Isn't this what is technically called a lens separation?

tim atherton
18-Jan-2007, 14:16
Isn't this what is technically called a lens separation?

no - that's usually when the cement between lenses elements fails/deteriorates and the elements separate to some degree.

This is about where the outside edge of the lens element meets/abuts the inside of the lens barrel - it's usually painted/coated black - this doesn't have much to do with the optical characteristics of the glass. This is "just" a deterioration in that cosmetic coating (bubbling or something) where it happens to be in contact with the glass.

Schneider clams it has no effect on the lens in use - some figure that in the worst cases it might. Most people just see it as a way to get a good lens cheaper...

Ole Tjugen
18-Jan-2007, 14:41
The odd thing is that my Schneider lenses seem to have a lot less of it than the others - Rodenstock, Goertz, Zeiss, Dallmeyer and just about every other lens maker. ;)

18-Jan-2007, 14:54
Schniederitus is a leading cause of anxiety in photogs.

18-Jan-2007, 15:54
Isn't this what is technically called a lens separation?

No. See post #2 and 3 in this thread. Lens separation is when the cement holding together lens elements in a compound lens fails.

Ernest Purdum
18-Jan-2007, 16:22
GSX4 - no, lens separation is between two pieces of glass. It starts at the edge and extends inward. The cause is the glue (balsam) becoming crystalline.

Schneideritis is a problem of the paint used around the edge of the glass. When it is first applied to the ground edge of the glasses, it is a nice flat black, but over time it starts to have little bubbles in it. It is undesirable, but not nearly as significant as separation.

Kevin Crisp
18-Jan-2007, 16:24
No, it is not. Lens separation means that the lens elements that are not air spaced (in other words, the ones that are glued together) are starting to come apart. Schneideritis is cosmetic spots on the black paint that is on the outside edge of the glass elements. It doesn't mean the elements are coming apart, which is a much more serious problem. I personally don't think Schneideritis affects anything other than the used price of a lens. On the rare Symmars that separate (and I've personally only seen this on a few early ones) the separations look like little snowflake stars or bright spots, somewhere out near the middle third of the lens. The ones I had with this condition worked very well.

David A. Goldfarb
18-Jan-2007, 18:22
I suspect this condition is associated with Schneider because it is particularly easy to see on a Super-Angulon which has large elements with thick beveled edges that are visible from the front of the lens. If they had made the elements cylindrical, this condition might have been called something else. It's not unusual on other lenses.

Steve Hamley
18-Jan-2007, 19:29

No, separation is the glue between two pieces of glass turning loose. Schneideritis is the black "paint" on the edges of the glass bubbling or deteriorating.


erie patsellis
18-Jan-2007, 21:35
for those that haven't seen it, or aren't sure...

separation, typically snowflake shaped:

I'll see if I can find one of my other lenses that has edge seperation, typically (but not always) indicative of mishandling.


pic showing the reflectivity...

slightly more on axis...


immastakeable when you have the lens in your hands, and relatively simple to ameliorate, or jsut live with it, as I have on a few lenses that were too cheap to pass up.

Pic of schneideritis....