View Full Version : Schneideritis

7-Mar-2007, 10:42
I recently bought my first large format lens - a used Schneider 5.6 150mm Symmar-S - from a small and reputable camera shop. The lens has a moderate to advanced case of Schneideritis (separation of anti-reflective paint near the edge of the front lens element).

Areas where paint separation occurs on my lens look like tiny bubbles. Is it possible for light reflected from the bubbles to appear as spots on the negative - or interfere in any any way with image quality?

I'm not not concerned about the cosmetics of the lens as long as it produces sharp images.

Kevin Crisp
7-Mar-2007, 10:51
This has been beaten to death. Try the lens, I think you will find that it makes no difference whatsoever. Zero, nada. Not a little, not a slight amount, none at all. Should a significant level of it be disclosed by a seller as possibly affecting the price, yes. You certainly would never see spots on your negative from this, or anything else.

Walter Calahan
7-Mar-2007, 11:11
I have the same issue with my Schneider 150, but it's still one of the sharpest lenses in my camera bag.

7-Mar-2007, 11:16
Schneider-itis only affects the price.

I've a 135mm Symmar-S with an advanced case. Have used it extensively in all kinds of light conditions (it was my only lens for a long time). Never saw any effect. Never. Not even in bright, mid-day sun. Nothing.

Jim Galli
7-Mar-2007, 11:20
Check the archives. This topic gets covered exhaustingly about every 3 weeks.

neil poulsen
7-Mar-2007, 11:54
I think there has to be at some small increase in overall flare to the negative that is reflected off the internal surfaces of the lens. Those spots can be pretty bright. (Probably more so with single coated lenses.)

At the same time, I've used multiple lenses with this affliction, and I've always been quite pleased with the results. So, it's probably not a concern.

Plus, I among others have spoken to Schneider LF Technical Support about this, and they claim that it doesn't have an effect.

Who knows; maybe it's a benefit! People, I think including Ansel Adams, have suggested that, compared to modern contrasty lenses, black and white images can be improved by a little flare.

7-Mar-2007, 12:45
Who knows; maybe it's a benefit! People, I think including Ansel Adams, have suggested that, compared to modern contrasty lenses, black and white images can be improved by a little flare.

:) The ethereal, heavenly glow look... sounds like a commercial for hair shampoo! :)

I've got Schneideritis in a couple of my lenses and have never noticed any negative issues with them...


7-Mar-2007, 14:00
Thanks for your helpful feedback so far on my question.

Per Jim Galli's advice, I did check the archive and...yes...there has been a lot of discussion on the topic of Schneideritis. Hope you don't mind, Jim, but I'm reposting your Jan. '05 correspondence with Michael Klaymen of Schneider Optics about the issue, as it is very helpful:

I own over a dozen large format schneider lenses from the 1980's. They all
have varying degrees of air bubbles on the flat black painted surface in the
group barrels. What has caused this? What if any is the remedy? Does it
degrade image quality? Should I mention it as a defect if I sell my lenses
on the used market? None of my lenses are still under any warranties as I
have purchased all used. I could provide serial no.s if you would like.
They are G-Claron's, Componon-S's, and Symmar-S's and Caltar S II's

Jim Galli

Mr. Galli,

This won't affect image quality at all. If the lens element completely disengages from the housing, it might shift in the mount and go soft, but just bubbles in the housing will not cause this.


Michael Klayman
Technical Specialist
Schneider Optics, Inc.


Thanks for a timely answer. The only question unanswered is; Does the
phenomenon degrade the image in any percentage over what the same lens is
capable of producing if repaired? Has Schneider done any tests to determine
anything like this.

Thanks again, very much,
Jim Galli

Mr. Galli,

This is somewhat normal for lenses of that era. As long as the bubbles don't
start joining each other and growing over 100% of the surface, there's no
problem. This happens because the glue separates from the black paint. The
lenses won't move around in the mounts at all. I would definitely mention it
to any interested buyers, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a defect in
the lens. You could always send them in for repair if you like.


Michael Klayman
Technical Specialist
Schneider Optics, Inc.

Here is Schneider's response to Martin Petek-Strutsky (posted in May '04)regarding the paint separation under discussion. I believe that he was corresponding with a rep. in Germany, whose email address was not provided:

“…The effect discussed on the internet site mentioned by you is a separation of smallest paint particle at the edges of lenses, which can occur after years of use under certain environmental influences. By the magnifying glass effect of the single lenses these "white points" appear clearly increased. They lie outside the picture-determining path of rays and for this have no influence on the image quality. Our service is able to repaint the affected lenses and would make an offer after sending in the lens…”

Kevin Crisp
7-Mar-2007, 14:26
I personally beware of anything "somewhat normal." But in this case I agree with them. On a convertible Symmar, where the front element is in a housing finished in bright chrome, I can imagine that if all the paint on the outside of the front element were removed (something many times worse than the worst Schneideritis), and bright light came in at an angle, you might get some flare off the inside of the housing. But I have never seen one with all the black paint gone, and the modern ones are annodized black inside so it wouldn't matter anyway. The observation that the extreme edges of the lens are not in the light path makes perfect sense.