View Full Version : Rodenstock APO-Sironar S vs. Schneider Symmar (APO) S

14-Oct-2008, 10:24
Looking at 4 lenses...

150/5.6 Rodenstock APO-Sironar S: $950
150/5.6 Schneider Symmar S: $400 +MC; $260 -MC
210/5.6 Rodenstock APO-Sironar S: $935
210/5.6 Schneider APO-Symmar: $400

Those are prices from eBay searches of either ended auctions or buy-it-now listings. Why are the Rodenstock's so much more expensive (literally arm, leg, and first-born, whereas the Schneider's are just arm and maybe leg ;-).

Looking at these resolution specifications (http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/testing.html), it isn't like the Rodenstocks have significantly better resolution; in fact, average resolution for them is worse, although they have more coverage in each case. Looking at the lens specs (I calculated average resolution from cnt, mdl, and edge resolution at all f-stops), I don't see why the Rodenstocks are that much more:

150/5.6 Rodenstock APO-Sironar S
Image circle: 231 mm
Tilt Degrees Landscape: 18.67
Minimum lpmm: 35
Maximum lpmm: 76
Average lpmm: 58

150/5.6 Schneider Symmar S
Image circle: 210 mm
Tilt Degrees Landscape: 14.28
Minimum lpmm: 38
Maximum lpmm: 85
Average lpmm: 60

210/5.6 Rodenstock APO-Sironar S
Image circle: 316 mm
Tilt Degrees Landscape: 25.05
Minimum lpmm: 43
Maximum lpmm: 55
Average lpmm: 76

210/5.6 Schneider APO-Symmar
Image circle: 305 mm
Tilt Degrees Landscape: 23.7
Minimum lpmm: 54
Maximum lpmm: 76
Average lpmm: 64

I used the Scheimpflug calculations to figure out the maximum tilt of image planes at different distances, given the maximum tilt of the lens (in landscape), and even as close as 1 foot, it's only a difference of 6.4 degrees (33.04 vs. 26.62) at 150 mm and 1.3 degrees (31.57 vs. 30.26) at 210 mm for the Rodenstock vs. Schneider lenses. So what's up?

The 150 mm lenses seem to have more falloff in resolution at the edge (reflected by their minimum resolutions) than the 210 mm lenses.

PS: The resolution tests for the 150/5.6 Schneider don't say whether it was the multi-coated version or not. Does that make a difference for resolution?

14-Oct-2008, 11:23
The price difference may reflect simply new vs. used. Schneider no longer makes the "Symmar S" or "APO-Symmar." Their current line is the "APO-Symmar-L" and, using Badger Graphic's prices for new lenses, the 150 is $949.95, and the 210 is $889.95. Badger's prices for the APO-Sironar-S's are $919.95 for the 150 and $1,219.95 for the 210.


Chauncey Walden
14-Oct-2008, 11:51
Stick with the ended auctions. There are some dealers who place unreal buy it now prices on lenses hoping that someone with more cents than sense comes along.

14-Oct-2008, 12:08
Thanks all for the response. The new vs. old thing makes sense.

It seems like the 210 is the best one, with best consistency and highest average resolution (as well as largest image circle and most ability to tilt). The only thing is, do you think it will be as versatile in terms of portraiture and landscape as the 150?

However, what's the difference between a Schneider Apo Sironar and a Apo Sironar S? I see several Apo Sironar's on eBay.

Mark Sampson
14-Oct-2008, 13:09
You'd be very hard pressed to find any differences between the Schneiders and the Rodenstocks. Both companies produce state-of-the-art optics. You can't go wrong either way. Whether you want a 150 or a 210, however, depends on how you see things. A 210 would be better for portraiture, as on 4x5 it will give a more pleasing perspective, and at a little more distance from your subjects. That will tend to make them more comfortable, as you won't have the camera right in their face.

Ron Marshall
14-Oct-2008, 13:28
What Mark said. Often there is a greater difference is resolution between various samples of a given lens than between comparible lenses from different makers.

Buy one used lens to see how that focal length suits your needs. You can then trade or buy others with a better idea of what you need.

14-Oct-2008, 14:14
Thanks all. I'll just get whatever is the best deal then between the two brands.

What about the differences between the Schneider Apo Sironar and a Apo Sironar S lines?

Also, the resolution tests sometimes show the resolution for several lenses from the same manufacturer and in the same line, but with different f-numbers; i.e., Nikkor SW 90/4.5 and Nikkor SW 90/8. Can we presume these lenses have similar resolutions at identical f-stops?

14-Oct-2008, 14:42
Those LP/MM numbers are completely meaningless.
If you want to geek out, you have to compare MTF curves (used to be available on the schneider site, and rodenstock curves available on some photographer's site).
If you do this I think you'll find performance to be very close overall.

Eric Leppanen
14-Oct-2008, 14:43
I haven't tracked these prices recently but around a year ago a used 150mm Rodenstock Sironar-S would go for around $700. Rightly or wrongly, the Sironar-S has something of a reputation of being the "best" (it typically has a slightly larger image circle and slightly more contrasty look than the Schneider APO Symmar/APO Symmar L) and typically commands a slight premium. For more info comparing the Sironar-S versus the cheaper, so-called consumer grade Sironar-N, check out this post:


Personally, of all these lenses I would pick the cheapest muliti-coated one that has sufficient coverage for your needs. You'd be hard pressed to see any significant differences in real world applications. You can potentially save some additional money by researching the Calumet Caltar's, some of which are Rodenstock or Schneider lenses rebadged under the Calumet name. For example, the Caltar II-N is the same lens as the Sironar-N. The Caltar lenses sell for less than their name brand counterparts, even though they are otherwise identical. They are lots of threads here at the LF forum regarding Caltars, plus Kerry Thalmann wrote some fine articles for View Camera magazine about these lenses.

Brian Stein
14-Oct-2008, 14:48
Dont sweat the lpm stuff: all of the modern lenses by the 4 'modern' makers (Fuji,nikon,rodenstock,schneider) are capable of taking outstanding pictures.

As others have said buy for focal length 'view'. The 4.5 vs 8 thing is more about brightness for focussing and has other consequences (weight, filter size); most folks use most of their lenses stopped down a way most of the time.

To directly answer your question *I* would presume similar resolution at similar f-stops

Ken Lee
14-Oct-2008, 16:31
Consider size, weight, and filter size.

Don Hutton
14-Oct-2008, 18:07
Consider size, weight, and filter size.That's excellent advice. All the modrn 150s are excellent. I've seen multicoated Schneider Symmar S 150s change hands on Ebay for about $200 and they are excellent small sharp lenses with ample coverage for 4x5.