View Full Version : 180/5.6 Sironar vs. 180/5.6 Symmar-S MC

23-Oct-2008, 05:19
Hi All,

I'm trying to decide between these two lenses for use on 5x7:

180/5.6 Sironar (Plain ole' Sironar)


180/5.6 Symmar-S MC

I shoot 99.9% B&W. I've searched the archives and cannot find anything to really set one apart from the other. Both seem to have excellent coverage #'s for 5x7 so short of flipping a coin or resorting to reading tea leaves can anyone recommend one over the other

23-Oct-2008, 05:30
If it's one of the very early Sironar's then you take a risk they are prone to de-lamination. The coatings are excellent though and almost as good as Multi-coating. I have both a 150mm f5.6 Sironar and a 150mm f5.6 Sironar-N MC and in practice it's impossible to see a difference in the images.

Personally I'd go for the more modern Symmar-S given your choice. My Sironar is de-laminating slightly.


Gem Singer
23-Oct-2008, 05:59
Look for a Caltar II-N f5.6 180, instead. It is a Rodenstock Sironar N that has been re-badged by Calumet and still available new. However, it is readily available used.

The two lenses you are inquiring about are older lenses. May have shutters that need a CLA. Low priced at the beginning, but more expensive in the long run. The Caltar II-N is a modern lens that can be purchased used at a reasonable price.

Ken Lee
23-Oct-2008, 11:23
"I've searched the archives and cannot find anything to really set one apart from the other".

Cost, availability, weight, size, filter size, shutter size, number of blades in diaphragm ?

Frank Petronio
23-Oct-2008, 13:01
For the least trouble, the newer the better of either brand, in a black rim Copal with a black aperture pointer. For the smoothest yet sharp B&W image I'd look for an older Symmar-S in a older Compur shutter with more than 7 blades so it makes a round aperture, with the caveat that Compur parts are getting harder to come by.... For a bargain, look for a 1980s Caltar. I'd pass on the 1970s Sironar (non-N) unless you could inspect it for separation, as I've boughten two old Sironars and gotten screwed that way. The older 1970s Schneiders may have Schneideritis but they don't seem to fall apart as often.

If you're patient you'll find all of them in the low $200s.