View Full Version : Difference between Symmar S and Apo Symmar L

31-Jan-2009, 05:29
I'm looking for a 210mm lens for my 6x9 Arca Swiss. I could get a very clean Schneider 210 mm Symmar S multicoated or a APO Symmar L for more than double the price.

Are there any noticable differences for a 6x9 and film? I don't have any trouble with sharpness with any of my other rather old lenses (15+ years), so maybe one of you could give me a clue.

I'm shooting architecture, city- & landscapes, interiors, some rare studio work.

Joe Forks
31-Jan-2009, 06:45
Here's a link to the same topic from 15 days ago.



31-Jan-2009, 07:13
Geez, thanks a lot Joe, that helped a lot - it'll be the Symmar S now.

Sal Santamaura
31-Jan-2009, 08:16
It might not be wise to reach such a conclusion so quickly. The previous thread involved no consideration of 6x9 format, where you'll want a lens with absolute best performance. I'd give serious consideration to an Apo Symmar L or Apo Sironar S.

Joe Forks
31-Jan-2009, 08:43
Yeah, probably your biggest concern will be shading all the non image forming light coming from a lens that covers 5x7 used on 6x9 format.

Look over these lens tests by Chris Perez and Kerry Thalman.

While the 210 symmar s MC wasn't tested (APO non L version was) it's interesting to note the performance of some of the plain ole symmar s like 180 single coated - holy cow those are almost hassleblad type numbers.

In the end you decide if you want to shell out the extra bucks and a side by side test is the best way to make that determination, but really I don't think you'll be able tell any difference from a "sharpness" point of view.

31-Jan-2009, 21:42
Hi, Apo Symmar has more coverage than Symmar S, that mean more movement, and just cover 8X10. If you plan move to 8X10 in a future, go for Apo one, you get a wide angle lens. I'm using a Apo one for both format, happy with both.

1-Feb-2009, 02:59
Thank you all for your information. I think the Symmar will do the trick, because I don't intend to upgrade to 8x10.

What I don't understand:

probably your biggest concern will be shading all the non image forming light coming from a lens that covers 5x7 used on 6x9 format.

On a 6x9 it will give me tons of movement, because I'm just using a 'cut out' of the image circle. From my logical point of view the lens should be pretty sharp because I'm just using the center in most cases.

The real problem is that I'm working completely in a 6x9 environment, which is MF an not LF (unless someone defines 6x9 as 1/2 4x5 :D ), but I'm using LF lenses because there are no special MF lenses for a 6x9 view camera. So I don't even know if can use this forum :)

Unfortunately I can't compare both lenses because they are second hand from different parts of the world. On the other hand if the Symmar S shouldn't meet my expectations, I can sell it and upgrade to an APO Symmar. Time will tell...

Bjorn Nilsson
1-Feb-2009, 07:54
To fill in for Joe: A 210 casts an image circle close to 12-13" wide (at infinity). As you'll only use the center 2x3" portion of that image, the rest can cause a lot of flaring stray light. So you'll need a good lens shade, i.e. something like a compendium. Idealy you should use an extra bellows in front of the camera which "mirrors or follow" the draw, tilt and shift of the camera bellows. Then only the image forming light will pass the lens and the camera.
A little flare doesn't harm sharpness much, but image contrast suffers. A lot of flare can ruin a picture.

Even though you're not shooting large format per definition, I don't think anyone will bash you on the head for that. You ask about something which this forum is about and at least you are using a view camera.


Ernest Purdum
1-Feb-2009, 10:40
There are a number of lenses, most of them a little old, which have image circles appropriate to a 6X9 with movements. A 135mm Ektar or Xenar, so often out of place on a 4x5, would be one example. A few makers provided Apo's in surprisingly small sizes. Voigtlander and Boyer come to mind, but I think there were otherrs. These are commonly in barrel, but some of them will fit in front of an MP-4 Polaroid Copal, a very coinvenient shutter. For that matter there are the longer MP-4 lenses themselves.

None of the above are multicoated. Considering that you have other not designed yesterday lenses with which you find sharpness adequate (no surprise), maybe one of these would be helpful and save you a whole bunch of money.

Ernest Purdum
(former occasional assistant to Honda design)

Oren Grad
1-Feb-2009, 12:14
but I'm using LF lenses because there are no special MF lenses for a 6x9 view camera.

There are state-of-the-art view camera lenses that are designed specifically to optimize performance over small film or sensor areas. Many of these are recently introduced products that are designated as "digital" lenses but also perform very well on film. The obvious example is the 100mm Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-S, which was designed for medium format to start with. The longest of the Apo-Sironar-Digital lenses, the 180mm, costs about the same as the 210mm Apo-Symmar L, at least here in the US. It's specified as covering an image circle of 150mm at working f/stops 8-11, which is ample for 6x9.

I have both the older 100mm Apo-Sironar-N and the 90mm Apo-Sironar-Digital, and both are excellent on 6x9.

Whether you really need one of these is up to you. But if you must have a state-of-the-art lens with optical design specifically optimized for a smaller format like 6x9, it is certainly available.

2-Feb-2009, 04:42
The are lighter 210 lenses for 6x9, like Apo-Ronar or Apo-Artar, both f/9. You could consider those.
Greetings from a 6x9 Plaubel user.