View Full Version : Symmar information wanted

Paul Ewins
1-Oct-2009, 23:36
I'm trying to write a few small articles for the magazine of my local camera collectors club. One of the topics is the Schneider Symmar lens and I'm hoping that somebody may be able to help fill in some gaps for me. The biggest of these is trying to work out when the various series were introduced. The timeline I have at the moment goes like this:

1914 - Symmar name trademarked
1919/1920 - f6.8 Symmar lenses on sale
1934/39 - range from 60mm to 360mm on sale.
1940+ - f6.8 lenses now sold in "triple convertible" form
1952 - f5.6 double convertibles introduced in 135, 150, 180 & 210 focal lengths.
1954 - f6.8 lenses discontinued, presumably the f5.6 versions of the 240, 300 & 360 are now available
1962 - 100mm Symmar available (may have occured earlier)
1966 - 80mm Symmar available (may have occured earlier)
1967/71? - 355/620 f6.8 in Copal 3 sold alongside 360/620 f5.6 in Compound IV
1972 - Symmar-S on sale (introduced b/w 66 and 72??) available as 100, 135, 150, 180, 210, 240, 300 & 360 (f6.8)
1982 - 120 & 480 have been added since 1978
1991/2001 - APO Symmar rage introduced
2002 - APO Symmar L range introduced

So you can see that I don't have a firm date for the introduction of the Symmar S or the APO-Symmar. I have almost no information on the triple convertible version and would like to at least have a list of focal lengths to compare to the pre-war lenses. 1934 is the earliest brochure I have seen, so anything prior to that would also be helpful.

Most of this information has been gleaned from the brochures on the Schneider site and Seth Broder's Camera Eccentric site with a bit of extra background from the Vade Mecum. Unfortunately the brochures only provide a snaphsot as it were, and I don't know what was happening in the years between the brochures.

Peter K
2-Oct-2009, 02:00
1954 - f6.8 lenses discontinued, presumably the f5.6 versions of the 240, 300 & 360 are now available
1962 - 100mm Symmar available (may have occured earlier)
In a price list from Oct 1 1956 the Symmar is aviable in the focal lenghts: 105mm (!), 135, 150, 180, 210, 240, 300 and 360mm.

In May 1964 the shortest focal lenght was 100mm, the 105 mm wasn't aviable anymore.

Later was also an 80mm aviable as one can see here (http://www.schneider-kreuznach.com/archiv/pdf/sr_5.6_a.pdf).

Many older brochures are aviable on Schneider's german website (http://www.schneider-kreuznach.com/archiv/archiv.htm).


Mark Sampson
2-Oct-2009, 06:35
Where I work I had, (can't find it now), a brochure announcing the new Symmar-S range of lenses. It was dated 1972; and we have a 300/5.6 Symmar-S made in 1973. It's likely the brochure was used to select the 'new' lens (which is extremely sharp), so 1972 might work as an introduction date for the 'S' series.

2-Oct-2009, 14:24
i hate to ask this
but have you contacted schneider optics ?
they have a huge archive from what i was told
and i have spoken with them on the phone about some old-stuff ..
and they were more than helpful ...

they used to have a phone number listed on their website ..


Paul Ewins
2-Oct-2009, 19:31
Thanks Peter, I had forgotten about there being a 100/5.6 & 105/5.6 Symmar. It looks like the 105 had a very short life, 1956 - 1962 at the most.

Mark, if it announces the "new Symmar-S" then 1972 looks to be the introduction date.

John, I've been through what is on the German website but haven't tried emailing them yet. I don't want to bombard them with too many questions, so the more I can discover here first the better.

Peter K
2-Oct-2009, 23:48
It looks like the 105 had a very short life, 1956 - 1962 at the most.
Or it's the same lens. The 105 was mounted in a shutter size #00 but the 100 in size #0. And the 100 has an effective focal lenght of 102.3 mm.


Larry Whatley
4-Oct-2009, 18:30
Paul, I have resolution data on an older, uncoated Symmar if it would help. It's aerial image resolution of a test chart as seen in the focal plane with an eyepiece, not actual testing with film. Let me know if it will help what you're doing. - Larry

Diane Maher
5-Oct-2009, 05:32
What about the Super Symmar XL series? Are you including those?

Paul Ewins
5-Oct-2009, 16:18
Peter, I think the change in shutter might have caused a minor redesign as the examples I have seen convert from 105mm to 165mm and from 100mm to 175mm. It might just be the rear element that changed, but that would have reduced the focal length of the combined lens.

Larry, for the intended audience (camera collectors) it is probably overkill, but I wouldn't mind having the data for my own interest.

Dianne, the Super Symmar XL, Super Symmar HM & Makro-Symmar HM will probably end up more as footnotes as they are quite different designs to the regular Symmar series. The Macro-Symmar is the closest as it is more-or-less symmetrical but is an 8 element design not 6. Still, if you have introduction dates for any of them it will flesh out the timeline a bit.


Larry Whatley
6-Oct-2009, 22:36
Paul, here is the resolution data I took on an older Symmar. It is from the aerial image in the focal plane. I was a little disappointed in the result, having seen some Dagor resolutions, but I believe it is correct. This lens was in a Compur shutter, I believe spaced correctly, and a second pair of Symmar lens groups gave similar performance (a little better at 30 deg.). This lens has about a stop's worth of vignetting (from f/5.6) at about 30 deg. off-axis and total vignetting at about 40 deg.

Resolution, lines/mm, 240 mm Symmar #8407861

Aperture.........Deg from optical axis



(sorry for the formatting -- having trouble getting the table posted)

- Larry Whatley