View Full Version : Schneider Lens Production Numbers

Jack Dahlgren
21-Oct-2009, 22:39
Just picked up a 135mm Symmar-S to replace the Paragon Anastigmat that came in my old Speed Graphic. I've been wanting to replace that lens for about 25 years but never got around to it until now. I checked the serial number of my new lens against Schneider's list of serial numbers and found that the lens was new in the mid-80's.

But then I looked at the progression of serial numbers by year and thought it would be a simple matter to chart the number of serial numbers issued per year. Here are the results:

The general curve (increase, then decline) is what I'd expect, but the amplitude is higher than I imagined. Schneider was a giant.

Anyway, I thought this may be an interesting historical footnote and I expect it would be similar for any other company which produces medium/large format lenses, though the Asian producers probably start and peak later due to their 35mm format lenses.

Arne Croell
21-Oct-2009, 23:04
Just don't assume that these are always mainly large format optics. In the 1960's, where the peak of your curve is, they were a big manufacturer for smaller camera lenses like the Retina, Edixa, even Instamatic. The same is true for Rodenstock, btw.

Paul Ewins
22-Oct-2009, 05:26
Yep, a lot of that is going to be Xenars and Tele-Xenars for various 35mm cameras. However, based on what I have seen on eBay, that curve probably does hold true for LF optics. FWIW, Canon celebrated the production of the 40,000,000th EOS lens in 2008, while Nikon (which did make LF and MF lenses) had reached 45,000,000 SLR lenses at around the same time, so I expect their curves will look a little different.

Jack Dahlgren
22-Oct-2009, 07:46
In complete context it probably says more about the location of worldwide lens production. US firms would also appear to have tumbled way off their peak at about the same time Japan was rising.

In LF it must be true that the existing inventory really is a barrier to new production. Things change a lot slower - if at all - in the large format arena.

Dan Fromm
22-Oct-2009, 08:49
Jack, the European (including the UK) optical goods industry fell off a cliff in the '70s because of competition from producers in Japan. The US optical goods industry pretty much died earlier because of competition from Europe.

If you're interested in such things, you might want to acquire a copy of P-H Pont's little booklet Les Chiffres Cles. FNAC has it.