View Full Version : Xenar vs Symmar lenses

John Dorio
6-Apr-1999, 16:11
I have looked on the Schneider website at the lens specs for these two lenses an d found that the Xenars have a lower value of distortion across a 4x5 frame. Doe s this make them better lenses than the Symmars? What is this field curvature I have been hearing about on Xenars? Distortion is very low on Xenars according to Schneider. Could we be misled by wrong data from the Schneider website? Anybody want to comment?

David Grandy
6-Apr-1999, 20:57
I have a Xenar 150 and an older Symmar 210/370 convertable. Both are sharp (the convertable is sharp at 210 at least!) and contrasty. The Xenar though has a tiny image circle for 4X5 and that is to me the biggest drawback of this lens.

On the other hand it is tiny and size matters if you've been carrying it and everything else around on your back for a while. When I eventually get to where I'm going, I'm glad I have the 150mm focal length even with the small image circle. I think that I'd make weight sacrifices for certain lenses (72mm f5.6!) but a 150mm isn't one of those lenses. Frankly if it was the bigger lens I would leave it in the car.

Alan Gibson
7-Apr-1999, 07:45
I have quite a few 'standard' lenses for my 35mm SLRs, and I use them for their different specialities: fastest, smallest, sharpest, macro, whatever. There is no overall best, just best for a specific purpose.

The same is true for 5x4. The Xenars are very simple and good lenses. I personally would prefer a Super-Symmar 150 XL, for the extra coverage, despite the extra weight and slightly higher distortion, but the bank manager wouldn't allow it.