View Full Version : Schneider Symmar-S price

Lee Christopher
30-Dec-2009, 12:58
I'm looking at a listing and was wondering what would you pay for a Symmar-S (with shutter, no lens board) in what looks like fairly good condition?

I've read that even the single coated Symmar-S 300mm is a crackerjack of a lens and very sharp. Is that true? I'll be using it on a 4x5 view camera for portraits mainly.

Thanks for any advise you could share.

Don Dudenbostel
31-Dec-2009, 20:34
I don't know the price but I have an older one single coated in a copal and its a big heavy lens for a 4x5. I don't think it will fit through the lens opening of Linhof or an ebony although I may be wrong. I've used it on my Deardorff 8x10 for the past thirty years and have never had it on a 4x5. It is a very sharp lens however and covers 8x10 with movements.

Peter K
1-Jan-2010, 07:13
I've read that even the single coated Symmar-S 300mm is a crackerjack of a lens and very sharp. Is that true? I'll be using it on a 4x5 view camera for portraits mainly.
If the front-standard of your camera can bear a lens with 1.1 kg mounted in a size #3 shutter, also the bellows is ca. 450mm for the whole face, you will have a very sharp lens also with a big max. aperture of f/5.6.

The diameter of the rear element is 80mm but the hole of a standard for Technika lensboards is 86mm wide.


Lee Christopher
1-Jan-2010, 11:29
Thanks for sharing, and Happy New Year!

I'm not sure what happened, but apparently I posted this thread twice.


My apologies.

Jeffrey Sipress
1-Jan-2010, 16:55
I think you're better off with a reasonably sized lens for 4x5 such as the Nikon 300-M, etc.

John Powers
5-Jan-2010, 12:39
www.keh.com is a high volume buyer/seller of LF equipment. Besides buying from them, many use them as a price guide line. They have a 300mm Symmar-S in EX condition listed at $499. Listing reads “300 F5.6 SYMMAR-S COPAL BULB, TIME (8X10)(65 MOUNT), LARGE FORMAT VIEW LENS “ The (8X10) is the format they recommend.

I have no connection with them but have found them a useful reference.

I have a 300mm APO Symmar that I use on 8x10. It would be very heavy and pretty much over kill on 4x5.


5-Jan-2010, 14:16
If you want f/5.6 as a maximum aperture, there aren't that many choices. It's easy to recommend a telephoto design or a slower lens, but those lenses won't provide the same look or maximum aperture. For portraiture, you may actually need an f/5.6 lens.

The Symmars are priced about the same as other middle-aged plasmat designs. You can spend a little less and get a tessar design--I recently bought a 12" f/6.3 Caltar which is an Ilex-made copy of the Kodak Commercial Ektar for less than half the price mentioned in this thread. The Ilex #4 shutter it uses is about the same size as a Copal #3, and it fits fine on a Sinar board. Yes, it's heavy, but your monorail camera should have no problem with it. It's only a half-stop slower than the plasmats, but it has less coverage and is therefore a little less bulky--all good for 4x5 applications.

Being crackerjack sharp isn't necessarily a great feature for a lens used for portraiture. A Tessar, even at f/6.3, will be sharp in the center but perhaps not as sharp at the corners. That's fine for that application. Stopped down, it will be sharp enough for any reasonable application.

I have an 8-1/2" Ilex Paragon of similar design and at f/4.5 it is also big and bulky. I've used it on 4x5 cameras without issue, including for some images made wide open expressly to provide selective focus. No problem being sturdily supported on any of my 4x5 view cameras, even the dreadful ones. No problem mounting it on a 4x4 board, either, but it is true that the tessar design has a straight barrel in the rear instead of the cone-shaped barrel of a plasmat. In general, I like tessar designs for portraiture second only to Sonnar designs which are not available for large format.

When KEH writes the format with the lens description, they are saying what it was intended to do, not what it will do excellently.

Rick "who spent quite a while waiting for the right 300mm lens deal to come along" Denney