View Full Version : 300mm f/5.6 Symmar-S [circa 1980] vs Current 300mm f/5.6 Apo-Symmar

Myco Megasoid
16-Feb-2002, 17:02
I have a circa 1980 Schneider 300mm f/5.6 Symmar-S [not the old Symmar "non-S"] intended for 8x10 use that I use of 4x5 format to allow extensive camera movements on a monorail. It's only use is for studio product photography, from objects the size of a 35mm camera body to objects around 1 meter cubed.

I'm thinking about trading up to the 300mm f/5.6 Apo-Symmar.

I can compare lens test charts, etc., on my own--of course, the newer lens specs out better.

Has anyone had any real world experience with both lenses--does the newer lens really make images snap better with contrast, more sharpness, etc., to any noticeable extent? Do you have any comparison images that you could post to a URL or e-mail me?

Although my older lens is EXCELLENT, I always thought I noticed just a touch of color fringing in certain types of subject matter due to chromatic aberration. However, I could never measure it, not having any mechanism by which to do that, and the images were nonetheless great for both clients and myself. Also, it might have been my illusion at high contrast edges in certain subject matter, and whatever it was, it was very subtle--no one else saw it until I pointed it out, and even then many said they saw nothing like my description.

But then, why do large format without being a fanatic about getting the last % of performance out of it?

Thanks in advance, Myco http://www.megasoidstudios.com

Walter Glover
16-Feb-2002, 17:12

I had a Symmar-S 300mm 1:5.6 which was not as old as yours. It developed a problem with the coating in the rear section, was returned through the Australian distributor and replaced under the lifetime warranty by an Apo-Symmar.

I never detected the colour fringing you mention on the older lens (although I have always experienced this on Nikkors that friends own) but I must say that there is a crispness to the images of the Apo-Symmar that is not evident in those of the Symmer-S. This could be due to the coating problem but somehow I doubt it.

I also use the Apo-Symmar 150mm and 210mm and find them wonderful performers. On the other hand I have a Nikkor-M 450mm 1:9 which, by comparison with the Scneiders, is a trifle underwhelming.

My observations are based on colour transparencies and B&W negs.

It's always a conundrum,

Walter Glover