View Full Version : Info on SYMMAR-S 5,6/210mm on COPAL NO.1

14-Jul-2010, 05:49
I just got the SYMMAR-S 5,6/210mm on COPAL NO.1. Can You tell me what is the lenses best for, and how good or not are they? Can I made some DIY board for it?

I will be using it on 4x5 and 8x10 format's. I search around for symmar-s 210 photo's on forum but i couldn't found mutch.

14-Jul-2010, 09:33
I have the same lens and I this is one of my sharpest. It is a beautiful lens.
Used both for landscapes and portrait.
The drawbacks are :
- Its weight (compared to the 200M Nikkor)
- The dimeter of filters if you have tiny companions of the symmar.

You won't be disappointed with this lens.


14-Jul-2010, 11:21
210mm is the "normal" lens for a 5x7 camera, but it is a fantastic lens for 4x5 (favorite focal length for some) and it has more image circle than most 4x5 field cameras can use. I also used mine for 8x10 for a year or so before getting a better covering lens. You have to line up the little crescent on all 4 corners just right and the image circle will just fit. Though, if you contact print you may still see some vignetting.

The Symmar-S 210 is a very popular lens, you may have not searched well enough.
I posted mine here: http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showpost.php?p=279873&postcount=40

Peter Gomena
14-Jul-2010, 19:50
I've had my Symmar-S since 1980. It and my 150 Symmar-S are my favorite lenses for 4x5. It's a great lens for portraits, tabletop work and landscapes.

I've used it on an 8x10 for subjects closer than infinity. It's a tight fit. I now use it on my whole-plate camera as a moderate wide angle lens. It has only a little bit of room for movements on WP, maybe 2 inches.

16-Jul-2010, 05:52
So I will look also for symmar-s 150mm in future. What about 300mm lenses ?? I think there also is Symmar-s 300mm what about that lenses for portrait / nude ?

Mark Sampson
16-Jul-2010, 08:21
The 300mm Symmar-S is huge and heavy, in a big Copal 3 shutter. It takes a 105mm filter. A fantastic lens for 8x10; it has more resolution than you will be able to use. To use it on 4x5 you'll want a sturdy monorail camera.

Jim Rhoades
16-Jul-2010, 08:33
For 300 mm you might want to consider the Nikon 300M. It's an f/9 but you don't really miss the stops with the longer lenses. It will cover 8x10 and not rip the front standard off a 4x5. The huge f/5.6 300 may not fit some 4x5's.

Peter Gomena
16-Jul-2010, 10:28
You might also consider a 305mm f/9 G-Claron. Sharp as a tack, covers 8x10 with plenty of room to spare, and about the same size or slightly smaller than the 210 Symmar-S.

Peter Gomena

Don Dudenbostel
19-Jul-2010, 19:48
I bought my 150 & 210 S lenses in 1975. The 210 was my main lens for 4x5 until going digital in my commercial studio ten years ago. I considered replacing it with a super symmar HM and did a side by side comparison with a HM that Schneider sent for evaluation. The image circle of the HM was larger and would have ben a nice wide for my 8x10 but the color of the S was much more neutral with the HM being 10-12cc green. Contrast and resolution were about the same.

The S is about as good as it gets.

20-Jul-2010, 03:43
Wondering if it is possible to made (DIY) lensboard for copal 1 for my SYMMAR-S 210mm ??? Is there some dimension's website or something like this ??

Dan Fromm
20-Jul-2010, 05:12
Dellos, the lens in shutter attaches to the lensboard. The lensboard attaches to the camera.

Holes in boards are shutter-specific, not lens-specific. See http://www.skgrimes.com/products/index.htm for standard hole sizes for standard modern shutters.

Boards are camera-specific, not shutter-specific. You can't just make a board and expect it to fit all cameras, or even a 4x5 and an 8x10 camera from the same maker.

Which cameras do you have?

21-Jul-2010, 12:02
Remember that holes do not need to be super-precise. A millimeter or two too large is no issue for general photography, as long as the retainer has a flat surface that will bear down on the board fully.

If your camera takes a flat lens board, making your own is possible. But it's usually easier to buy the first one at least, so that you have a model of what is needed.

The Symmar-S is an excellent normal lens of plasmat design. But other plasmats are generally just as good, including the Rodenstock Sironar, the Nikkor-W, and the Fujinon-(okay, now I forget which Fujinon is the standard plasmat). Plasmats are generally newer and built for professional use in an age when their market consisted of pros and serious amateurs. They are all excellent. Newer lens designs might provide more coverage, but their image quality, if better at all, will not be noticeable except in the most demanding of conditions.

For 300mm, a plasmat like the Symmar will be very large and heavy. That may or may not be an issue, depending on your camera and intentions. There are lighter alternatives. The G-Claron is an example. But there is a middle ground that doesn't require you to limit yourself to an f/9 maximum aperture, and that's a tessar design. These tend to be a little older and they have less coverage, but stopped down to the same apertures you'd need for a G-Claron they perform excellently. Examples include the Ilex-Caltar, the Ilex Paragon (the f/6.3 version), and the Kodak Commercial Ektar. These tend to be cheaper than plasmats, and usually come in an Ilex No. 4 shutter, which is still quite large, but the lens itself is smaller and lighter, and pose no problem for most 4x5 cameras in terms of weight and balance. You'll get f/6.3 as a maximum aperture. These are quite nice for portraits on 4x5 and for normal lenses on 8x10, though with more limited movements for the latter. They were made up until the late 60's or early 70's, and are coated. More modern Asian versions of these lenses come up from time to time, including the Commercial Congo, but it's easier to find good examples of the originals.

Rick "who started with an Ilex Paragon 215mm f/4.5 for 4x5 use" Denney