View Full Version : Schneider Componon 300mm f5.6 on 8x10 camera?

12-Dec-2010, 03:16
Anyone ever used a Schneider Componon 300mm F5.6 for shooting 8x10? I recently bought an old 8x10 and it had this lens on the lensboard. The camera needs restoring so I haven't tried this combo yet. It seems to be only focusses in shorter distances (portrait).

Jim Noel
12-Dec-2010, 07:43
It is an enlarging lens,but you should be able to focus an image

12-Dec-2010, 07:46
The 300mm Componon's are huge heavy lenses I have one for my 19x8 enlarger and it'd be too heavy on a field camera.

As it focusses for portraits then Infinity means just less lens/screen distance which shouldn't be an issue, you'd need to tell us what camera, perhaps post some images.

The problem is the lens has no shutter and is too large for most anyway so that poses a problem.


erie patsellis
12-Dec-2010, 08:44
The 300mm Componon cells will screw into a #3 Copal, I just checked mine.

While it was designed for enlarger use, many photographers decades ago used Componons for tabletop work, I have used a 210 in a #1 shutter as a taking lens several years ago and couldn't find any faults with it (and it had a chunk out of the front element as well).

Did this camera also have a packard shutter mounted in it?

Brook Martin
12-Dec-2010, 08:47
The performance might surprise you. I have used one for a regular taking lens for 8x10 and 11x14 and have no complaints. I should mention though that I was only contact printing, so enlarging could be an altogether different matter.

14-Dec-2010, 08:51
It is mounted on an old Burke & James, no Packard shutter, but I suspect that the previous owner did use one (there is an opening in the lensboard). It is a big lens, and focussing at portrait distances is no problem for me because I plan to use the thing for portraits only.
How do I mount a Copal shutter? Any online resources for that?

14-Dec-2010, 12:50
You need LESS bellows for infinity, so if it focuses at shorter distances it should focus at infinity also.

14-Dec-2010, 17:33
The Componon cells should screw direcctly into a Copal 3 shutter.

The catch is that the cheapest way to buy a Copal shutter is with an old lens. Then you would not need to use the Componon!

Try using slow film. ASA 25 film should give you shutter speeds that can be managed with a lens cap.

17-Dec-2010, 08:13
The catch is that the cheapest way to buy a Copal shutter is with an old lens. Then you would not need to use the Componon!

That is what I was thinking....:o

reyno bundit
17-Dec-2010, 11:34
i shoot a 210 on a home made 10x8, my results showed that it can be used for closeup work with great results , but if you want to avoid problems at infinity then reverse the lens or you might get a hot spot

Paul Ewins
17-Dec-2010, 15:27
The Componon is a variant of the Symmar that has been optimised for high magnification work, i.e. enlarging and macro. It had the same elements in the same cells but the spacing was slightly different.

Early Symmars were in Compound 3 shutters, later they went to Copal 3 which is a larger thread size so I imagine the Componon would be the same. As Jackpie has said, most donor shutters come with the lens attached and a 300 Symmar probably falls into that category so you would be better just waiting for a bargain on a 300 Symmar than fiddling wit e Componon.

Dan Fromm
17-Dec-2010, 17:25
Paul, like you I understand that the Componon is a Symmar tweaked for enlarging but I'm not so sure about what the tweak is. I know that changing cell spacing changes focal length; I'm not sure that it changes the conjugates for which the lens works best. So I need to be enlightened on exactly makes a Componon an enlarging lens.

Reyno, interesting idea, that hot spot. Have you seen it?

Paul Ewins
18-Dec-2010, 04:37
Initially the tweak was separating the front group, as shown in the lens diagrams below. Later diagrams for the Componon show it the same as the Symmar so I don't know if they changed it back again or used the wrong diagram. Unfortunately I don't know how this optimises macro performance. I guess other possible tweaks would be increasing or decreasing the distance between the cells or maybe even adjusting the position of the diaphragm although that wouldn't do much wide open.

I have been wading my way through Schneider brochures and other sources of information for eighteen months or so and although I know more now, I don't necessarily understand what I know :)


reyno bundit
18-Dec-2010, 07:28
Reyno, interesting idea, that hot spot. Have you seen it?

hi yes i got a hot spot on all my shots when the comp was used in the regular way, but not when used at distances under 2 metre.

i reversed the lens and it worked well at mid - infinity, no hot spot any more.

shutter controls are difficult when reversed but if you are in a barrel then it wont matter

i only used this lens due to my budget of 10 euros for my home made 10x8, if you have the cash buy a better lens


second row first pic is the comp 210mm on a foamcore camera

18-Dec-2010, 08:20
Cell spacing can change flatness of field. The rays that come from the center are not refracted much and not affected much by cell spacing. Rays from the edges are more affected by cell spacing, thus the potential for altering flatness of field one way or the other.

Good pickup on the similarity between the Symmar and Componon, I was not aware of that.

I have a 360mm Componon, that is a big lens! I did try screwing the cells into the two different #3 shutters I have but it did not fit either of them.

Dan Fromm
18-Dec-2010, 08:30
ic, in Schneider-speak Componon = enlarging Symmar, Comparon = enlarging Xenar, Componar = enlarging Radionar

Reyno, I believe you but I'm not sure that what you report is due to the lens. This because I tried shooting a 100/5.6 Componon-S and a 105/5.6 Componon at distance and didn't get a central hot spot.

erie patsellis
18-Dec-2010, 11:49
ic-racer, the earlier (chrome nose) 360 fits into one of the Compound 3 or 5 shutter variants, as I recall. I used one for years on my 8x10 with a Packard until the price of Symmars got down to a point where it didn't make sense anymore not to buy one.

reyno bundit
18-Dec-2010, 13:40
Reyno, I believe you but I'm not sure that what you report is due to the lens. This because I tried shooting a 100/5.6 Componon-S and a 105/5.6 Componon at distance and didn't get a central hot spot.

thats cool, its just my experience, others might find they get different results.
i now more regulary use a aldis barrel lens instead of the comp 210

21-Dec-2010, 17:56
I use a 360mm Componon with a Packard shutter on my 11x14, so a similar solution should work here. Similarly, I use a 210mm Componon on my 4x5 RB Auto Graflex SLR.

Paul Ewins
21-Dec-2010, 22:09
The 360/5.6 Symmar used a Compound 4. When the Compound shutters were discontinued it went into a Copal 3 and became the 355/6.8. (According to the literature the actual focal length of both lenses was 358mm). After the changeover (late 1970) there was only one more batch of 360 Componons made (15 units) so I think all of the 360 Componons would have fitted straight into a Compound 4.

22-Dec-2010, 17:03
Some info on mounting a Componon 360mm in a Compur 3 in this literature from Schneider:

Jim Galli
22-Dec-2010, 17:11
I used a 135mm Componon S on my 4X5 in a Copal 0 shutter for a LONG time. Later on a nice little Fuji 125 came along and I have loved it, but there was no reason I ever found not to use the Componon as a taking lens. I always stopped down to at least f16.

Put a Packard back behind that Componon and wean yourself from shutters. You'll ultimately have a lot more fun.