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Thread: 135 mm Lenses: Which to keep?

  1. #1
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    135 mm Lenses: Which to keep?

    I currently have 2 135mm lenses. I am planning on keeping one and selling the other, probably purchasing a 90 mm. The ones I have are:

    1 - Schneider Symmar-S 5.6 / 135 Multicoated, and

    2 - Nikkor-W 5.6 / 135.

    Which is generally considered the better lens?

  2. #2

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    Re: 135 mm Lenses: Which to keep?

    Keep whichever is in better condition. If in equal condition, then flip a coin.

  3. #3

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    Re: 135 mm Lenses: Which to keep?

    They are so close that I think you could find as many people who prefer the Schneider as those who prefer the Nikkor. They are both older so condition of the lens/shutter is likely a bigger difference between them than anything else.

    I have the Symmar and like it. You have both, which one do you prefer?

  4. #4

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    Re: 135 mm Lenses: Which to keep?

    These two lenses were direct competitors in the marketplace when new (Schneider-1978-90, Nikon- 1980-2007?) and should both be superb performers. So:
    Set up a photo that's typical of what you do. Shoot one side of a holder with one lens. Change lenses, refocus, and shoot the other side of the holder. Same shutter & f/stop of course.
    Process, make contacts; matched enlargements; or look at chromes with a loupe. One may make an image you like better. Keep that lens. If the images appear almost identical (and they just might), flip a coin. Or sell the one that is better cosmeticallly, as that one will bring more money.

  5. #5

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    Re: 135 mm Lenses: Which to keep?

    If you want very sharp image, Nikkor. If you want a warmer color tone, Symmar. Keep the better condition and check the shutter which one is better and accurate.

  6. #6
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    Re: 135 mm Lenses: Which to keep?

    Thanks all.

    I have to shoot an "Industrial Landscape" shot this weekend, and will be shooting some "High Key" still lifes that I also want on film. I will try to use both lenses and look for a difference. They both are in very good condition, with no visible flaws. The only hard part is that one is on a lensboard for my Toyo, and the other on a lensboard for my Wista. I will have to use both cameras, or take a wrench with me and swap lenses. For the shots at home that is no big thing.

    Again, I really appreciate the replies.

  7. #7

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    Re: 135 mm Lenses: Which to keep?

    With a choice such as yours, it often comes down to logistic details. What size filters do you have and use most? (I have tons of 52mm filters, so I've got a couple-three Nikkors for that reason.) Which is lightest? What are the coverages of the two? etc.

    FYI, the Nikkor gets panned in a couple of lens tests, but the consensus seems to be that the tests were not representative. I have the 135 Nikkor W and it is as sharp as any of my other 135mms.

    Of course, you could always do as I, and keep them both (I've got three in that focal length; the Nikkor goes in the backpacking/hiking kit due to its size and weight, I have two Wide-Field Ektars that I like for their sharpness and larger image circle, one in the States and one that lives in Vienna (so I don't have to schlepp so many lenses back and forth across the Atlantic).

    Best,

    Doremus Scudder

  8. #8

    Re: 135 mm Lenses: Which to keep?

    I have the 135 W for exactly the same reason - 52mm filter size, as my Fujinon 300C and 450C both have their front thread in that size. Symmar-S 135mm seems to have 49mm front thread.

    For 135mm lense, Lee wide-angle adapter is necessary if one uses Lee GND; and life will be a lot easier with as few filter sizes as possible. My LF arsenal only contain lense in two filter sizes: 67mm and 52mm, and so I only have to use two WA adapters.


    Quote Originally Posted by Doremus Scudder View Post
    With a choice such as yours, it often comes down to logistic details. What size filters do you have and use most? (I have tons of 52mm filters, so I've got a couple-three Nikkors for that reason.) Which is lightest? What are the coverages of the two? etc.

    FYI, the Nikkor gets panned in a couple of lens tests, but the consensus seems to be that the tests were not representative. I have the 135 Nikkor W and it is as sharp as any of my other 135mms.

    Of course, you could always do as I, and keep them both (I've got three in that focal length; the Nikkor goes in the backpacking/hiking kit due to its size and weight, I have two Wide-Field Ektars that I like for their sharpness and larger image circle, one in the States and one that lives in Vienna (so I don't have to schlepp so many lenses back and forth across the Atlantic).

    Best,

    Doremus Scudder

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