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Thread: new vs. used Schneider

  1. #1

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    new vs. used Schneider

    This may be a silly question but I can't help but wonder since I'm trying to save a buck on a new 4x5 system. Is it smart to buy a 10-15 year old lens opposed to the same lens new? Is there a difference in image quality? I guess I'm specifically talking about the Schneider f/5.6 Apo-Symmar L Lens series.

  2. #2

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    Re: new vs. used Schneider

    The Schneider APO series lenses were terrific and so were the multi-coated "S" series lenses. On the S lenses some were multicoated and some were not, if it doesn't say multicoated on the rim, it wasn't. You can save a great deal of money on a used lens, just make sure the glass is clean, the rim isn't dented, and the shutter works. There are small differences in image circle from series to series, I seriously doubt anyone can look at a negative or print and say "Oh, I can tell which one was taken with the Symmar-S," versus an APO or an APO-L. Under certain conditions like shooting into the sun, the multicoating can make some difference.

    Rodenstock and Nikkor and Fuji modern lenses are superb too.

  3. #3
    Big Negs Rock!
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    Re: new vs. used Schneider

    I'm buying lenses that are pre-teen. I have lenses from the '30's that are wonderful. I'd look at AA's images and determine when they were shot. His lens couldn't be newer than when he made the negative. Something to think about.......
    Mark Woods

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  4. #4
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: new vs. used Schneider

    I've got an APO Schneider and a Symmar-S. Both look great.

    Don't worry so much, just go shoot! The best lens is the one you can afford.

    BTW I've got several Schneider lenses for sale in the classifieds...
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram
    All comments and thoughtful critique welcome

  5. #5

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    Re: new vs. used Schneider

    Not a silly question at all.

    All my large format lenses were bought used. It rarely makes sense to buy new large format lenses. In fact many of the best lenses out there can only be purchased used.

  6. #6
    IanG's Avatar
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    Re: new vs. used Schneider

    Originally all my main lenes were second hand from the late 1970's or early 80 and Multicoated, Schneideres & Rodenstocks and all are superb performers.

    In more recent years I've added a second 5x4 set up (UK & Turkey) and most of these lenses are post WWII and coated (but not MC), in practice I've found no discernable differences betwen the coated and MC lenses for B&W works.

    However with colour work there can be shifts caused by the colour of some of the earlier coatings, and that needs to be taken into account.

    Ian

  7. #7

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    Re: new vs. used Schneider

    I've found that the lens' age is the least important factor as long as it is in good condition. The real way to approach this is to buy two or three lenses of the same focal length and test them - pick the one that makes the most appealing images to your eye.

    Luckily the used lens market on this forum and elsewhere is pretty steady, so if you buy them at a fair price, you can usually sell them for about the same and not loose anything for you trouble.

    For example, buy a 1960s Linhof-select 150/5.6 Symmar in a Compur shutter, or perhaps a 150mm Xenar, a 1980s Symmar-S, and a 1990s APO Symmar.... Shoot all three side by side and you may find you prefer the least expensive oldest lens for the way it renders, especially in B&W.

    People do this with high-end Nikon and Canon lenses all the time - you have to figure that older large format lenses had more sample variation than modern computerized assemblies so....

  8. #8

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    Re: new vs. used Schneider

    The best approach for a beginner is to buy two or three of the same focal length and test them? I'd suggest buying one decent lens and start using it. Evolve into a lens tester later if you must.

  9. #9

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    Re: new vs. used Schneider

    oh forgot he was a beginner. Well heck anything made since 1980 in good shape will make great pictures... and usually lenses made since 1903 are mostly great too.

  10. #10

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    Re: new vs. used Schneider

    Quote Originally Posted by rulonpete View Post
    ...Is it smart to buy a 10-15 year old lens opposed to the same lens new? Is there a difference in image quality? I guess I'm specifically talking about the Schneider f/5.6 Apo-Symmar L Lens series.
    It helps to actually read your question.

    As best I can determine, the L version of those lenses was introduced at Photokina 2002, so no samples will be even 10 years old.

    Schneider's quality control has been at an extremely high level over the last decade. There will inevitably be some performance variation between different samples. However, if a used Apo Symmar L has not been damaged or, for example, moved to a different shutter without attention paid to cell spacing, I'd not expect an image quality difference between it and new stock greater than sample variation within new stock.

    That said, I always encourage anyone who can afford it to purchase new equipment rather than used. If there are no buyers of new equipment, manufacturers will stop making things. That will inevitably have a negative effect on the supply of used gear for those who can't afford to buy new.

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