Symmar S : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have been offered a 210mm F5.6 Symmar S-MC for about $550. Can someone enlighten me on this lens? I am a newcomer to LF and understand that this is an earlier version of the APO Symmar currently sold by Schneider. The lensis in a Copal 1 shutter. Don't know the filter size, it is reported to be in mint condition but will know more after seeing it this coming weekend. Comments on the qualiity and value of this lens are appreciated as well as date of manufacture. If somebody has a serial nummber list for this lens that would be a great help.

-- Dave Schneider (, March 22, 1999


I haven't used the lens so I can't comment on its quality, though my guess is that there's very little noticeable difference between it and the current APO Symmar, particularly if it's multicoated. However, with respect to your serial number list inquiry, Schneider's web site has a lits of serial numbers and dates of manufacture, if that's what you're interested in. They're web site is at I think. Brian

-- Brian Ellis (, March 22, 1999.

The Symmar-S takes a 77mm filter and the APO Symmar takes 72mm. The APO was noticeably sharper and contrastier than the S-S but the Symmar S was sharp and contrasty enough.

Mike <- 10 spaces :)

-- Mike Long (, March 23, 1999.

Hi Dave

I have a Symmar-S 210 mm lens. As stated earlier, it takes 77 mm filters (compared to 72 mm for the APO Symmar)so it is a fairly large lens. It has plenty of coverage for 4x5. I've been very happy with the performance of the lens. I've never used the APO Symmar so I can't tell you if the Symmar S is as sharp or contrasty, but I haven't noticed any less sharpness or contrast when compared to my Nikkor-M 300 mm, Schneider Super Symmar HM 120 mm, or Nikkor-SW 90 mm. As noted earlier, you can check the age of the lens by checking against Schneiders serial number list on their web site.

I think $550 is a little high for the lens, however. I bought mine new from Calumet for $310 in 1984. Checking back issues of Darkroom Photography magazine, I see that B&H sold it for $335 in 1985, and for $542 in 1989. I think the APO Symmar was introduced around 1990 or a little bit later, so $550 is probably about the highest new price for the Symmar S.

Christopher Cline Salt Lake City, UT

-- Christopher A. Cline (, March 24, 1999.

I own the 210mm Symmar-S (I believe that mine is one of the last before they switched to the APO model) and am quite satisfied with it. While I've never done a side-by-side comparison of photos shot with the Symmar-S and the APO-Symmar, I can say that the older lens produces wonderfully sharp and contrasty work. Remember, until Schneider introduced the APO version, this was one of the standard lenses for commercial illustration work, so many of the shots you see in magazines and billboards were made with it--and I never heard anybody complain that they were not sharp enough.

For what its worth, I bought mine used (in close to mint condition) in 1993 for about $500.

-- Rob Rothman (, March 25, 1999.

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