Opinions of the Super Symmar 110 XL?

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There seem to be a variety of opinions of this lens. Now that Schneider has ramped up production, and prices have fallen, I was interested in comments from those using the lens.

I will use it exclusively for 4x5. Is it as sharp as claimed? What about light falloff on 4x5. Several posters have questioned whether it is worse in this aspect than say a 90mm f4.5.

I have looked at the graphs on Schneider's web site, and they seem to indicate that it has the same falloff with angle as about all of the other lenses, I presume close to cos^4.

Thanks for sharing your experience since this will be my most used lens.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (gkroeger@trinity.edu), February 07, 2000


Glenn, you frighten me ! I just bought one in exchange of my Super Angulon 120. What terrible disillusions lay ahead of poor me? No, I can't believe this lens is not exceptional, though I still have to test it. Schneider reports say it is very sharp to the edges at f22, it has very little light falloff and covers even more than a Super-Angulon 120. It also has a lens coating that allows shooting in the sun. In fact they are not shamed to claim it is the best lens of it's class in the world. As Schneider has an honesty reputation, I can believe it. On their web site, there is a flattering report from Jack Dykinga on this lens. What I can say so far is that this lens is half the size and weight of the Super-Angulon 120 despite being in Copal 1 ! It also has a useful rear filter thread (small!). I will look closely for reports from owners. Speaking of the price fall, if you contact me I will tell you how much I paid for it.

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@vtx.ch), February 07, 2000.


Can you give the link to the Jack Dykinga report on the 110mm XL? I have searched the Schneider homepage but am unable to find the article.


-- Ross Martin (rossemartin@msn.com), February 07, 2000.

Ross, here are a few links to Schneideroptics.com pages http://www.schneideroptics.com/pdf/supersymmarxl.pdf http://www.schneideroptics.com/pressreleases/Super_Symmar_XL.html http://www.schneideroptics.com/pressreleases/pr02.htm

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@vtx.ch), February 08, 2000.

Oups! Sorry, the forum software has compressed and deactivated the html links. You'll have to use the copy-paste function.

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@vtx.ch), February 08, 2000.

Glen, take it from me this lens is everything and more that Schneider claim it to be!!! I am using it with "extreme" shift and rise/fall and have found no fall-off whatsoever. Jack Dykinga uses this lens to great effect (I believe it is the lens he uses most) and take a look at any of his work as proof of this lens' sharpness (Dykinga uses Velvia so it shows the lens'full potential). I have seen 5x7 shot with this lens and it more than adequately copes with most movements. Schneider are well known for underestimatimg image circle measurements in their literature so I wouldn't worry about it!! Here in the U.K. this lens can be bought from Robert White (www.robertwhite.co.uk) for about #860 (Stirling) and he offers a mail orderc service that is second to none, if prices are too high where you live. I only wish I could afford the 210mm XL when it arrives!!!! Regards Paul

-- Paul Owen (paul@paulowenphotography.freeserve.co.uk), February 08, 2000.

To those considering buying this lens: I bought the 150 version for $1400 (about 1/2 the US price) from a Hong Kong dealer, New Sankyo:


They are extremely reliable in my experience, and very helpful. I can only assume that they will beat the US price on the 110 by a long shot. Obviously, you will not get the US warranty, and it depends on how you feel about grey market. But it's quite a price differential. Just my $0.02.


-- Nathan Congdon (ncongdon@jhmi.edu), February 09, 2000.

From the data of Schneider's web site, the light falloff seems to be cos^4 theta. I don't find this a problem for 4x5. Wide-angle designs like the Super-Angulon have somewhat better fall-off characteristics, which might be advantagous for 5x7.

As a test of this lens, I just photographed a 12 story brick building from about half a block away, using 50 mm of lens rise and 4x5 Delta 100. Each mortar joint between each brick is clearly resolved. The negatives look sharp with a 9X loupe and over most of the field the grainess of Delta may be the limiting factor. At the very top, at 9X magnification, there MAY be a slight softening. On the other hand, the angular size of the mortar joints are smaller because of the greater distance to the subject. It may also be the light falloff changing the contrast in the negative. In my opinion, the performance of the lens was impressive.

-- Michael Briggs (MichaelBriggs@earthlink.net), February 15, 2000.

The photo described in my previous message was taken in portrait orientation on 4x5 Delta 100 with 50 mm of front rise at f16.

-- Michael Briggs (MichaelBriggs@earthlink.net), February 15, 2000.

While we are at it, has anyone made a direct comparison of the 110 xl with the 120 Nikor SW on the coverage for 8x10 film format? I know some say it covers & some others say it doesn't quite do so. I have a 120 & it covers 8x10, but if the 110 does so at f/22 I would be inclined to sell the Nikkor & get the Schneider. Any real world experience on the 110 and 8x10 use?

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), February 18, 2000.

The short answer is: the 110/5.6 XL is incredible. I'd be shocked if it didn't become your favorite lens.

-- John Costo (mahler@lvcm.com), February 25, 2000.

Glenn, I was just getting hold of that lens when you asked for some feedback, so now, after taking a few shots with it, I can assure you this lens is outstanding! It's the first time I see the quality of my medium format wide angles not equaled but surpassed in a large format lens. A first set of shots was taken in the sunset on a frozen lake. There is not the slightest flare or light spot on any of them, even when the sun was not in the center of the image! On the bad side, I realize I could not achieve full depth of field from 2.5m to infinity at f32.5. I did not use tilt not to blur some branches falling from a nearby tree. I think the Super-Angulon 90 mm would have handled more depth of field. The second set of shots, I made in an abbey from the 11th century. The nave was delicately painted and I used a fair bit of rise to have it up to the summit. I posed 4 mn on Provia II (twice the indicated time). I received the slides today and man, I will have to purchase a stronger magnifier to see the limits of resolution! The tyniest details and every mark of scissor left into the soft stone appear sharply right into the corners of the slide. There is no perceptible fall off despite the 40 mm rise in vertical format and the paintings are soft and colored where the Super-Angulon 120 would have produced darker corners (I used no center filter). Another field for this lens is close-ups. Table tops are definitely fine and I took an orchid about 1:1 with great depth of field. The image on the GG was looking great unfortunately I overexposed 1 stop, so I will have to try again. On the question asked to me if it would replace a 90mm, I would say yes and no. Despite being only 20 mm afar, this is enormous for a wide-angle. It covers 30 % less in angle, 50 % less in image surface . In the other end, for outdoor shots, this focal works great and it will advantageously replace the Super-Angulons 90 and 120 when trying to hike "light". This is a 850 g economy! This was the main reason that pushed me to acquire this lens. But now that I have used it, I find many other reasons to be extremely pleased with it.

-- Paul Schilliger (pschilliger@vtx.ch), February 29, 2000.

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