Linhof symmar 1:5.6 150mm /1:12 265 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hi there,

Can anyone tell me what the inscriptions 1:12/265 represent (in green paint) mean on this standard 150 mm Schneider Kreuznach lens for the Linhof Technika 4. The aperture inscriptions have also another scale in green. I think this lens can be converted but I am not sure, can anyone help me with this?

Thanks Otto Muskee

-- Otto Muskee (, September 28, 2001


Otto: You are correct, you have a convertible lens. With both front and back elements on it, it is a 150mm f:5.6 lens. Use the aperture scale which starts with 5.6. To use it as a longer lens (265mm) you remove the FRONT element (I know it seems weird and counterintuitive to have those metal blades exposed to the elements, but this is how it is supposed to work) and now it is a longer lens. The maximum wide open apurture is now F:12, so you use the scale which has f:12 as the largest aperture. I recently did a test of this lens against a APO Schneider 150 and in huge enlargements at f:16 the results were so close reasonable people could disagree on which was sharpest. Not bad for a lens almost 50 years old. People in general are less impressed with the converted longer focal length, but it is perfectly adequate for many applications. You'll like it better if you stop down to f:22 or smaller, though, when you are using it as a 265.

-- Kevin Crisp (, September 28, 2001.

Kevin: Reasonable people?? in large format???? carrying around 98 pound cameras and taking 20 minutes to make a picture that any idiot with a digital camera could make in 2 seconds???

-- Jim Galli (, September 28, 2001.

Remove either the front or the rear cell to convert is but you should only remove the rear cell to protect the shutter.

Converted these types of lenses are no big deal quality wise compared to lenses that are not convertible.

-- Bob Salomon (, September 29, 2001.

Hi Otto

I asked Schneider in germany how to convert it correctly and the statemant was clear, use only the back element, then you get the best results. But since I have now enough bellows on my Arca for my 210, 370 Symmar, I will do a portrait shooting with only the front element it could give a softer picture I hope. Have much fun!

-- Armin Seeholzer (, September 29, 2001.

Jim: I thought the APO lens was slightly sharper, my daughter and wife thought the original Symar was sharper. So two non-LF photographers are reasonable and they disagreed with me. It was that close. Re: Bob's observation (and there must be 10 prior threads on using the front or the back cell...) yes, the lens will work with just the front cell. The effective focal length that way is in between the complete lens and the rear cell only. Before anyone says that can't be right because the lens elements are symmetrical, I suggest you TRY IT (I have) and you will see this is a correct statement. There are many people who will tell you categorically that the rear cell alone will give you disappointing performance. Don't let that discourage you, give it a try and see if you find it acceptable within the range of print sizes you make. (Don't bother at f:16 though).

-- Kevin Crisp (, October 01, 2001.

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