Opinions on Schneider "Convertable" 135 f5.6

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Considering a used Schneider Symmar Convertable 135mm f5.6 mounted on a Linhoff shutter. Will be used as my first lens on 4x5 camera(s)...seller claimed that this lens converts to 230mm f12 by removing front element.

Anyone have any experiance with this lens? Seller makes a big deal that it is on a Linhof shutter, which makes this a "select" grade lens.

The convertable feature is appealing, unless its useless.

I'm just a serious hobbiest looking to get into 4x5.


-- Douglas Gould (assistdelrey@earthlink.net), February 01, 2002


Hi, just a few remarks: Linhof-selected lenses are at least good ones, in case of quality-controle you are on the right side; hope the price is not too high. 135mm Symmar is a good starter-lens but will give you not much room for movements. The convertible-aspects is already discussed on this forum, see the archiv on classic lenses. IMHO it's a compromise.

-- Thomas Vaehrmann (TVaehrmann@web.de), February 01, 2002.

The Symmar convertibles (there are several other configurations) are solid lenses that have served about a million of us well over a long period of time. -jeff buckels

-- jeff buckels (jeffbuck@swcp.com), February 01, 2002.

Douglas: I've got several of these older Symars. Generally the performance of the complete lens is first rate. Converted (rear) only some people think they can be acceptable and many pooh pooh them. I find that stopped down to at least f:22 the converted length is acceptable. My "acceptable" may or may not be yours. When buying one of these, key points are: 1. Separation. Looks like little shiney snowflake stars inside the elements If not excessive and not in the middle of the lens use it as a price point. If it is bad, pass. This is not to be confused with white dots on the paint around the glass, which is harmless. 2. Fogging -- these develop and internal haze that looks like a smokey ring inside,if moderate it causes no problems at all. People will tell you the glass is clean and clear etc. and then when you get it you can find these problems, so ask the seller if you not looking at in in person.

-- Kevin Crisp (KRCrisp@aol.com), February 01, 2002.

I have just parted company with a non Linhof version - not for quality reasons but because I had an irresistable offer on a nearly new 150mm Apo symmar. Otherwise I was astonished at the quality I got from the complete lens (of 1955 vintage) for B & W work. A lens hood is a must IMO as flare was a problem with a light source just outside the frame. Never tried it converted though so cant comment on that aspect.

One other small factor - the lens thread is 40.5mm and a filter system can be difficult as a 40.5 to whatever stepping ring can be hard to find and can make getting in to the controls difficult.

-- David Tolcher (davidjt@btinternet.com), February 02, 2002.

I have used a Linhof example of this lens, found the assembled 135mm acceptable, but low contrast, the single element conversion, awful. The lens appeared to be in good shape, but who knows what it'd gone through before I got it? After trying it, I did not buy.

I also have used a 120 f/6.8 Angulon for a number of years, and am now adapting it to my "new" Horseman. No complaints toward it, as long as it is properly shaded. I fitted it with a semi-permanent 52mm step-up ring, which acts as a bit of a shade.

If you can afford the new lens, use it, but if price is an issue I suggest looking at an Angulon.


-- Joe Cantrell (agiyo@cnnw.net), February 02, 2002.

Seems that the answers are all over the board on this. I have one of these and find it works great. The caveat to this is that I only enlarge to 16x20 max but most of the time to 11x14. At these ratio's I think that you will find the lense performance quite good. Second caveat I only shoot B&W as these are older lenses the color performance may not be up to what one would expect today. I have some landscapes shot with the 235mm element enlarged to 11x14 and they are great. Like other comments here the contrast is a bit soft.

-- ron lamarsh (ronald.lamarsh@med.ge.com), June 11, 2002.

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