schneider symmer S lenses made for linhof : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Im about to buy an long lens for my sinar f2 and a dealer is offering me an schneider lens "symmar s" 300 f/5.6 multicoated made for linhof , i cant find any data for the lens "covering angel" and if any one knows is it a good lens for todays film emulsions or not

-- ahmed moustafa zedan (, April 15, 2002



Linhof lenses are Schneider lenses, spec's for both are the same regarding image circle, angle of coverage, etc etc.

I'm not an expert on this but it is said that Linhof tested Schneider lenses for their optical performance and engraved Linhof on the barrel when to lens was up to Linhof standards.

Information about Schneider lenses can be found on the schneider website :

You don't need to have any concerns wether this lens is suited for today's emulsion, actually it is a non-issue. Only the very critical users would advice you to use an aprochromatic corrected lens for color work.

As long as the lens is optically and mechanically in good working order I would say go for it.

The only thing that comes to my mind is the shutter it is mounted in.

What shutter is it: Copal, Compur, Prontor,...


-- Huib Smeets (, April 15, 2002.

The Symmar-s is (or was, until about 10 years ago) Schneider's standard large format lens. It uses the same 6 element 'plasmat' optical formula that most other LF lenses use today. Coverage angle is about 70 degrees at f/22, giving you an image circle diameter of ~ 400mm. Provided the condition is good, it should be an excellent lens.
You'll probably also pay a premium price for having the Linhof logo attached to the lens, and IMHO, this is money wasted. There's a rumour that Linhof 'cherry picked' the Schneider lenses that they re-badged. I don't know if there's any truth to it, because I've never heard anyone complain of getting a bad Schneider lens anyway.

-- Pete Andrews (, April 15, 2002.


As has been said above the Symmar-S is a good lens. The one to avoid is the original Symmar (convertible) lens which was the earlier version. Although these are still nice for moody low contrast shots they are noticeably less sharp and contrasty than the Symmar-S and the current version, the Apo-Symmar. I don't think you can go wrong with either the Symmar-S or the Apo-Symmar for most purposes.


-- colin carron (, April 15, 2002.


As Huib mentioned, there could be problems with the shutter. I currently use a borrowed Symmar-S 150mm f/5.6 Linhof lens in a Synchro-Compur shutter. The shutter speeds are slow by about 1/3 of a stop. This is not much of a problem with B&W. When I use E6 I will tolerate only 1/3 of a stop under- or overexposure, anyway, so if the meter is off by 1/3 of a stop and the shutter is off by the same amount I could waste a lot of film.

It may be possible to fix the shutter (I've never had it done, although I may do so soon). Judging from the posts in this forum, S.K. Grimes would be the one to ask about fixing a shutter.

-- Matthew Runde (, April 15, 2002.

You didn't mention what format you're shooting - if it's 4x5 the Symmar is overkill (and overweight). For the same money or less you can get an Apo Ronar, Apo Germinar, or a G-Claron, they will be in #1 shutters and much lighter (especially the Germinar and Ronar).

-- Wayne DeWitt (, April 15, 2002.

It truly is a fine lens, i prefer it to most because of the relatively wide max. aperture, which will help on the focusing and composing , and if you are interested selective focus effect. It works fine even at wide apertures.

-- domenico (, April 15, 2002.

As others have said, Schnieder doesn't manufacture any lenses specifically for Linhof. Here's what Linhof says they do (from a late 1970s Linhof catalog): "It pays to make use of Linhof's assemling and fitting experience. Before they find their way to photographers all over the world, all lenses are thoroughly examined and checked to make sure they correspond to the most critical tolerances and to guarantee their perfect functioning with the corresponding Linhof cameras. These tests cover the optical performance of the lens, as well as the mechanical and electronic functioning of the shutters and only if a lens has passed will it be engraved with the Linhof name and transferred to the other production departments for final assembly, mounting and range finder coupling." Much of this has to do with fitting a lens to a particular camera model (at the time this was written Linhof made more camera models than they do today and range finders were a bigger deal than they are today), which would be irrelevant to anyone buying a used lens, especially if it's going to be used on a non-Linhof camera as yours is. I imagine that today if you buy a used Linhof Select lens you're mostly just getting the assurance that it satisfied Linhof's tighter than normal tolerances when it left the factory but who knows what happened to it after that. Still, Linhof Select lenses sometimes can command maybe a 10% premium in the used market.

-- Brian Ellis (, April 15, 2002.

Not all Linhof lenses are Schneider lenses. I have both Zeiss and Voightländer Linhof-engraved lenses. Aprt from that, I agree with everything said above.

-- Ole Tjugen (, April 16, 2002.

I'm not sure that all Apo Germinars will be lighter. I have heard of 300 and up Apo Germinras mounted in #1 shutters but I hvae a 360 mm Apo Germinar and it is mounted in a #3 shutter which makes it reasonably hefty.

Remember too that the Clraons, Ronars and Germinars are all smaller maximum aperture than the Symmars, Sironars, etc. If thta matters for focusing you may want to go for the extra weight.

I have no problem focusing my f9 240 Fujinon A and find thta I use it far more than my 240 Symmr-S MC. Thta said also look at the Fujinon C lenses and the (now discontinued) Fujinon A 300.


-- Ted Harris (, April 16, 2002.

I can't agree with Colin that the original Symmars are only suitable for "moody" low contrast photography. I've used the 135, 150, 180 and the 210. All were excellent and to discover sharpness differences (relative to APO's) I had to construct a test which didn't relate to anything I actually use a lens for. If you have the sun in your picture or just off axis, yes, the multicoated ones are better, of course. You pay for that. Differences in contrast in other situations are not so dramatic and often are not noticeable.

-- Kevin Crisp (, April 16, 2002.

Ted - The Germinar's, Claron's, and Ronar's all switch to #3 shutters at 360mm - but at 300/305mm they are all still in #1's. It makes a BIG difference. The Fuji's (as you know) stick with the #1 up to 450mm. But at 300mm there's only an ounce or two difference between the aforementioned lenses (except the 305 Claron, which is heavier than the rest). Even an Artar in a #2 isn't all that bad. If you ever hear of one of the mythical 300mm or 360mm A's being available feel free to drop me a line. :^)

-- Wayne DeWitt (, April 16, 2002.

I have a Symmar-S 150mm F5,6 maked "SINAR". I assume this too may be a "selected lens"? It seems pretty sharp. -- Quentin

-- QDB (, April 17, 2002.

Just to respond to Kevin...

Yes I agree the original symmar is a good useable lens but for someone in Ahmed's situation the Symmar-S or Apo-Symmar would be better. One of the problems with the original Symmar is the number of air / glass surfaces which by this time are often 'multicoated' with a fine grime. Careful cleaning cures this but requires a complete dismantling of the front cell.

I have a Symmar 150/f5.6 and it went with me to Venice recently and did itself credit. But relatively...


-- colin carron (, April 17, 2002.

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