and what about the APO-symmar 120mm/5.5 : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

i asked a question a few day ago, concerning which lens to buy. i was basically told, that i should go out and buy the SS 110XL. well, i would really like to but even here in germany where the thing is manufactured i would still have to pay about 1600 EURO. (about the same price in USD). now doing some more research i came accross the Apo-Symmar 5.6/120mm. lightweight, apo, cheap....but very small image circle. will i be happy with this lens. i do need the occasional rising front. and since i have the Toyo field 45a camera i have to look for a lightweight lens.

-- thomas (, May 10, 2002


The following older thread on the Schneider Digitar 120mm might be of interest to you:

-- Arne Croell (, May 10, 2002.

Thomas, if I remember right, your first question was about a mild wide angle lens to complement your 150 (normal lens). You said that a 90 wide angle seemed to be too wide, so most respondents to your question recommended a 120 wide angle. The Apo Symmar 120 is not a true wide angle lens. It is like your 150, a slightly shorter focal length, and only a slightly wider view. The image circle is small, therefore limited movement capability. Most 120 wide angles have large image circles, large diameter front and rear elements, and high prices. Since price is a consideration here, why don't you reconsider a 90 f8 wide angle from any of the major manufacturers. I assure you, a 90 wide angle lens is not that wide. In the future, you will be looking for an even wider lens than the 90, but you will probably buy a 210 first.

-- Eugene (, May 10, 2002.

I owned a 127mm Schneider Press-Xenar f4.4 for a little whilst. It was a nice lens and very light weight. It allowed 4 or 5 mm of front lens rise (but obviously less if the lens was rised and tilted). I fould it reasonably wide (I'd suggest you get someone in a camera shop to show you a 35mm lens for a 35mm camera to see if you like the angle of view) It certainly didn't distort the image much like true wide angles. Schneider seem to have dropped the image data for old 127mm xenars from their site but I think the 120 symmar had a larger image circle than the 127 press xenar (around 175mm vs 160 something) so I guess you will be happy for at least 90% of your photos - you know your requirements. Also schneider seem fairly conservative with their image circle data (for angulons for example) and I guess they must use cirteria for the actual image circle that will provide a sharp image, not just light on the ground glass.

-- Matt Brain (, May 10, 2002.


I owned and shot the 120 Apo-Symmar on a Toyo 45A for several years. The lens is very sharp, and its image circle is slightly larger than what Schneider quotes... that said, it will limit your movements pretty heavily. In particular, you have to be careful to do a bit of front fall if you use much front tilt.

As a previous poster noted, a 120 and a 150 are pretty close, like a 35mm and 45mm lens on a 35mm camera.

If I had a 150, I would jump to at least the 110mm, but it is larger and more costly.

A better option might be to sell your 150, and get a Fujinon 125 CMW and a 180mm, 200mm M Nikkor or 210mm lens as a nice pairing.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, May 10, 2002.

Thomas, I don't think you had to pay 1600 for Super-Symmar XL 110 in Germany. After long thinking I recently decided to order this lens from Christoph Greiner in Germany (have not received it yet) and payed considerably less than 1600. My camera also is Toyo Field 45A and I have had the Apo-Symmar 5,6/120mm for some time. This also is a wonderful lens, but as you stated, the image circle is limited. That's why I went for SS 110 XL. I'm still considering to keep the apo-Symmar for cases when weight really is critical. For landscape photography its image circle usually is large enough. Regards,

-- Olli Jaakkola (, May 11, 2002.

Thomas, a very nice 120mm is the Super Symmar HM. I have been using it on my Toyo 45A and it's my favorite lens. Considering the limited movements of the Toyo you'll never reach the limits of the lens IC. Yes, this lens is not yet in production but you may find it used or new from old stocks. It is neither bigger nor heavier than the 110 SSXL. Several posters had commented about a 120 being quite close to the 150 you already own and I can't negate this fact. My most used set of lenses is 75, 120 and 200 then if you need a mild wide angle I, too, suggest that you don't keep the 150.

-- Jean-Marie Solichon (, May 11, 2002.

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