How new can a Symmar convertible be?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by MikeS, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. MikeS

    MikeS Member

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    Hi All.

    I'm just curious, does anyone know when Schneider switched from making the Symmar lenses to the Symmar-S lenses? I was always under the impression that they stopped making the plain Symmar (the convertible one) and started making the Symmar-S (the non-convertible one) in the late 1960's (I used to have one from around 1966 or so that I thought was one of the last), but today I picked up a convertible Symmar factory mounted in a Copal (rather than Compur) shutter that according to the Schneider website was made around late 1971! (it's serial number is 11,680,000).

    The lens seems to be in nice shape, and it really doesn't matter when they switched between the S and non-S, I'm just kind of curious.

    -Mike
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I bought my 210 Symmar S in 1985. I am not sure when Schneider made the change.
     
  3. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Maybe there was some overlap of production(?). I have a 135mm Symmar-S with serial number 12 858 572.
     
  4. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    According to the Vade Mecum, the Symmar-S replaced the convertible Symmar in 1972.
     
  5. sanking

    sanking Member

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    1972 sounds right to me. Arthur Kramer published an article in Popular Photograhy sometime around that time (72-74) about the change from the convertible to non-convertible status.

    Just for the record, the Symmar-S can also be used as a convertible lens, though the single element may not be quite as well corrected as the two elements combined. One of the reasons that Schneider cited for changing to a non-convertible design was that not having to worry about the corrections of the single elements gave them greater freedom to correct the combined elements.

    Sandy
     
  6. MikeS

    MikeS Member

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    From the little bit I've read, I was under the impression that the Symmar-S was actually just as good as an older Symmar when converted, but by the 1970's convertible lenses were out of fashion, and even distrusted by some, so the change was really more a marketing decision than an optical one.

    The 150 I just got is certainly a nice sharp lens!

    I also have a 150mm Xenar lens that originally came with my camera, I have the factory setup focusing cam for it, and the factory set infinity stops for it don't work for the Symmar :sad: . I can either mount the Symmar with a few shims behind it (I'll need about 2.5mm of extension to be able to use the infinity stops, (and the lens does seem to focus correctly with the Xenar's focusing cam)
    or I can just keep it mounted on the board it's currently one, and not even worry about using it with the rangefinder, as I have the Xenar for that. Would mounting the Symmar 2.5mm in front of the lensboard mess up movements, or is that not enough to worry about? Would I be better off moving the infinity stops, then mounting the Xenar into a recessed board (If I could find one with only a 2.5mm recess)?

    Other than the larger image circle of the Symmar, are there any other advantages to it over a Xenar? Sorry for all the questions, and thanks for all the answers! :smile:

    -Mike
     
  7. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    fix awkward wording

    Mike,
    I have both a 135mm Xenar and a 135mm Symmar (mine's an Symmar-S but, I doubt it matters). To my eye, there most defintiely is a difference between the symmar and the xenar. I don't know quite how to explain it but, the images from the Symmar are crisper...they have more...I want to say depth but, that's not quite it. Suffice to say they are both excellent lenses but, they definitely give slightly different results.
     
  8. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Perhaps it was both reasons. People did not want convertibles and it was easier to design for combined elements.

    Sandy