Pick one Symmar-S: 300mm vs 360mm

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by CHHAHH, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. CHHAHH

    CHHAHH Member

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    Hi Folks!

    I use a 210mm Nikkor W on my 4x5 a lot but i am just about to get my stuff together to move to 8x10.
    Wich brings me to the obligatory annoying lens questions (i am sorry!!)

    My local 2nd hand store offers two lenses that (i think) would cover 8x10.

    - Schneider Symmar-S 300/5.6
    - Schneider Symmar-S 360/6.8 (~200€ more than the 300)

    I am not a landscape photographer by any means and i absolutely love Roversi's 8x10 work (not saying that i am somewhat close to be able to shoot stuff like that).
    60mm seems not to be a huge difference but i wonder what you guys think.

    Thanks a lot for your help!
     
  2. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Either one is better than none. Either one would do just fine. You'll just get more of the wheatfield and less of the barn with a 300. What they really need is a 300-360 zoom.:D
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Both cover 10x8 well, (a 240mm Symmar S covers 10x8).

    If you're keeping the 5x4 camera the 300mm should be useable with it, the 360mm might be too long (depends what camera you have). I bought a 300mm f9 Nikon M to use on my 5x4 while planning to move up and also shoot 10x8 - which I did quite a few years later.

    Other than that the choice is personal, what would you use most.

    Ian
     
  4. LJH

    LJH Member

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    The 360mm is a massive lens; don't underestimate that.
     
  5. CHHAHH

    CHHAHH Member

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    Thanks guys!

    For 4x5 i use a Speed Graphic but only because of the focal plane shutter. It would be nice to use the new lens with the speed graphic, but it's not a must-have.
    Maybe i get the 300mm as my first lens...and add another lens later. Or is there any special trick that makes the 360mm special?

    For portraits i think would go for half body shots as a maximum...but most of the time i do slightly wider shots..
     
  6. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    A 300mm is considered a normal lens for 8x10, equivalent to how the eye sees the subject, or the distance between furthest corners of the frame. A 150mm is that for 4x5. Roversi work is probably shot with something longer than normal by the look of it. Thank you for introducing him to me. For 8x10 I use a 250mm, 300mm, 450mm and a 600mm. 300mm is a good place to start, but 450mm would probably be closer to the portrait work you admire.

    Many people like to stay with the same brand of lens across the range so that the "look" of the lens manufacturer is the same in all their work. My 450mm is a Nikkor 450mm M f9. Perhaps that would be something to look at. That is a popular lens and often shows up for sale here, the LF Forum or eBay.

    Here is a link to the most recent one listed on the LF Forum to give you a look at one and a pretty average price.
    http://www.largeformatphotography.i...4-FS-Nikon-Nikkor-M-450mm-f-9&highlight=450mm

    You are moving up in format now. It is a slippery slope. It is not out of the question that you will at some future date move up again. The 300mm Schneider has enough coverage for limited movement on 8x10. It will not cover 11x14 or 7x17. I bought a 300mm Schneider for 8x10, but soon went to a 300mm or 12inch Dagor for the coverage needed in 7x17. To round out my list, my 600mm is a Fuji C. All three of those will cover beyond 7x17. I think up through 12x20.

    Be sure that your new camera has enough bellows length for what ever lens(es) you consider.

    Hope this helps.

    John Powers
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2014
  7. CHHAHH

    CHHAHH Member

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    John, thank you very much for your detailed post!

    In his book "Studio" Paolo Roversi is pointing out his 12 inch Dagor lens that seems to be somewhat special to him.
    A photographer is offering me his Deardorff as he is moving away from 8x10, and i instantly fell in love with that camera.

    I will probably try the 300mm and save a few bucks compared to the 360mm... Saving money for a longer lens might be a smart move.

    Again, thanks!
     
  8. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    CHHAHH,

    Are you familiar with the links on this page?
    www.largeformatphotography.info
    Particularly helpful relative to your initial question are the spread sheets on this page. http://www.largeformatphotography.info/lenses/

    Dagors are known for having a wonderful glow to their images and their wide coverage. They are quite a bit more expensive than the 300mm Schneider though and in most cases lack the coatings of a current Schneider.

    My shooting partner is a very happy 8x10 Deardorff shooter. He is a much younger man and can lift all that mahogany better than I.

    I will have to look for ‘book "Studio" Paolo Roversi’. Thank you for the idea.

    John
     
  9. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Are you familiar with the links on this page?
    www.largeformatphotography.info
    Particularly helpful relative to your initial question are the spread sheets on this page. http://www.largeformatphotography.info/lenses/

    Dagors are known for having a wonderful glow to their images and their wide coverage. They are quite a bit more expensive than the 300mm Schneider though and in most cases lack the coatings of a current Schneider.

    My shooting partner is a very happy 8x10 Deardorff shooter. He is a much younger man and can lift all that mahogany better than I.

    I will have to look for ‘book "Studio" Paolo Roversi’. Thank you for the idea.

    John

    PS
    Ouch. Abebooks shows the book for $400-$1200. I may just have to look at his images on-line. That is too close to the price of a lens.
     
  10. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Not having a Graphic and a 300 Symmar in front of me, I cannot be certain - but I sincerely doubt you'd get that lens on the front standard of a speed, even with adapters. Plus, the bellows are too short.
    I'd get the 300 Symmar, if you want a longer- but not really long lens - get a 420, 16 1/2" Artars are fairly reasonably priced but will not give you tons of movement on 8x10.I use one for portraits and such on 8x10. The Symmar will give you all the movements you're likely to need (for general use) on 8x10.
    As for Dagors, they cover quite a bit if you are contact printing - their legendary coverage is just that, a legend; if you are enlarging negatives they are a 70 degree lens just like the Symmars. A 12" Dagor is small and light, a 300 Symmar is big and heavy - and a 360 Symmar is a monster. The Deardorff V8 is lovely to use, very intuitive.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2014
  11. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    I don't think the Graflex has the bellows for it either. My Crown has some pretty serious bellows extension going on with just my 210 Symmar.
     
  12. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Both are normal lenses. You are looking at 150mm and 180mm equivalents on 4x5 or 45mm and 55mm equivalents on a 35mm camera or full frame DSLR. The 210 you are using would be like the 420 that E. suggests.

    Yousuf Karsh used a 14" (360mm) and I read somewhere that Richard Avedon used a 360mm Schneider on his American West portraits. You can check them out if you want examples.

    I own a 14" Commercial Ektar but I have also tried a 300mm lens. There isn't a lot of difference in focal length.
     
  13. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Actually if I had to have an 8x10 camera and one lens, I'd go for the 360/14" as long as the camera would tolerate it. Miles of coverage, a nice "drawing" of views, useful for head&shoulders and larger portraits... I think Karsh had a Commercial Ektar which is a superb lens (Tessar type) but has less coverage than the symmetrisch types.
     
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  15. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Yeah, Karsh mainly used a 14" Kodak Commercial Ektar (I accidently left that out of my post). I'm a big fan of Karsh so of course I wanted one. :smile:
     
  16. CHHAHH

    CHHAHH Member

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    Hey guys!

    Just to let you know: I went to the shop and comparred both lenses. The shape of the 360mm and the gut feeling made the decision for me... the 300mm was kinda worn heavily...
    Really looking forward to go out shooting with it now! :smile:
     
  17. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    It was one of those decisions where you can't go wrong either way. Enjoy your new lens. Enjoy 8x10.

    John
     
  18. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    John is right that you couldn't go wrong with either focal length. Have fun shooting your new lens!
     
  19. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    :blink::blink: Why on earth would he want to do that??:confused:
     
  20. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Some people put all kinds of things in a microwave to see what will happen, and some people shoot things just to see how they blow apart. I like whacking all these lizards that crawl on the side of my house with a stick. And I go after the carpenter bees with a badminton racket. Although there are more of them than there are of me, and they bore holes in my house faster than I can knock them out of the air.
     
  21. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    You know what I mean! :D
     
  22. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I play cellphone skeet.:smile:
    When you hit one with a live battery, there's a nice flash. I'm looking forward to smartphone skeet.:wink:

    edit - I once shot a lawnmower, while it was running.
     
  23. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Why? Was your neighbor mowing his lawn at 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning?
     
  24. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    These are huge heavy plasmats in big no. 3 shutters. Not many 4x5 cameras will support something that heavy at that kind of bellows draw
    without risk of vibration. Basically studio lenses; that's why there are so many of them for sale used and cheap. Lighter weight lenses in these
    focal lengths are much more in demand, so generally more expensive. But there are exceptions if you are patient, or if you're willing to use
    something like a process lens in barrel only and try the on/off lenscap method of exposure timing. I shoot a variety of 360's on both 4x5 and
    8x10, including classics like the Fujinon A and Kern Dagor. But I wanted something with a bit of different look too, then remembered I have an
    old Carl Meyer tessar-formula process 360 process lens stashed somewhere. So I put it on a lensboard and took it out with a deep blue filter
    to slow the exposure down. It was a very windy day, and I wanted an 8x10 shot which combined the swirly motion of tall grasses with the
    more hard-sharp quality of rocks and tree bark in the scene, yet those relatively open shadows reminiscent of old blue-sensitive film. Timing
    a long exposure without camera shake under such conditions is tricky, but I'll be darned if I didn't pull it off at the expense of only one piece
    of film. Beginners luck? So now I know I can make the lenscap method work as long as the exposure are relatively long.
     
  25. Alan Gales

    Alan Gales Subscriber

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    Hey Drew! Out of curiosity's sake, how would you compare a Kern Dagor 360mm to a 14" Commercial Ektar for both B&W and color print film? Does the Dagor exhibit lower contrast? I know those Kern Dagors go for a pretty penny and I'm sure that there is a good reason for it.
     
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  26. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Because dagors consists of a pair of cemented triplets, that equates to only four air to glass interfaces total. Then if you coat that, or even
    multicoat it (as with the very last series of Kern dagors), you get the highest contrast of any camera lenses ever made. When I used to shoot multicoated dagors that contrast was just too much for color chrome work. But the hue purity and microcontrast were stunning. I disliked its Compur 3 shutter due to the high vibration and lack of a T setting, so have since converted to the single-coated 360 Kern in the older 3S Copal. Still a relatively modern lens with superb color and reasonably crisp contrast, equivalent to most other modern multicoated view lenses, but not over the top. The asking price for these things is getting downright silly. .. more a cult mentality than what they're really worth compared to other options. By comparison, commercial Ektars are in huge no. 5 shutter, need big lensboards, and are much lower contrast dialytes (6.3 version), with four airspaced elements and typically a single coating. Good color rendition but a much softer look, with a huge image circle. There is a rarer 4.5 Tessar version too, but it's not labeled "Commercial". Some of the 6.3 lenses were private labeled Caltar for Calumet and sell cheaper.
    These things are just too big and clunky for typical 4x5 use. If you want something relatively small but incredibly sharp, buy an Apo Nikkor
    305 or 360 process lens in barrel. They're fairly compact and a relative bargain, and will easily cover 8x10, but you'll either have to use the lenscap exp technique or spend the extra bucks to put them in a Copal 3 shutter. A more common excellent performer already in shutter is the 355 G Claron. I personally use my 360 Fuji A the most. It's in a no.1 shutter and is an incredibly versatile multicoated lens. But these are hard to find and generally fetch top dollar. A 300 Nikkor M is almost on par with a dagor in terms of color and contrast, actually better in
    terms of sharpness, and is quite common. But it won't give much wiggle room on 8x10. Plenty of image circle for 4x5, however, and quite lightwt and compact. But there is a 450 Nikkor M, as well as the sleeper tessar out there, the single-coated 420 Fuji L (a tad heavy for 4x5).
    Lots of good choices if you don't want to smash your piggy bank. Regular 5.6 plastmats are just, well... huge and heavy, so not very popular
    for field photography.