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sanking
05-11-2007, 09:30 AM
I just retrieved from a friend in Spain my 360mm f/5.6 Symmar Convertible. I am very happy to have it back and look forwarding to using it in low lighting conditions where most of my other ULF lenses can be difficult to work with. The brightness thrown by a large f/5.6 lens is really something to behold.

ULF users up to 12X20 should really consider this lens for speciality use where the large apreture is desirable. My version of this lens is in a large Compound and covers 12X20 with slightly more than inch of movemement (stopped down to f/45), about the same as a 355 G-Claron I previously owned. But because of the very wide aperture I rank the convertible symmar over the G-Claron for use on 12X20, unless of course compact design is the primary issue.

The 360 convertible symmar was sold in other shutters, and some were sold as f/6.8 lenses, so I can not say for sure that all will cover same as my specimen. Mine, as I indicated, is in a #5 Compound, and marked TECHNIKA to indicate that it passed Linhoff quality control. Although fairly old (Serial # 6036498) the glass and coating are perfect, and the shutter right on target.

I have seen this lens go for as little as $400, and for 12X20 it is a great bargain IMHO. Plus, you get the second focal length of 620mm, with marked apertures for both focal lengths.

Sandy King

Ole
05-11-2007, 09:55 AM
Thanks Sandy,

that helped me make up my mind: http://cgi.ebay.de/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=009&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWN%3AIT&viewitem=&item=190111475008&rd=1&rd=1

:)

sanking
05-11-2007, 12:18 PM
Thanks Sandy,

that helped me make up my mind: http://cgi.ebay.de/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=009&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWN%3AIT&viewitem=&item=190111475008&rd=1&rd=1

:)

Ole,

That one appears to be in good shape and is newer than the one I have. This lens is one impressively large piece of glass.

I believe there was a 480mm Symmar convertible. Wonder if it is also f/5.6? If so, it must be really huge!!

Sandy

David A. Goldfarb
05-11-2007, 12:21 PM
You mean you needed to be convinced to buy a lens, Ole? That must have been some hard persuasion. (I'm sure I'll have one myself, in good time).

ReallyBigCameras
05-11-2007, 01:03 PM
I believe there was a 480mm Symmar convertible. Wonder if it is also f/5.6? If so, it must be really huge!!

Nope. The 360mm was the longest of the convertible Symmars. The first 480mm in the Symmar line was the Symmar-S. It had a max. aperture of f8.4 in a Copal No.3 or f9.4 in a Compur No. 3. Given the combination of size, weight, coverage and max. aperture, I think I'll stick with the 450mm f9 Nikkor M.

Kerry

ReallyBigCameras
05-11-2007, 01:44 PM
IThe 360 convertible symmar was sold in other shutters, and some were sold as f/6.8 lenses, so I can not say for sure that all will cover same as my specimen.

I have one of the "newer" samples in a Copal No. 3 shutter with the f6.8 max. aperture. It's actually engraved as a 355mm primary focal length (but retains the 620mm secondary focal length of the earlier samples). Here's a photo of it:

http://www.thalmann.com/Ebay/355mm_Symmar_11893097.JPG

I haven't used it on anything bigger than 7x17, so I can't say for sure if it covers as much as the f5.6 version. Intuitively, unless they changed something else mechanically, the smaller throat of the Copal No. 3 shutter should only affect the max. aperture, not the coverage. But, until I have a bigger camera and can check for sure, let's just say it covers 7x17 with plenty of room to spare.

I've also seen one or two of these in Ilex shutters. I think it was a No. 5 Universal and retained the f5.6 max. aperture of the version in the Compound shutter that Sandy and Ole have.


I have seen this lens go for as little as $400, and for 12X20 it is a great bargain IMHO. Plus, you get the second focal length of 620mm, with marked apertures for both focal lengths.

I don't think I've ever seen on go for much more than $400. I paid $400 for mine in the Copal shutter. That's not much more than the going rate for a functional Copal No. 3 shutter. I've seen older ones in Compound shutters go for less than $300. And I agree with Sandy, if you don't mind the size/weight, this is one of the true bargains in a shutter mounted ULF lens.

Speaking the weight, this lens is a beast. Mine, in the Copal No. 3 shutter is about 300 - 500g heavier than any of the newer 360mm plasmats I've seen. In fact, other than the insanely heavy (~14 lbs.) 480mm f4.5 Universal Heliar, it's the heaviest lens I own. I'd have to double check the exact weight, but I think it's somewhere in the 3½ lb. range. Still, it's all relative. What's an extra pound or so when you're talking ULF?

Kerry

sanking
05-11-2007, 02:57 PM
Kerry,

So what you have there is a Symmar Convertible, not the Symmar S, but without the 620 aperture scale? Wonder if this was a later mounting from a barrel lens? Otherwise I don't understand why the second aperture scale would not have been included?

BTW, I was interested in your comments about weight so I just compared the Convertible Symmar in Compound (1650.7 grams) to a modern Rodenstock 355 f/6.8 Sironar-N (1555.6 grams) in Copal 3. I think the story here is aperture size. If you want a 360 mm lens with a wide aperture it is going to to be heavy. But I am not back-packing 12X20 anyway, and the best views for this format are always within less than 50 feet from the car!!

Sandy

Ole
05-11-2007, 03:15 PM
You mean you needed to be convinced to buy a lens, Ole? That must have been some hard persuasion. (I'm sure I'll have one myself, in good time).

In this case I did. When I found the lens on ebay I could look at the table beside me where I had the Gandolfi Traditional 8x10" (££££) fitted out with a Symmar Convertible 300mm f:5.6 (€€)- and another lens board beside it with a G-Claron 355mm f:9 ($$), also in Compound shutter (£). That adds up to £££££€€$$, which is a lot of money in any currency. Considering that my car is on its last legs and that I'm about to resign from my job to go "consultant", spending even more €€€ on a lens I don't strictly need is not an immediately intelligent decision.

BTW it's nowhere near the heaviest lens I own. That spot goes to the 500mm f:5.5 Schneider-Göttingen Aerotar, a lens that is so unusual that neither Schneider nor ISCO know anything at all about it.

ReallyBigCameras
05-11-2007, 03:16 PM
Sandy,

Maybe I wasn't clear in what I wrote. My lens, pictured above, is definitely a convertible Symmar. It has the dual aperture scales for 355mm and 620mm. The difference is the scales start at f6.8 and f16, rather than f5.6 and f12, due to the smaller throat of the Copal No. 3 shutter. The shutter is definitely original and I have Schneider catalogs and price lists from the early 1970s that list this lens in a Copal No. 3 shutter.

BTW, I just noticed there is one in an Ilex No. 5 shutter currently listed on eBay. It has the f5.6 max. aperture. Based on the serial number (slightly less than mine), it appears to be a transitional model between the Compound and Copal shuttered versions.

Concerning the weight. I recall mine is somewhere in the 1750g range (plus or minus - I'll check when I get a chance). I believe the two lenses are optically identical. So, the difference in weight would be due to the shutter. BTW, the eBay seller of the one in the Ilex No. 5 shutter lists the weight as 4.5 lbs. I guess that explains why they switched to the Copal No. 3 shutter. I have a list of weights for some other lenses in this focal length range, including a few modern plasmats (APO Symmar, Fujinon-W, Nikkor-W). These are actual weights, not specs. I'll look them up when I get a chance, but I seem to recall they were all in the 1400 - 1500 g range. But, as you say, in these formats you're likely not shooting far from the vehicle (although I will go more than 50 ft. when necessary), so and extra 300g on a lens doesn't matter much. For me, it's the weight of the holders that limits how many I'm willing to carry, which limits how far I get before turning around and heading back to my truck.

Kerry

sanking
05-11-2007, 03:34 PM
Kerry,

Thanks for the clarification about the scales. I definitely misunderstood your earlier comments. I would certainly agree with you that the glass is almost certainly identical regardless of what shutter the lens is in, and its maximum aperture. I doubt very much that Scheider would have gone to the trouble to make another lens just for the small difference in actual aperture?

BTW, the weights I gave for the Symmar Convertible and Sironar-N are also real time weights, just measured, with the lens caps removed.

As for actual coverage, don't you think that the difference in diameter of the shutter opening itself might affect slightly the coverage angle? My understanding is that the Compound #5 has the widest opening, followed by the Ilex 5 just less, and the Copal 3 least of all the big shutters. BTW, I believe this lens was also available in a large Compur shutter.

Sandy

Ole
05-11-2007, 03:51 PM
When the aperture is closed down to f:8 or more there should be no difference in coverage, as the aperture opening is the same in all cases and the glass design is the same in all cases...

There is a small difference in the glass though, but not where it counts: The inner elements are narrower in the Copal version to allow them to fit in the smaller shutter throat. But the only practical difference should be in the maximum aperture.

ReallyBigCameras
05-11-2007, 03:59 PM
BTW, I believe this lens was also available in a large Compur shutter.

Perhaps the Compur Electronic 5FS? Now that was one HONKIN' big shutter.

Kerry

argus
05-11-2007, 06:20 PM
Wow Ole,

you got lucky on that one!
I payed some 300 Euro on my 360 convertible last year... I watched eBay for more than six months to get one for an acceptable price. It is now my main lens on the 7x17.

I also have a 300mm and 240mm version for the 8x10. All of them in perfectly working compound shutters.

I really like the lens: it's big and impressive (a real chick magnet) and (most important) has lots of coverage on my 7x17.
The only drawback is the weight but who cares about weight using that format? But my APO Ronar 600mm, without shutter, is even heavier.

I'm very happy to hear that it also covers 12X20. Gives me some space when I might upgrade to something bigger when I'm retired :)

Greetings,
G

ReallyBigCameras
05-11-2007, 08:09 PM
I just want to point out what a great, veratile focal length 355mm/360mm/14" is for ULF use. Like Argus, it's one of my most used focal lengths on 7x17. When I was moving up to 7x17, I wanted to start out with the equivalents of the focal lengths I prefer on 4x10. My two most used lenses on that format are 150mm and 210mm. The 7x17 equivalents work out to 260mm and 360mm.

On the 14x17 format I hope to eventually try, a 360mm focal negth is equivalent to about 100mm on 4x5. In all my years of shooting 4x5, first a 90mm and then a 110mm were my most used wide angle lenses. In fact, the 110mm is one of my most used lenses period. So, I'm sure I'll be very comfortable with a 360mm as my wide angle lens on 14x17.

Plus, as Sandy mentioned, it' a great wide angle focal length for 12x20. Although the aspect ratios are different, it's roughly equal to a 150mm - 165mm lens on 4x10 (which have always been my most used focal lengths on that format, followed closely by the 210mm).

Combine this with the fact that there are so many choices, both modern and classic, shutter mounted and in barrel, at relatively affordable prices that cover at least 7x17, and it's no wonder it's a popular focal length. Throw in the fact that many cover 8x20 or 14x17 and some even cover 12x20, and again, it's easy to understand why so many ULF photograhers claim a 355mm/360mm is their most used lens.

Combine all of these advantages (popular focal length, huge coverage and affordable price) in one lens, and Sandy's recommendation of the 360mm convertible Symmar really makes a lot of sense. Of course, there are many other choices, but not all cover as much and most cost more - especially in shutter (although I'm surprised how little multicoated 360mm plasmats, especially the Fujinon-W and Nikkor-W sell for on eBay these days).

Kerry

ReallyBigCameras
05-12-2007, 12:54 AM
OK, here's some actual weights of 355/360mm lenses that cover at least 7x17:

355mm f9 G Claron in Copal No. 3 Shutter, 77mm Filters, 835g
355mm f8 Convertible Symmar in Copal No. 3 Shutter, 105mm Filters, 1740g
360mm f10 Fujinon A in Copal No. 1 Shutter, 58mm Filters, 475g
360mm f6.3 Fujinon-W in Copal No. 3 Shutter, 86mm Filters, 1420g
360mm F6.5 Nikkor-W in Copal No. 3 Shutter, 95mm Filters, 1420g
360mm f6.8 APO Symmar in Copal No. 3 Shutter, 112mm Filters, 1350g

The first two are single coated, the rest are multicoated. It's easy to see why the G Claron, that covers 12x20, is so popular and why the 360mm Fujinon A, which likely has the least usable coverage of the bunch, but is far and away the smallest and lightest, fetches some pretty ridiculous prices on the used market. It's also, by far, the hardest to find. The 360mm Fujinon-W is a bit of a sleeper. It can often be had at very reasonable prices and is reported to cover 8x20. It takes reasonably sized filters for a fast plasmat an is relatively compact, but weighs as much as most of the others.

What I find odd is that when Schneider came out with their latest incarnation of the Symmar line, the APO Symmar-L, there was no 360mm focal length. Give the popularity and utility of this focal length, compared to the 480mm, it seemed like a strange ommision. However, given the plentitude of good 360mm lenses on the used market at bargain basement prices, maybe they decided that there just wasn't much of a market for a new 360mm plsmat selling for $2500 - $3000. Someone at Schneider once told me their biggest competition was not any of the other brands, it was their own used lenses. That may have played a part in their decision to not include a 360mm focal length in the APO Symmar-L line.

Kerry

Sanjay Sen
05-12-2007, 12:55 AM
Well, Kerry, 360mm convertible Symmar prices are about to go up - as soon as this thread starts showing up in search engine results. :) Maybe I should go out and get one before the price hike - seems like it will cover all future format upgrades for sometime!


Best wishes,
Sanjay

ReallyBigCameras
05-12-2007, 01:07 AM
Sanjay,

You really think so. They seem to be fairly common on the used market, and with all the other choices (and I didn't even mention all the barrel lenses out there that cover 7x17 or greater), I doubt if they'll shoot up much in price. The ULF market isn't exactly huge. So, I dubt if demand will suddenly rise by any significant amount. I've actually observed prices on the newer 360mm plasmats dropping steadily over the last year or two. I've seen more than one 360mm Fujinon-W and Nikkor-W go for less than $500 recently. With prices of less than $500 for a newer, multicoated lens, how much above $400 do you think the older single coated convertible Symmars will go? The older lens might cover more, but there aren't THAT many people shooting 12x20 (and most of them probably already have a G Claron).

Kerry

Sanjay Sen
05-12-2007, 01:31 AM
Kerry, I was just joking! Anyway, reading this thread has been both a pleasure and very informative.

I recently acquired a Symmar 5,6/150 (12/265) of the Linhof Technika variety in a Synchro Compur #1 for my 4x5 but haven't had an opportunity to try it out yet. Would you happen to know what formats this will cover up to - with both cells or either? The idea of being able to get two focal lengths out of one lens sounds appealing to me, but I have to shoot to find out if the longer focal length will work for me.

(Sorry, I do not intend to hijack Sandy's thread about the Symmar 360, so we could start another thread if that sounds appropriate.)


Best wishes,
Sanjay

Ole
05-12-2007, 03:47 AM
The Symmar 5,6/150 (12/265) covers 5x7" if well stopped down. Converted, you'll see quite a bit of "gruff" in the corners on 4x5" if you look too closely.

See http://www.apug.org/forums/forum44/29102-lense-you-didnt-know-you-had.html for examples.

sanking
05-12-2007, 06:17 AM
Kerry,

It suprised me that the 355mm f/8 convertible symmar in Copal 3 actually weighs about 100g more than the lens I have in Compound. I would have expected the opposite.

I have also used the 360mm f/6.3 Fujinon-W. It should cover 8X20 since it barely misses 12X20. I actually purchased from someone who told me it would cover 12X20, but it just misses.

BTW, the Rodenstock Apo-Sironar-N will also cover 7X17 with movements, not sure if it will go to 8X20.

Sandy




OK, here's some actual weights of 355/360mm lenses that cover at least 7x17:


355mm f8 Convertible Symmar in Copal No. 3 Shutter, 105mm Filters, 1740g
360mm f10 Fujinon A in Copal No. 1 Shutter, 58mm Filters, 475g
360mm f6.3 Fujinon-W in Copal No. 3 Shutter, 86mm Filters, 1420g
360mm F6.5 Nikkor-W in Copal No. 3 Shutter, 95mm Filters, 1420g
360mm f6.8 APO Symmar in Copal No. 3 Shutter, 112mm Filters, 1350g



Kerry