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  1. #1

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    Dec 2006
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    Schneider 120mm Super Symmar HM For Close Work

    I want to use a 120mm f5.6 on a 4x5 for moderate [borderline] close work @ 1:3 - 1:6 magnification [15" - 30" subject area,] with coverage for moves. These are borderline magnifications, the 120mm macros won't cover and according to the manufacturers are optimized for the closer ranges. I have read in Schneiders' publications that normal Apo-Symmars are designed to work at magnifications from 1:3 up [1:20?.] However, the 120mm Apo Symmar is low on coverage [none if I wanted to also use it at infinity.] The new Super Symmar XLs are also designed to work from @ 1:3 out to infinity but are problematically priced.
    I've located a nice 120mm Super Symmar HM [1990s blue ring.] I know they're Apo lenses. I know they have larger coverage. I think they had some extra special glass? Schneider provides very little info on these lenses. The brochure contains little about glass or design. I had one years back and it was 'super' sharp but I never tried it close. I'm wondering if anyone knows if those earlier Super Symmar HMs like current Symmars, were also designed for a wide magnification range, how close were they corrected for [Schneiders' current preferred 1:3 to infinity?]

  2. #2

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    The lens is a great lens but it is not specifically designed for macro work. Modern macro lenses are usually symetrical in design which enhances corner to corner resolution in the higher magnification ranges. Schneider does make a 120 Macro Symmar HM and you may be confusing the two.

    BTW the buy of the year is the 120 Nikkor Macro that is available new from B&H at a closeout price of $299 which is several hundred dollars less than they sell for used most of the time. If you watn a macro lens in this focal length don't pass this uo, they won't last long.

  3. #3

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    Hi, I'm aware of the macros

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Harris View Post
    The lens is a great lens but it is not specifically designed for macro work. Modern macro lenses are usually symetrical in design which enhances corner to corner resolution in the higher magnification ranges. Schneider does make a 120 Macro Symmar HM and you may be confusing the two.

    BTW the buy of the year is the 120 Nikkor Macro that is available new from B&H at a closeout price of $299 which is several hundred dollars less than they sell for used most of the time. If you watn a macro lens in this focal length don't pass this uo, they won't last long.
    I am aware of the Macro Symmar HM [also the Rodenstock 120 Apo Macro] they have too little cover for me [none] at my magnification ratios, unfortunately the Nikon is equally unusable.
    Oddly, I saw a person pay more for a pre-owned Nikon Macro AM ED on ebay then the B&H new price.

    I'm trying to find the best flexible 120 f5.6 with a compromise of good near-far performance with the most coverage. The macro lenses list their coverage at high magnification 1:1 while a Super Symmar HM is listed at infinity and has the most coverage. If the macro lens cover is calculated at infinity I believe the listed coverage is halfed.

    My only practical choices at 120'ish are the Super Symmar HM and the Fuji 125 f5.6 CMW neither is symmetrical but Schneider claims to design to 1:3 magnification [a 15" subject diameter with 4"x5"] on their Super Symmar XLs [too costly,] and the Apo Symmars. I have seen nothing about the Fuji. Unfortunately, I haven't seen anything specific about my preferred Super Symmar HM either.

    Thanks

  4. #4

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    If ou are talking true 'macro' work, meaning magnification ratios of 1:1 or larger then you will get the best results with a lens speciufically designed for that purpose. Process lenses will get you some of the way there as they are designed for close work but they are also designed for reproducing flat copy rather than dimensional objects. By the same token, any normnal plasmat or tessar lens in the 105 - 135 range that covers 4x5 will also give you acceptable performance in macro ranges. Note I say acceptable meaning that it should be fine for flowers and the like for fine art photography; I would not use it for product (like jewelry) or technical fine detail photography .... others may differ .



 

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