Schneider Symmar 150 vs. Rodenstock Sironar-S 135 for B/W Landscapes

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by roger_haynes, Sep 5, 2000.

  1. I am currently shooting with a Schneider Symmar 150mm f5.6 convertible lense and I am considering purchasing a Rodenstock Sironar-S 135mm. I shoot black & white landscapes and would like to get opinions on the type of image quality difference between these two lenses. The first question is, all things considered equal, will their be a quite noticeable difference in image sharpness / contrast / quality between the two lenses? I shoot most of my shots in low light at the end of the day with my camera very seldom aimed at the sun. The second question is, would the change in lense be worth the expense for the quality improvement?
     
  2. Roger: What kind of quality are you getting now? I have found the
    Schneider convertable to be good lenses when used at their prime
    focal length. I don't see where you would get a noticable
    improvement, but there will probably be someone who will take
    exception. Shooting in low light, which is softer, you will not get
    the contrast and apparent sharpness you will get in bright sun.
    However, for scenics, the slightly wider angle of the 135 may be of
    benefit. It depends upon what type of scenic you are shooting. I
    would keep the convertable, as it can make acceptable negatives at
    its converted length in a pinch, especially when filtered. Both the
    Schneider and Rodenstock are good lenses and both are the plasmat
    formula.

    <p>

    Regards,
     
  3. The Rodenstock Apo-Sironar S f/5.6 and Schneider Apo-Symmar 135 mm and
    150 mm lenses are reputedly among the sharpest lenses available for
    landscape photography. You can look at published data provided by the
    lens manufacturers to verify this. Possibly a local dealer has someone
    on its staff who knows how to interpret and explain this data. I would
    guess that the 150 mm focal length lens may be more popular than the
    135 mm lens. They are about equal in price. The 150 mm lens is
    equivalent to a 50 mm lens in the 35 mm format, while the 135 mm lens
    is equivalent to about a 45 mm lens in the smaller format. The
    Rodenstock 135 Apo-Sironar lens has more coverage than the Schneider
    135 mm lens Apo-Symmar and allows about an additional 1 cm rise. I do
    not know how their coverage compares to that of their predecessors,
    the non-Apo series. The non-Apo Rodenstock and Schneider lenses
    mentioned by you are still available and usually sold and resold at
    lesser prices (several hundreds of dollars less). Check out images
    taken by Craig Wells at TranquilityImages.com taken with a 135 mm
    lens. The 135 mm lens serves as a mild wide angle and sells in the USA
    for about $1200-1400 less and is more compact than the 110 XL wide
    angle HM-lens made by Schneider. Rodenstock's Apo-Sironar S 135 mm
    lens takes a 49 mm filter and weighs only 240 grams (about a 1/2 lb).
    Virtually all field cameras can use the 135 mm lens without changing
    from a normal to a wide angle bellows. Some cameras require a wide
    angle bellows for a 110-115 focal length lens. I do not know about the
    filter size for the Schneider 135 mm lens but I suspect it takes a 49
    mm filter. Nikon's 135 lens takes a 52 mm filter. If you use step
    rings, it may not matter to you what size is the filter. I suspect
    that you would might see a difference in sharpness/contrast/ quality,
    because the 135 mm lens allows greater depth of field compared to the
    150 mm lens and there are mathematical formulas for calculating lens
    resolution which seem to favor the 135 mm over the 150 mm lens, all
    other things being equal. However, I have not compared the 150 with
    the 135 mm lenses, and my opinion is really speculation. For 6 x 7 cm
    format, the 150 mm lens might better serve as a head and shoulder
    portrait lens, when your objectve is to have the background out of
    focus. I suggest that you contact a Rodenstock or Schneider product
    representative and see if
     
  4. Doug,

    <p>

    " I have found the Schneider convertable to be good lenses when
    used at their prime focal length. I don't see where you would get
    a noticable improvement"

    <p>

    This is easy to say. But have YOU actually gone out to see if you
    can improve?

    <p>

    Or is it your feeling that you would not see a difference?

    <p>

    There is a big difference.
     
  5. Hi Roger,

    <p>

    based on years of fooling around comparing lenses, I'd assert the
    only practical "$-on-the-counter" LPM or colour difference you'll see
    between good examples of these lenses, is under Lab style
    repeatability testing, not so much with mellow lit landscapes.
    Personally, I prefer Rodenstock lenses. And I prefer 135mm as a GP
    landscape length, there's an immediate difference in the look between
    135mm and 150mm, a lot more than the 10% difference would seem to
    imply. The perspective change by itself maybe worth the money to you.

    <p>

    Borrow the one you don't have and do your own comparsion, but a word
    of Warning, Lens testing can be addictive ...

    <p>

    Kind regards.
     
  6. The 135mm Apo-Sironar S was my first 4X5 lens. It takes 49mm
    filters, and is very compact and light. Every photo I've shot with
    it exhibits high contrast and sharpness, even under adverse
    conditions.
     

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