Schneider Makro-Symmar 120mm f5.6 Line Scan Lens

Update 2019: Using the Makro-Symmar 120 lens as rear lens in a Stacked lens combination

The Makro-Symmar 120 has proven to be an excellent tube lens, almost too good to be believed, see these tests here on for more info:





Another page with the MS120 and Componon 2.8/28:

The Makro-Symmar 120

The Schneider Makro-Symmar 120mm f/5.6 line scan lens is the industrial version of the consumer market Makro-Symmar 120/5.6 HM, a detailed review of this lens is available here on Both types of the Makro-Symmar 120 lens are excellent performers.

There are four different versions of Makro-Symmar 120 line scan lens that cover a magnification ratio range from 0.2X to 2.0X by using the lens either in normal or reverse mount. Thanks to the V-mount groove on both ends of the lens, reversing takes only a few seconds. The V38 mount allows for 360 degree rotation and makes it easy to set the lens for best azimuth, or alignment position, marked with a red dot on the lens body. The V38 system is very well designed but the retail prices can be on the expensive side.

Schneider Makro-Symmar SR 120mm f5.6 0059

What is a Line Scan Lens?

Schneider designed the SR120 to be used with a 12,000 or 12K pixel line scan inspection cameras that are used to identify flaws directly within the production process of semiconductor, FPD (flat panel display), and PCBs (printed circuit boards). This is a typical line scan set up below on a Teledyne Dalsa Piranha 3 camera. The stack consists of the lens, V38 extension tube, Unifoc focusing unit, and a couple of M72 tubes.

The lens was designed for a 5 μm pixel pitch sensor and seems to perform very well even with the D850’s 4.35 μm sensor. This lens is designed to cover the 62mm image circle of So this lens should be able to cover medium format digital camera like the Fujifilm GFX 50S sensor ( 8256 x 6192 pixels,  43.8 x 32.9mm sensor with 5.3 μm pixels, and a 54.78mm diagonal) or the Phase one IQ3 50MP (8280 x 6208, 5.3 μm sensor with a 55mm diagonal) without any problems and maybe the Phase One IQ3 100MP (11608 x 8708 pixel, 53.7 x 40.4mm sensor, 4.63 μm sensor with a 67mm diagonal).

This lens covers a huge image circle, something like 5 inches at 1X, and in my experience a lens designed for medium format coverage will usually will preform well modern digital sensor with a small pixel pitch. But this lens covers medium format and works very well on full frame camera like the D810’s 4.88 µm pixel size, and the D850’s 4.35µm pixels. 

Compared to the Schneider Componon, APO-Componon, M-Componon, and Componon-S the Makro-Symmar SR has much better chromatic aberration control, even better than the APO-Componons, and much better corner sharpness on a full frame sensor. 

Mounting the Makro-Symmar SR120

My Makro-Symmar 120mm f/5.6 lens has a Schneider 25mm long V38 to M 42x1 extension tube to allow me to use the lens on my standard set-up. There are different V38 V-mount mounting adapters on the market and you need to be aware that not all of these will fit the MS 120 lens due clearance issues with the rear cell of the lens.

V38 V-mount adapters that will fit the MS120 lens and Macro Varon lens:

Schneider V38 to M42 x 1.0 adapter
Schneider V38 to M42 x 1.0 extension tube

V38 V-mount Adapters That Will Not Fit the MS120 lens, or Macro Varon lens:

No Name V38 to M42 x 1.0 made in China
No Name V38 to M42 x 1.0 with lock ring made in China
Schneider V38 to M39 x 1.0 mount adapter

Important note: All of the adapters above will fit the Makro-Symmar 120mm f/5.6 lens if you use mount a 25mm or longer extension tube on the lens first, before you mount the adapter. But there is one type of Schneider tube that will not clear the rear cell of the Makro-Symmar 120mm.

Unfortunately the two technical drawings that I could find for Schneider extension tubes were both wrong so I created the following diagram based on the actual Schneider tubes that I own.

The outer diameter of the Schneider Makro-Symmar 120mm rear cell is 36mm. In the image above you can see 3 types of tubes. The problem is that type I inner diameter is large enough to clear the rear cell of the lens since almost all of the tube is 32mm in diameter. The Type II and M42 type are okay with a very small 32mm step at the rear. The female V38 to male 42mm x 1.0 extension is the best since it has plenty of clearance and it doesn’t need a separate mount adapter but these are also the hardest to find type. You might have to go to Schneider directly for the 42mm x 1.0 - V38 tube.

Schneider Makro-Symmar 120mm f/5.6 line scan lens with the Schneider M 42 x 1 to V38 Extension tube.

Schneider SR 120/5.6 MTF Graphs

Normally I don’t post or mention MTF graphs from manufacturers since they are just computer simulations but this is interesting since Schneider is showing the 100 lp/mm curve, which is almost unheard of. The bottom axis on these are the image height from the center so for a full frame camera so anything beyond 33mm is out of the frame.


Type: 12K Line scan lens Focal length: 120mm   Aperture: 5 blades

Aperture: f/5.6 nominal, f/5.9 effective, lockable aperture ring

Magnification range: These lenses are offered in four magnification ranges, 0.33x, 0.5x, 0.75x and 1.0x.

Coverage: Medium format  

Image circle: 62mm at 5 μm

Chromatic Aberration (CAs) control: Zero visible Lateral CAs.

Lens mount: V38 Front mounting threads:  M40.5 x 0.5

Optical design: symmetric 8 Elements in 4 Groups, ULD, ultra low dispersion glass used in the design.

f5.6 or f5.9?

The SR-120 industrial Makro-Symmar is marked as a 5.9/120 but is sometimes know as the a f5.6 lens but the HM Makro-Symmar is marked f5.6 so which is correct?

These figures are made using measurements made with a macro lens and a ruler reference. The figures are made with the quick formula and not the PMF formula since they are so close or at 1. 

Schneider Kreuznach MAKRO-SYMMAR 120MM F5.6 V38 LINE SCAN LENS 
SR 5.9/120-0059 
FL: 120.24 
Forwards: f6.09 
Reverse: f6.07 
Pupil factor: 0.99 

Schneider Kreuznach MAKRO-SYMMAR HM 120MM F5.6 LINE SCAN LENS 
Makro-Symmar 5.6/120 HM 
FL: 119.9 
Forwards: f5.87 
Reverse: f5.87 
Pupil factor: 1 

The HM 5.6/120 was difficult to measure since the iris was partially closed even at the f5.6 setting and the iris and pupil were at different positions in the lens.

External Links for more Info

These links are for the European Schneider site since the US site is not being maintained and returns error messages instead of PDFs.

Lenses for high resolution line scan:

Schneider V38 Line Scan lenses:

Schneider Makro-Symmar 120/5.6 0.33x 0061 model data sheet:

Schneider Makro-Symmar 120/5.6 0.50x 0060 model data sheet:

Schneider Makro-Symmar 120/5.6 0.75x 0059 model data sheet:

Schneider Makro-Symmar 120/5.6 1.0x 0058 model data sheet: