Lens: Schneider Componon 135mm f/5.6

Vintage: Still made although in a slightly different form.

Lens Mount: M50 x 0.75.

Needed Adapters: The 50 mm mount is fairly easy to adapt to a bellows although it does take a couple different rings. I first start with a 52-50 mm step-down ring. That screws onto the lens mount. Now I have a 52 mm male thread. The problem is that the thread on my reversing ring is also male. That problem can be easily bypassed by using a 55 - 52 mm step-down ring. These will have an internal 52mm thread that generally goes for the entire length of the ring. This allows you to use the ring as a 52-52 mm male to male adapter. The reversing ring fits onto the other side of this ring and you are in business.

Preferred Mounting: Normal, not reversed

Filter Thread: 50 mm on the lens. Watch out putting a typical lens cap on this as the curved front element extends fairly far forward.

Street Price: $75-$150 in good used condition. Prices vary a lot online, shop around.

Controls: This lens has an aperture control and a slider that allows you to have the aperture turn smoothly or with the click stops.

Aperture: 5 blades.

Basic Function: Requires a bellows to set focus and magnification

Extension Magnification Working Distance
11.4 cm 0.32 540 mm
13 cm 0.43 420 mm
16 cm 0.66 310 mm
19 cm 0.89 260 mm
Est. Focal Length: 133.8 mm


schneider componon 135 top view schneider componon135 side view

aperture graphResolution vs. Aperture:

The sharpest aperture is f/9.4, although apertures from f/5.6 - f/11 all have similar sharpness.

The highest resolution aperture is f/6.7.

I chose to use f/9.4 for all of my magnification testing in the next two sections since I generally pick the sharpest aperture.

For general shooting f/6.7 or f/8 as these aperture have slightly higher resolution than f/9.4. You will pay for this increase in resolution with a loss in depth of field.

corner sharpness graphCorner Sharpness vs. Aperture:

The corner performance of this lens is the best that I have measured (slightly better than the Minolta 50mm bellows lens that I recently posted). There is virtually no difference between the image in the center of the field and on the extreme corners at all apertures.

Nothing more need be said.

resolution graphSharpness and Resolution vs. Magnification:

With my bellows this lens has a usable magnification range from about 0.3:1 (limited by the height of my copystand) to about 0.9:1. This range makes it useful as a general purpose macro lens.

The lens shows good sharpness and resolution across the range, although not as good as a typical macro lens. The sharpness and resolution is more than enough for most purposes since most images will be resized to something a little smaller.

The advantage of using a lens of this long focal length is a large working distance (similar to a Nikon 200/4 macro). This can be a problem with copystand work as you will need a large one to accommodate this lens.

As before, this lens has superior corner sharpness across the magnification range.

performance:sharpness graphPerformance: Sharpness vs. Magnification:

I have 4 lines that represent levels of performance from outstanding (top) to fair (bottom). This shows where this lens fits into the hierarchy that I have created.

The Schneider 135mm shows sharpness the varies from good at 1:3 to fair at the top end of its range, about 0.9:1. This sharpness suffers a little from its rather large working distance.

performance:resolution graphPerformance: Resolution vs. Magnification:

I have 4 lines that represent levels of performance from outstanding (top) to fair (bottom). This shows where this lens fits into the hierarchy that I have created.

The Schneider 135mm shows resolution that varies from very good at 1:3 to good at the top end. Again, you use this lens is you want good lighting and a long working distance. If you were to shoot at f/6.7, these numbers would improve significantly (with a slight loss in sharpness).

resolving power graphResolving Power vs. Magnification:

This graph represents the smallest details that are able to be resolved by this lens at various magnificaitons. If the number doesn't get smaller as the magnification rises, there is little benefit to going up in magnificaiton with this lens. This situation is also called empty magnification.

Good to very good resolution. The numbers can be slightly improved by shooting at f/6.7.

Chromatic Aberration: This lens show minimal color fringing in the center (about 0.05 - 0.15 pixel) and minimal on the periphery (about 0.2 pixels). Anything below 1.0 pixel is good.

Image Contrast: Image contrast is good, typical for a high-quality enlarging lens.

Flare: This lens shows no significant flare during testing.

Distortion: This lens shows no significant distortion during testing.

Image Samples:

About 0.4:1 magnification, f/9.4, cropped and resized:

sample image

crop imagePixel level crop from the image above:

Good pixel level detail although maybe not quite the detail of a good macro lens.

About 0.9:1 magnification, f/9.4, resized:

sample image

crop imagePixel level crop from the image above:

Again, good detail, but probably slightly less than a good macro lens would have.


This is a very good enlarging lens that can be used quite successfully as a general purpose macro lens. They are inexpensive and are fairly easily found at used camera stores and on eBay. You will need a bellows to use this lens and it is fairly easy to adapt to such.

It has good resolution and sharpness although not quite that of a good modern macro lens. The difference is pretty small and unless you are addicted to pixel-peeping you won't see much difference on your images. This lens does outperform most macro lens with its superior corner sharpness. Combined with its lack of distortion makes it a good candidate for image stitching (panoramas).

The biggest advantage of using this lens is that it has a large working distance. For coins, this extra working distance allows for great high-angled lighting that shorter focal lenses just can't replicate. You will need a large copystand to use this lens.