lens, wollensak velostigmat

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has any one had any experience with the wollensak velostigmat? this lens has a 9 1/2 inch focal range, to be used on 8*10. the outer, foremost, element rotates 360, and it is marked in five settings. it is coated. it is mounted in a Betax No. 4 shutter. the barrel is about 2 1/2 inches in diameter which means it is heavy. it is calibrated from 4.5 to 64. i'd like to know what subject matter this lens was built for, and how does one use the rotating outter element? thanks.

-- david clark (doc@ellensburg.com), March 18, 1999


Hi David,

I actually have this lens. It came with a camera I bought and I have been meaning to try it out but have been using another lens I have. I am told that this lens is quite sharp when stopped down and quite soft when wide open. (But I've been told a whole lot of things that aren't true.) You spin the outer lens element and you can see on the ground glass the subject get kind of fuzzy edges. THey are pretty fuzzy at 5, not noticeable to me at 2. For portraits. I have been meaning to try it out on landscapes and see what kind of an image it will make stopped down and set at "1". I hope somebody who has this lens and has actually used it responds to your post.

-- Erik Ryberg (ryberg@seanet.com), March 18, 1999.

I own the 12" version of this lens mounted in an Alphax #5 and have used it extensively (and is a LARGE hunk of glass and metal). The variable focus design of the lens is mainly geared toward portraitists, although I don't use it for such a purpose, giving you flexibility in "softening" your subject matter. The "0" setting is sharpest; use it to photograph folks with good complexions, like children. The "5" setting is softest; use it to photograph granny (or raisins or prunes). This lens, inherent in its design, is not parfocal, meaning you will have to refocus after adjusting the setting. This is because in varying the distance between the two front elements, you are actually changing the point of best focus for the lens (read focal length). This may only be by a maximum of a couple of millimeters, but there is a world of difference between diffused-focus and out-of-focus.

I've been using mine with a pretty good degree of success in landscape photography at the "0" setting. Although it's uncoated, I find that I get sharp, high-contrast (B&W) negatives with a litte push in development, usually N+1.

By the way, the variable focus Velostimat by Wollensak is a TRUE soft- focus lens. Ansel Adams described this design well in The Camera.

-- Chad Jarvis (chad_jarvis@yahoo.com), March 19, 1999.

i have used this lens 91/2 version and found wide open on portraits very bheautiful this lens came to me on a beautiful 5X7 korona with glass plate holders i 've had this camera and lens for a bout 25 years in a packard shutter i have always wanted to try it on food since i shoot alot of it; thanks for the inspieration . lee

-- lee nadel (photonoodl@nii.net), August 19, 1999.

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