Wollensak Lens: Repair this Dog?

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Hello All, I have had a 4-1/4" Wollensak Raptar lens for about two years. I had a CLA when I bought the lens but after a lengthy period of inactivity (pregancies and babies will do that to one's landscape photography hobby), the shutter is extremely slow on all speeds. (My other inactive lens, a Commercial Ektar in Ilex shutter, is running fine.) I talked to Steve Grimes about a CLA, but I'm wondering if the lens is worth it. It's in a recessed board that makes reaching the cable release impractical (a bag bellows is not a possibility with my camera), and it's so wide that finding a lens hood is quite a chore. On the other hand, $60 for a CLA is cheaper than a new lens. Does anybody have experience with this Wollensak lens? Is it worth keeping or can I use this to justify looking for and buying the 135mm Wide Field Ektar I've been thinking about? Thanks Jim Worthington

-- Jim Worthington (jcw@phr.ccmail.compuserve.com), January 10, 2000


Try this site. Good info on older lenses. http://www.hevanet.com/cperez/testing.html

-- Ron Shaw (shaw9@llnl.gov), January 10, 2000.

I have a 135mm Raptar that was exhibiting the same symptoms about a year and a half back. These are not the most complicated shutters. If you have some mechanical aptitude, you should try it yourself.

Unscrew the front element, then take off the front retaining ring, and lift up the face plate. Put a LITTLE bit of light oil on the end of the gear shafts, and work the shutter several times.

-- sheldon hambrick (sheldon_hambrick@hotmail.com), January 10, 2000.

As someone else recommended (here or elsewhere) use cigarette lighter fluid to inexpensively clean a vintage shutter. I tried it on two of mine and it worked great. Squirt it in the holes and gaps, let dry for a couple of hours and try it again. I screwed the glass out before i did mine. Both my shutters work more smoothly and I think more accurately. May not help serious problems but with a worn out shutter what is the harm. You may look through the earlier postings to find the original.

-- jim ryder (jimryder12@aol.com), January 11, 2000.

Thanks to all for the ideas. I think the problem has solved itself. After reading all of the advice, I started fiddling with the shutter and after about 30 minutes of cocking and tripping it at different speeds (and the finger callouses to show for it), it was acting fine. I won't know about accuracy until I make a few exposures. Perhaps this is the photo spirits' way of telling me to get out and shoot more. Thanks again Jim Worthington

-- Jim Worthington (jcw@phr.ccmail.compuserve.com), January 12, 2000.

These shutters are easily opened and cleaned, which will cure most of their ills.

There is a screw on the face plate that must be unscrewed. The faceplate rides in a pin on the shutter cam plate. ** Hold the shutter cam plate down against the body of the shutter when you remove the face plate. **

Make a note of the two cams that are riding in the cam plate, and also where the delay weight is positioned. You will need to put these items back into place correctly after you remove the cam. Pay attention here and save yourself some grief. This is not difficult, especially if you make a few notes as you remove the cam.

Do not turn the lens upside down, etc, as you will most likely lose the 1/400th auxiliary tension spring. It will fall out easily if you turn the shutter upside down.

Fargo makes a nice freon-type spray that cleans things out nicely. Lighter fluid works well also. Leave the WD-40, etc, to the idiots on eBay. You can clean it, but leave any lubrication to the professionals. Most lenses suffer terribly from over lubrication, so many are run dry for light duty use.

It goes without saying that you have removed both front and rear lens cells first

-- Bruce Gavin (doc@compudox.com), January 18, 2000.

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