Wollensack Raptar- Is this a good idea?

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Hello Folks. This summer, I am going to try some large format for landscapes and outdoor architecture. I was a Graphic Arts undergrad over 25 yrs ago. We used many cameras and formats way back then, but it has been a long time since I used sheet film. I could use some help. Here is my problem.

I have a 10.25 in (260mm) Wollensack APO Raptar f10 Process lens-in-barrel. It is in mint condition. I was thinking about having it shutter mounted, and using it as a mild telephoto on a 4 X 5 Calumet view camera. I can't find anything on the net about coverage,sharpness or useability as a view camera lens. Can anybody help me with some information? What kind of cost am I looking at? Would it not be more cost effective just to buy a newer lens?

There is a lot of good experience on this board, and I would appreciate any responses. Thanks.

-- joseph wasko (jwasko@erols.com), April 18, 2000


I'm sure S.K.Grimes website can give you a good idea of the price of a shutter. Then you've got to add the cost of adapting the existing lens mount to fit the shutter. It could easily make it an uneconomical exercise.

I'm using a TT-H Apotal 300mm f/9 process lens on 5x4, and I can't fault it. The small aperture isn't a problem for focussing with that focal length. I would've needed a number 3 shutter to fit it, and even secondhand they cost a fair bit. Instead, I bought an ancient (about 1900?) front-of-lens shutter of the old "mousetrap" variety, and re-furbished it slightly. It still works very well. Testing it with a modern shutter speed tester shows that it gives 1/25th of a second with good consistency. The speed is variable over a small range by means of a tensioning spring, but I've yet to calibrate it properly. Of course, it's no substitute for a decent full-speeded modern shutter, but it's fun to use, and gives an insight into the life of photographers of a bygone era.

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), April 19, 2000.

Wollensak made a lot of LF lenses in thier day. I have a 162mm Optar (made by Wollensak, same as the in house Raptar), and its a very sharp lens. At 260mm, it should have plenty of coveraage for 4x5 I would think. Try a simple test by projecting an image on a wall, and you can probably get a rough idea on coverage.

-- Ron Shaw (shaw9@llnl.gov), April 19, 2000.

Sorry about the wrong link in my previous post. A couple of letters here and there make a big difference!

S.K.Grimes website is here (honest)

-- Pete Andrews (p.l.andrews@bham.ac.uk), April 19, 2000.

I have one of these lenses on a 4x5 Pacemaker Speed Graphic (so no shutter required) and have used it for landscape. The images are extremely sharp and contrasty. Focusing at f/10 was not a problem (helped by a Biz-Mart plastic page magnifier on the viewer's side of the ground glass.) Total cost of this system, by the way, was $75.79 which includes $50 for the Speed Graphic, $25 for the mint lens, and .79 for the page magnifier. Have fun.

-- Chauncey Walden (CLWalden@worldnet.att.net), April 19, 2000.

You might find a 10" lens in shutter for about what it takes to mount the process lens, and you might find one more suitable for view camera use. But, will it be as much fun as using the old process lens? I suspect you might be able to mount it on the front of a shutter without breaking the bank. If you can't find a shutter it will screw into, an adapter can be made or you may be able to make one yourself. It should be a fun lens and one which is quite sharp. Go for it.

-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alanet.com), April 19, 2000.

Thanks for the responses. This forum is great! I have emailed SK Grimes for a quote, but it probably looks like it won't be cost effective. For $500.00, I could shoot Nikkor, Fuji or Schneider glass. (used)

The lens stops down to f-90. With Velvia at dusk, I meter 8 secs @ f90. 3 seconds of reciprocity failure makes 11 seconds at f-90. I could mount the lens shutterless, and still use the cap. That's probably the route I will take with this one. This lens will get used, but not with Tri-X in bright sun.

Thanks again guys.

-- joseph wasko (jwasko@erols.com), April 19, 2000.

Bear in mind you could also use neutral density filters to get some more flexibility with the aperture and still make lenscap exposures.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), April 19, 2000.

You might try looking for one of the shutters from an old oscilloscope or microscope camera. The lenses that come with them can be good (some Tominons) or lousy (oscillo-xxx-tars) but the shutters are reliable, and usually have speeds up to 125. The clear through hole is of the order of an inch or so, so with a 10.25" lens on 4x5 you're unlikely to vingette once you are past f16.

I have one of these mounted on a lenscap. I use the lens' iris to stop down (if it has one) since that avoids mental arithmetic and optimises aberration corrections. By front-mounting I get to focus with the full aperture of the taking lens, adding the shutter only when I want to take an image.

-- Struan Gray (struan.gray@sljus.lu.se), April 20, 2000.

I would recommend the hat trick over the lenscap trick, however. Just to reduce potential vibration problems <|:-)

-- Ron Shaw (shaw9@llnl.gov), April 20, 2000.

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