Wollensak Velostigmat Series II f4.5 9 1/2" Variable SF

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Can any one tell me about the design, use, character, and effect of the Wollensak Velostigmat Series II f4.5 9 1/2" Variable SF. I think it is a portrait lens from the '30s or '40s.



-- Paul van der Hoof (ds21z@pacbell.net), December 29, 2001


Hi Paul, It's a SF lens. I don't think it was ever restricted to portraits. Focus on the subject with the front element on zero, then dial in the degree of flair you want. Unlike the Imagon, you have true f stop control which you can use to increase/control depth of field. At f/22 you will find that you need to dial a higher number on the front element to achive the same degree of SF. The old time portrait f is somewhere between 5.6 and 8. 9 1/2 is too large in diameter to mount on a Copal, and so speed/reliablity and that whole old time speed index thing is an issue. So once again a polarizer can help you out. I've had fine luck with a polarizer & yellow stacked on the lens photographing a wind swept river under bright noon sun. Expect some off the wall comments from other photographers when you show them the results, but some of the rest of humanity seems to like the effect. Using this lens you are bucking long established trends in "art" photography. For interesting portrait, put it on your 8*10 and park the camera about two feet in front of the subject until her face fills the ground glass at which point you should have about 2 ft of bellows extended. Add good strong light to one side. Dial in SF to suit. Best of luck, David

-- david clark (doclark@yorku.ca), December 30, 2001.

Hi David, very interesting, what you are telling about these imagon and other soft lenses. Is it possible to see the photos you produced with them? Oliver

-- Oliver Ruether (info@oliver-ruether.de), December 30, 2001.

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