Has anyone used a 4"/f12.5 Wollensak series III Ext. WA?

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Hello LF fans. Has anyone had any experience with a 4"/f12.5 Wollensak series III Ext. WA? Coverage? Resolution/Sharpness? I would appreciate any info.

Thanks! Tad

-- Tad Cornwell (zmountaingoat@yahoo.com), February 21, 2002


Are we speaking of the 108mm Raptar? If so, then: Covers 5x7 with movements. Very sharp in the middle (I've only contact printed); reasonable to the edges. Not a bad WA for 5x7, at least for contact printing. Now, I also have the 159mm Ser. IIIa, which is WA for 8x10. Outstanding coverage. Sharper lens. Sort of a sleeper in its category. Both lenses (and a couple/few other Wollensaks, esp. the Ia Convertible) arguably sort of Consumer Reports "best buys," given very soft prices on Ebay etc. -jeff buckels

-- jeff buckels (jeffbuck@swcp.com), February 21, 2002.

Jeff, The seller has listed it as "4"/f12.5 Wollensak series III Ext. WA". I know the reputation of the 159 but I'm unfamiliar with the shorter versions of this series. I'll be working 5x7 contacts.


-- Tad Cornwell (zmountaingoat@yahoo.com), February 21, 2002.

I picked one up a short time ago - it's a 4 3/8" F.L. Don't know if it's the same as a W.A. Raptar. Haven't had a chance to use it yet. It's uncoated and unthreaded - trying to figure out how to attach filters at this point (it's very tiny and has only a couple of mm of barrel to hang things on).

-- Wayne DeWitt (wdewitt@snip.net), February 22, 2002.

With my 120mm Berthiot Perigraphe, a similar ultrawide design, I couldn't attach any filters without vignetting, so I epoxied a 3x3" resin filter holder to the back of the lensboard, which works great. I don't have lenscaps for this lens, so when the camera is not in use, I turn the lensboard around so the lens faces the groundglass (there is enough clearance), and slip a square lenscap into the filter holder.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), February 22, 2002.

Thanks Dave - I had considered epoxying a step-up ring to the back but was leery due to the possible loss of resolution. Step-up rings are cheap enough, I'll give it a shot. The only alternative would be to jury-rig something to attach to the shutter itself.

-- Wayne DeWitt (wdewitt@snip.net), February 22, 2002.

Correction - the lens is 4 5/16" Series IIIA in a #2 Betax. Really nice little lens - maybe I'll just epoxy a step-up ring to the front of the lens itself. Barrel O.D. is about 32.5mm so a 34 or 35mm ring should be about right.

-- Wayne DeWitt (wdewitt@snip.net), February 23, 2002.

Thanks for all that contributed a post!

-- Tad Cornwell (zmountaingoat@yahoo.com), February 27, 2002.

Tad: Sounds like Wayne and I have the same lens, which is very close to what you're looking at. I have an f:12, 4 5/16 series IIIA Ex.W.A. which says 5X7 on it. I've tested it on an 8X10 camera and the circle does seem to give acceptable sharpness wide enough to just barely cover 5X7. Within a 4X5 area, sharpness is quite uniform and very acceptable within the range of prints up to 16X20. I have some fancy MC lenses which show much more of a decline as you move to the edges than this one. I am sure the new lenses are starting off sharper in the middle, of course. If you're not somebody who HAS to have a coated or multicoated lens, these seem like bargains which are useful, cheap, and small. I like mine enough I just had it mounted in a Copal "0" shutter.

-- Kevin Crisp (KRCrisp@aol.com), February 27, 2002.

Tad: Let me add one thing since I used this lens quite a bit yesterday...mine shows a focus shift when stopped down which is enormous. Maybe a 40% loss of sharpness if you don't check and adjust focus when you stop down to the taking aperture. Easy to check on yours, use a good loupe and focus on something detailed at f:22, the open it up and see what you've got.

-- Kevin Crisp (KRCrisp@aol.com), March 04, 2002.

I have a 4 and 5/16" Wollensak series III EX WA in Betax #2 shutter. According to Ron Wisner in a recent View Camera Q&A, this is a modified protar lens. I took mine apart (while cleaning the shutter) and found a two group construction which looked to be composed of two lenses each, which is consistent with a protar. My circa 1940 Wollensak catalog states this lens will cover 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 stopped down to f45. f12.5 is for focusing only, stop down to at least f22 to use (5x7 coverage). I use mine on a home-fashioned 5x7 wide angle camera made from B&J parts, it is a sharp lens with good contrast for B&W contact prints on AZO paper.

-- Rick Shimonkevitz (rickshimon@AOL.com), April 25, 2002.

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