View Full Version : Wollensakers! What is your favorite Wollensak?

John Kasaian
31-Mar-2013, 21:54
Which Wolly (Wollys? Wolli? What is plural for Wollensak anyway?) Do you use the most?
Of the two I have, only the WA 159mm "yellow dot" gets out to play.

Jim Andrada
1-Apr-2013, 02:48
My 159 by far

1-Apr-2013, 05:37
f:5.6/10" Tele-Raptar. It is tiny in size and weight compared with the competing German brands, and optically as good or better.

Jan Pedersen
1-Apr-2013, 05:49
159 WA Raptar, great lens. Had an sold the yellow dot but equally fine and i think with ever so slightly more coverage than the Raptar.

Scott Walker
1-Apr-2013, 06:08
The only Wolly I have is a 302mm Enlarging Raptar and it is the lens I use on my Durst 184

1-Apr-2013, 06:36
Thats hard to answer, when Wollensak made so many disparate lenses. I do like their Veritos.

1-Apr-2013, 06:37
Wollensack-Dumont CRO 75mm f/1.9 Oscillo-Amaton, but I don't have a 159mm yet.

1-Apr-2013, 06:43
Totally love my 10 inch Veritar. Lovely soft focus images, especially portraits.

1-Apr-2013, 07:15
The only Wollensak lens I have is a Series IIIA Ex.WA f12.5 8x10 (6" / 159mm) that I bought recently for the shutter. Hoever I'll soon try it as it's smaller than my 165mm SA.

I have set of Raptar cells somewhere an a few Wollensak shutters, - Velosto (Optimo) with 170mm Kodak Anastigmat, Optimo 4" approx B&L Tessar, Betax 3 Turner Reich 5x7, Betax 5 Radar, all need testing out.


Dan Fromm
1-Apr-2013, 07:35
4"/5.6 Enlarging Pro Raptar. Superb lens for closeup and macro. Outstanding from 1:6 - 4:1. Mine may be a lucky fluke. Klaus Schmitt (macrolenses.de) has one and says his is "nothing special." I've shot mine against a 100/6.3 Luminar and 100/6.3 Neupolar. The Neupolar won, the EPR and Luminar tied for second. I use the EPR more than the Neupolar because it is easier to use; the Neupolar's diaphragm ring is on the front, is hard to get to, harder to read.

150/5.6 Pro Raptar. When Andrew Glover had a heap of these things and was working hard at moving them he swore that they were the best 150/5.6 plasmat ever made. I don't know whether he was right, doubt he was, but it is a very good lens.

Pro Raptars were Wollensak's last attempt to compete head-on with Rodenstock and Schneider. Plasmat type taking and enlarging lenses. 150/5.6 and 210/5.6 taking lenses, enlarging lenses from 50/4 to 190/5.6.

Ray Van Nes
1-Apr-2013, 09:29
A couple of gems I have are: 81/4" (210mm) f/6.8 Graphic Raptar Wide Field. It easily covers 8x10 and is coated. It is also quite a small lens.
The other one I just picked up is the 4 1/4" (108mm) Raptar Wide Angle. It covers 5x7 and is quite tiny.

Ed Bray
1-Apr-2013, 10:00
I have 2, but they are both 159s, an f9 and a WA f11. I only tend to use the f9 at the moment.

1-Apr-2013, 10:10
My favorite Wollensak isn't a lens, but a lens shade -- the one with the aperture setting mechanism for use on the 135 Optar. What a nice tool to work with. I have one on each of my Optars.

William Whitaker
1-Apr-2013, 10:37
I have a couple of variable soft focus Velostigmats which I really like. I like my Veritos, too, although wide-open they're too soft for my taste. But the rear cell of my 11 1/2" Verito is 20" and a good lens for the 12x20. Also I have a 17x20 Versar for the 12x20. At 22" FL it's a bit long for the extension of my Folmer & Schwing, so I'm limited to more distant subjects. But the rendition is so nice on that big ground glass!

1-Apr-2013, 11:15
I also have the same 8 1/4" (210mm) f/6.8 Graphic Raptar Wide Field as Ray. Nice barrel lens and it saw a lot of use. But I replaced it with a Fuji 250/6.7 in a shutter, but I'll keep it handy if I need that little more wider of a view. It is small enough to just keep in the pack when working under the redwoods and other low-light situations where barrels are fine.

I also have a Wollie 8x10 Series IIIA 6 1/4" EX.W.A. f12.5 in what I believe is the original Alphax shutter. But my sample does not cover 8x10 well as the corners are dark and soft. I have mounted it on a board for my 5x7 where I think it will be fine.

Mark Sawyer
1-Apr-2013, 13:15
I can't remember for sure, but I think it begins with a "V"...

Peter York
1-Apr-2013, 14:29
My 159mm might be the sharpest lens I own (in the center). I use it mainly for 4x5 these days. The coatings are wearing off and it does flare, but I really like the effect on B&W. The 135mm optar is nice too. The highlights are buttery, and it reminds me of Type 55. However, my favorite is the 7.25" Verito.

No props for the Voltas?

1-Apr-2013, 20:45
I havent shot it yet, but the Raptar 10" telephoto is pretty cool.

One of my fav shots was taken with a 135mm f4.7.

2-Apr-2013, 04:41
Wolli vitax #3 for portraits.

2-Apr-2013, 05:40
Mine is a Velostigmat 12 in., in a huge Betax 5! Very impressive looking lens, and I love the soft rendition it gives.

Peter Gomena
2-Apr-2013, 08:33
I owned a 13/20/25.5" convertible, I think a Raptar, for the 8x10" Korona I once owned. Chunky and heavy, but a good optic. The 13" (combined) and 19" rear component worked very well. The 25.5" (front) component was maybe a bit soft, but it was so hard to use it with my shaky old camera that I'm pretty sure it was my fault. I miss the sound of the big shutter it was in.

Not LF, but I own a 1950s Graflex Ciro 35mm with a 50mm f/3.5 Wolly lens. Lens is darned sharp, probably a tessar.

Chauncey Walden
2-Apr-2013, 10:29
Had more than I thought I did:
4 1/4 inch (108mm) f/12.5 Extreme Wide Angle an oldie but goodie on 5x7
6 1/4 inch (159mm) f/12.5 Extreme Wide Angle ~1945 excellent lens on 8x10
8 1/4 inch (210mm) f/11 5x7 Rapid Rectilinear ~1901 hard to find a bad RR
10 inch (254mm) f/5 Vesta ~1909 sharpens rapidly from wide open
10 1/4 inch (260mm) f/10 APO-Raptar ~1956 uber sharp!
13/20/25 1/2 inch (330/508/648mm) Raptar 1a triple convertible ~1954 wonderful lens, the 25 inch is especially sharp (sorry Peter)
15 inch (380mm) f/5.6 TeleRaptar ~1943 great long lens on a Speed Graphic

Jim Galli
2-Apr-2013, 18:21
So many Wolly's, so little time. Most successful images with a single wolly goes to the 18" Verito.

Carsten Wolff
5-Apr-2013, 16:19
+1 with Jim on that sentiment; I honestly couldn't say that I have A favourite; all of the ones I kept I did keep for a reason and may I include even my old (Wollensak-made) Conley V. Recently, I got e.g. a lot of enjoyment out of my 15" f5.6 tele, which I use as a general and portrait lens on 5x7", but I also like the wides; opening the max apertures may sound like butchery and there is a reason why Wollensak restricted the max aperture in the first place, but I have recently rediscovered the originally rather dim 104 and the 159......at ~f/6.5 on the GG. Go Wolly!

Darryl Baird
30-May-2013, 18:14
late to the party, but my 9-1/2 Velostigmat Series II is the most utilitarian lens I've owned, with the fuzzolater removed I have oodles of soft goodness, and stopped down it's VERY SHARP, and it handles macro work with ease with it's fast 4.5 aperture ;)

30-May-2013, 18:18
i love my velostigmat 1a triple convertible ( 13-20-25 )
it is a sweet lens and has HUGE coverage
( thanks john, you told me about it !! ) :)
the other V's i have are pretty fun too

30-May-2013, 20:11
Their whole Vesta line, but especially the Vesta 14" for 8x10 and 5x7.

30-May-2013, 20:24
Their whole Vesta line, but especially the Vesta 14" for 8x10 and 5x7.

I have a Thornward labelled 14" Vesta coming tomorrow - looking forward to trying it out. I have Velostigmat IIs in 7", 8", 9" and 12" (all but the 12 have some fractional length above what I mention) - all very nice, even without soft focus, or maybe because they lack it. With apologies to the soft focus fans, I've never developed an appreciation for the Verito (I have a 7" in Studio shutter).

Roger Thoms
30-May-2013, 22:33
Totally love my 10 inch Veritar. Lovely soft focus images, especially portraits.

Any chance you could post some images.


31-May-2013, 08:58
8X10 Series I Velostigmat in a pneumatic shutter. More than sharp enough for contact prints and lots of coverage. Prior to 1908 this lens was called the Royal Anastigmat. Different design than the IA, which came later.

CC Tarca
21-Jun-2013, 20:34
The Series I was also the same as above Conley Anastigmat Series V, right?

21-Jun-2013, 21:55
My favorite Wolli are my Alphax shutters. Love em. The favorite lens among my Wollensaki is I suppose the Raptar on my Busch Pressman that I haven't used in 25 years. I'm jonesin for some Wollensaks for my 8x10, and always looking for ways to work Wollensak into a sentence.

22-Jun-2013, 08:53
The Series I was also the same as above Conley Anastigmat Series V, right?
I think it is.

Ivan J. Eberle
2-Oct-2013, 12:36
Don't have it in hand just yet, but someone's offered to GIVE me a 11-1/2" Verito f/4.
I've got only a 4x5 at the moment, but one that may has enough bellows extension to focus it to somewhat closer than infinity (14-1/2", probably not enough for head shots). Big heavy lens, I'm assuming. Saw a phone snapshot of it, not entirely pristine but appears to be in a Betax shutter. Can't find any recent sales on eBay, wondering what's it worth in average condition if I get it and decide it won't fit my 4x5? Thanks

2-Oct-2013, 13:52
Wow lucky you.

I had one, it was too big to use on anything but my Toyo monorail with the big 158mm boards (or my 8x10). I think I sold it for ~$500 because I never used it, since I work more in the field.

Of course if someone gave me a lens, I probably wouldn't sell it, myself.

William Whitaker
2-Oct-2013, 15:04
Big heavy lens, I'm assuming. Saw a phone snapshot of it, not entirely pristine but appears to be in a Betax shutter.

Probably weighs much less than you think. Mine is in a Studio shutter, about the size of a large Betax. Can't weigh it for you as it's on vacation for a couple more weeks in beautiful downtown Woonsocket. Still, it's too big for most 4x5 cameras, especially for those with lensboards smaller than about 5 1/4".