View Full Version : The Plural of Xpres?

Ian Greenhalgh
19-Apr-2013, 23:19
Xpresses? Xpresi? I dunno, but I have a few of em...

The ones in question are two different War Dept. lenses, neither has the Ross or Xpres names on them. The larger f4 5-inch is the well-known Ross Wide-Angle Xpress, a 6 element plasmat with oversized glass so is said to be f3.1 wide open, but on mine, it's definitely f4 as that's as far as the aperture ring will move and you can still see the edges of the blades. I have two of these, the one pictured is sharp as a razor even wide open, the other is quite soft. Both are very low contrast and very flary. The cells have 58mm threads and fit an Ilex #4, I intend to put the sharp one in a shutter some day when I can afford it, the customs fees i always get stung with make buying an Ilex #4 from the US an expensive proposition and I've never seen one for sale in the UK.

The other lens is much smaller and squatter, it's an f4.5 5-inch. I can find very little mention of this lens anywhere, but I have found pictures of it fitted to the same torpedo training camera that the f4 5-inch WA Xpres was commonly fitted to. I'm pretty sure this is a Tessar type, I again have two of them, the other has had the large mounting flange removed, they have identical markings. I've only just acquired these two so not tried them yet. I'm only making a supposition that they are Ross Xpres, but they certainly look and feel like Ross lenses. I expected to find 44mm threads on the cells to fit an Ilex #3 as the Ross catalogue from the 1930s I found listed the f4.5 Xpres range in either barrel or Ilex shutters. Sadly, they aren't constructed that way, they are in two cells but the cells don't have threads at the end nearest the iris, instead it's at the other end and is large, looks like 50mm with a ruler, so looks like putting one in a shutter would need the services of a skilled machinist.

Has anyone seen or used one of these f4.5 WD lenses before? Having been fitted to the Torpedo training camera that shot a 2x7 inch negative, I'm assuming they must cover that format, which sounds like a very large image circle for a 5 inch Tessar type so maybe they are not Tessars, I'll have to take one apart and find out.


Roger Hesketh
20-Apr-2013, 05:41
The second lens the f4.5 one has the prefix WW before the serial number. Wray maybe? I have not heard of Wray making any of these before so Watson possibly? The first one has VV before the serial number that is the prefix Ross used. So is likely to be a Ross built lens. The other is unlikely to be.
I have a Wray lens built for the MOD but it is up in the loft when I get a chance I will check the serial number.

Steven Tribe
20-Apr-2013, 06:23

But if it had been Xprez, then the plural would have been Xprezzes.

Dan Henderson
20-Apr-2013, 09:11

Ian Greenhalgh
20-Apr-2013, 09:41
Hi Roger. Many thanks for that snippet about VV=Ross, didn't know that, I read that UU=Dallmeyer but not about the other codes.

If the f4.5 isn't an Xpres, I suppose it could be a Wray Lustrar?

I like Xpresso! :)

Ian Greenhalgh
20-Apr-2013, 14:57
I examined one of the f4.5s today and definitely a tessar, four clear bright reflections in the front cell, two bright clear ones with a weaker faint one in between in the rear cell.

20-Apr-2013, 20:43
The plural of Xpres is of course Xpress.

21-Apr-2013, 06:32

21-Apr-2013, 22:35
Xpres lenses

Ian Greenhalgh
3-Dec-2013, 20:24
I've finally managed to dismantle one of the f4.5 lenses and it's a 4/4 double gauss. So I've no idea who made it. Ross, Wray, Dallmeyer & TT&H all made 4/4 double gauss wide angle lenses so I suppose it could be any of them or indeed one of the other makers either to their own prescription or to the prescription of one of the other makers, work was contracted out a lot during the war.

The threads of the cells are about a mm two big to fit an Alphax #3 but the length of the lens in barrel matches what the length would be if the cells would screw into the Alphax, so it would be a simple job to recut the threads to fit. I think I know someone who can do this for me and I have a spare Alphax #3. I just acquired a dirt cheap Compur Electronic #3 to put the Ross WA Xpres 4/5" in, so hopefully before too long I can try both lenses on my 5x7 camera.