View Full Version : Wollensak Series IIIA EXWA 3 Inch f/12.5

30-Apr-2014, 10:34
Unable to find much info on this lens. Even tried Vade Mecum. Anyone using this lens? Elements/Groups?

thank you,
bob k.

Roger Hesketh
30-Apr-2014, 10:51
Two cemented air spaced doublets either side of the stop similar to a Cooke convertible Series XV.

30-Apr-2014, 11:09
Thank you Roger. Have you ever used this lens?

30-Apr-2014, 12:31
I bought one a couple of weeks ago, but haven't given it a good run yet. The Wollensak WA lenses are a strange bunch. As near as I can tell there are a mess of them, and little logic to it. The 6.8 (Series III in the old catalogs) version we all know, that barely covers its intended format, fits into the same niche as the Angulon, though I gather it's not the same formula. Then 12.5 (Series IIIa, designated Extreme WA), which covers one format up, so the 90 will cover 5x7, stopped down--sort of a slow and primitive Super Angulon in function. Then there was a 9.5 version, which is a six-element similar in use to the 12.5 and available in only one focal length, I THINK.

It appears that they were on and off about these, not every one appearing in every year's catalog, nor sequentially. The 12.5 was only offered in Wollensak's cheapest shutter, at a lower price, implying an inferior lens, which seems to contradict it's greater coverage. So far mine seems extremely sharp, regardless, at least on 4x5. I bought it because I've been making a bit of a game out of buying only lenses that cover 5x7 for my 4x5. (Which habit I just broke this morning to buy a minty and irresistible 65/5.6 Super Angulon).

The worst thing about the 90/12.5 that I am aware of so far is that it requires a special cable release. I wouldn't have known that, except my lens came with one. Internally, the release pushes on what looks like a pin rather than a paddle, and the end of the cable release tip looks like a plumber's helper (plunger) with a tiny cup. A regular release won't work except by accident. Another oddity is that it seems to be an f/6.8 lens with a limiter on it, and some folks on the web say you can open it up and remove a pin that prevents it from opening larger than 12.5. Eventually I will be wanting to do that--it's very dark for focusing indoors!

Kevin Crisp
30-Apr-2014, 12:35
The 4 3/16ths one was officially a 5X7 lens, which it doesn't do particularly well, though it is quite good as a 4X5 lens stopped down.

30-Apr-2014, 15:26
...The 6.8 (Series III in the old catalogs) version we all know, ...Then there was a 9.5 version, which is a six-element similar in use to the 12.5 and available in only one focal length, I THINK...
A couple of minor corrections, the series III was 9.5, not 6.3. The series III was eight elements in four cemented doublets as has been mentioned above. I have one and can verify that. Some of Wollensak's lens diagrams are in one of the online catalogs at Camera Eccentric. The f9.5 and f6.3 are shown, but not the f12.5. The f6.3 was four meniscus elements, kind of like a Topogon but not as strongly curved and probably less angular coverage. The f9.5 was available in several focal lengths in the older Wollensak catalogs. I've seen a few focal lengths on Ebay. The f9.5 was also Wollensak's first wide angle anastigmat. It started life as the Wide Angle Royal Anastigmat by the Rochester Lens Company which was bought by Wollensak in 1905. It can be seen in the 1906-1907 catalog. The f12.5 first appears in the 1922 catalog, IIRC.

30-Apr-2014, 18:06
Rat, thanks for the corrections!

2-May-2014, 08:43
Thank you for the info everyone.

3-Sep-2014, 17:12
The f/12.5 model is 4 elements in 4 groups.

I think it's a predecessor to the 90/6.8 Raptar, as you can open the aperture up until f/6.8 (if you remove the stopper) and the construction is the same. I think they just dropped the "extreme" from the name in the end (last version carried the name "Raptar Extreme W.A." 90/12.5), and removed the aperture limiters from the shutters. Probably a marketing gimmick to sell it as a faster lens for press use.

The 9.5 model is 8 elements in 4 groups. Shame they did not do this in 90mm focal lenght.