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View Full Version : My wolly 159mm is soo dark, what do you guys do?



ericmaquiling
7-Mar-2016, 10:35
Hi guys,
Can I use a fresnel of some type to see a little better with my Wolly 159mm?
Darn thing is so dark even on a good day

Kevin Crisp
7-Mar-2016, 11:02
There are two different ones, the 'darker one' is f:12.5, is that the one you use? If so there is a brighter one, with a little less coverage.

I use an uncoated 12.5, with a Fresnel, and I can live with it since it is so sharp on my 4X10.

ericmaquiling
7-Mar-2016, 11:04
Do you have a pointer to fresnels on line? I don't really know what to get/where to get one and what works with ground glass.

Mark Sawyer
7-Mar-2016, 11:10
Most of the f/9.5 and f/12.5 Wolly's I've seen or owned open up to around f/6 for focusing and composing. There was supposedly a restrictor screw that stopped them from opening that far, and it may have been common practice to remove them long ago. Does yours open up past the stops numbered on the aperture scale?

ericmaquiling
7-Mar-2016, 11:20
Most of the f/9.5 and f/12.5 Wolly's I've seen or owned open up to around f/6 for focusing and composing. There was supposedly a restrictor screw that stopped them from opening that far, and it may have been common practice to remove them long ago. Does yours open up past the stops numbered on the aperture scale?

Yeah, mine goes past the numbers. I can kinda focus in the middle and stop it down some, but still annoying. And I'm finally getting to the point where I'm like "darn it, I wanna use this more often so I need to have some options'.

Kevin Crisp
7-Mar-2016, 11:43
On my 4X10, with a plain gg, I just bought a full page flexible reading magnifier and put it in behind the ground glass. It lets me see the overall frame adequately, but still focus with a loupe.

I wonder if opening up more than 9.5 or 12.5 gets you into focus shift? I haven't tried it.

IanG
7-Mar-2016, 11:52
Get a better Ground Glass screen. I use a 141mm f14 Ross WA (Protar) and it's easy to focus even in quite poor light, as are my f12.5 159mm WA Wollensak lenses.

I use mine with two 10x8 Agfa Ansco's one with a fresnel the other without, a plain GG is often easier with quite wide angle lenses.

Ian

Mark Sawyer
7-Mar-2016, 12:21
Yeah, mine goes past the numbers. I can kinda focus in the middle and stop it down some, but still annoying. And I'm finally getting to the point where I'm like "darn it, I wanna use this more often so I need to have some options'.

The best options are a better ground glass and a good loupe.



I wonder if opening up more than 9.5 or 12.5 gets you into focus shift? I haven't tried it.

My experience is it doesn't shift focus, it just loses a little resolution and coverage, (it still covers 8x10, but the corners darken a little more).

ericmaquiling
7-Mar-2016, 12:22
Okay, next question. GG sources? I have a Kodak Master View.

Mark Sawyer
7-Mar-2016, 13:47
Before buying a new gg, which gg is on your camera now? The factory gg on the KMV was pretty bright.

ericmaquiling
7-Mar-2016, 14:17
Before buying a new gg, which gg is on your camera now? The factory gg on the KMV was pretty bright.

I don't think it's factory. Looks like some plain jane gg. No lines

Mark Sawyer
7-Mar-2016, 16:09
The factory KMV gg had some pretty obvious markings (see attached), so it's possible you have a less-efficient aftermarket glass. But I'd try the lens on another camera's gg before investing in a new one...

ericmaquiling
7-Mar-2016, 16:17
The factory KMV gg had some pretty obvious markings (see attached), so it's possible you have a less-efficient aftermarket glass. But I'd try the lens on another camera's gg before investing in a new one...

So obvious that I forgot to do that!! I have a Chamonix 4x5 and the board on my Wolly fits. Surprised I haven't done this before. :)

Greg
7-Mar-2016, 16:29
Had the same problem when I used my 183mm f/18 B&L Protar V on a circa 1910 11x14 Improved Empire State view. The original GG was 100+ years old. When I got my 11x14 Chamonix and put the same 183mm f/18 B&L Protar V on it, I swear the image on the Chamonix's GG was more than double the brightness. Now have a fresnel for the 11x14, but with extra wide angle optics the image seems worse than on a plain GG. I seem to remember that one view camera manufacturer offered 2 fresnel lenses.... normal one and one for very wide angle lenses.

B.S.Kumar
7-Mar-2016, 17:10
Maybe cleaning the GG with plain water would help. You'd be surprised at the amount of dust and grime that accumulates over the years.

Kumar

Drew Bedo
8-Mar-2016, 07:30
I have respect for the lenses in question. yet I ask: If composing and focusing is such a problem with this lens, why modify the camera? Why not, instead, get a faster lens? You are expecting to spend (some) money on a Fresnel, why not give up a few hundred on an older 5.56 Symmar or other fine optic?

Sure its easy to tell someone to spend more of THEIR money, but replacing the lens with a faster optic solves the problem outright.

Cheers

Vaughn
8-Mar-2016, 07:54
My Wollie 159/12.5 is a POS. Something is wrong with it...unless they are not suppose to be sharp. Using it on 5x7 cured the dark corners I got on the 8x10, but the image is soft.

The Wollie and then my Computar 210/6.3 (which is a sharpy). Negative rephotographed digitally on a light table then inverted...not exactly the best way to compare the negs.

Michael Clark
8-Mar-2016, 08:20
I like the way the 159mm rendered the scene, but the 210 is sharper.

Vaughn
8-Mar-2016, 08:33
Good point, Michael. I'll have to consider it a 'special use' lens. In my series of portraits of my boys in the environment, the Wollie did help me produce one of my favorites...

IanG
8-Mar-2016, 09:03
Had the same problem when I used my 183mm f/18 B&L Protar V on a circa 1910 11x14 Improved Empire State view. The original GG was 100+ years old. When I got my 11x14 Chamonix and put the same 183mm f/18 B&L Protar V on it, I swear the image on the Chamonix's GG was more than double the brightness. Now have a fresnel for the 11x14, but with extra wide angle optics the image seems worse than on a plain GG. I seem to remember that one view camera manufacturer offered 2 fresnel lenses.... normal one and one for very wide angle lenses.

I was checking screens a few years ago an measured the difference between an original Graflex Crown Graphic GGscreen and a new GG screen, there was a 2 stop difference with a fresnel this was 3 stops. I used a meter and also comparative visual evaluation, both matched.

Ian

IanG
8-Mar-2016, 11:24
I was checking screens a few years ago an measured the difference between an original Graflex Crown Graphic GGscreen and a new GG screen, there was a 2 stop difference with a fresnel this was 3 stops. I used a meter and also comparative visual evaluation, both matched.

Ian

It's too late to edit the above, in fact the 3 stop increase in brightness was between the original Graflex screen (which was very clean) and my Wista combo screen/fresnel. The new screen for the Crown Graphic when it had a fresnel fitted to the rear and was 3 stops brighter than the original. That's overall brightness in all cases.

Ian

Michael Clark
8-Mar-2016, 12:39
Good point, Michael. I'll have to consider it a 'special use' lens. In my series of portraits of my boys in the environment, the Wollie did help me produce one of my favorites...
Vaughn, thats a great portrait of your boys. I have 159mm f/9 and its can be a stinker if any flare is present but if careful it works great and has its own signature, like to use it with "ole' Jake" my B&J 5x7 camera.

Scott Davis
8-Mar-2016, 13:39
Although I haven't used it for a while, I have shot with my Wolly (an f12.5 with the purple W 'WoCoated') on my Canham 5x12. I haven't had problems with the corners darkening on the film when stopped down, but they do get soft. It's my recollection that there is quite a bit of sample variation from lens to lens in the 159mm. So it doesn't surprise me that some folks have issues with it and others don't.

ericmaquiling
8-Mar-2016, 20:02
Thanks for all the replies. I do think I have a weird sample. I tried it on my Chamonix 4x5 and it is a little brighter but still it doesn't look sharp at all. But hey, it wasn't expensive and an equivalent +-150mm range is gonna be super beyond my budget!

Ian Gordon Bilson
8-Mar-2016, 20:22
A cheap laser pointer is a useful aid.

ericmaquiling
8-Mar-2016, 20:34
I do the old studio trick of using a magazine or a book or newspaper to focus. If the words are sharp...

Michael Clark
8-Mar-2016, 21:55
When I first bought my 159mm I could not get a sharp image on the ground glass, so I took the lens cells off the shutter and discovered that some one had flipped the inner most lens in the cell. I flipped it right over and its worked fine since then.

Cor
9-Mar-2016, 01:10
That's funny, got exactly the same experience, I later "upgraded" to 165mm Angulon, mainly because the Wolly would also "see" the bed of my Toyo 810M when in portrait mode..

Best,

Cor
When I first bought my 159mm I could not get a sharp image on the ground glass, so I took the lens cells off the shutter and discovered that some one had flipped the inner most lens in the cell. I flipped it right over and its worked fine since then.

Drew Bedo
9-Mar-2016, 12:37
I do the old studio trick of using a magazine or a book or newspaper to focus. If the words are sharp...

That works : I use a retail bar-code panel from some clothing tag or cereal box.

Jim Noel
16-Mar-2016, 11:42
Hi guys,
Can I use a fresnel of some type to see a little better with my Wolly 159mm?
Darn thing is so dark even on a good day

I have an f-18 B&L Protar which I have very little difficulty focusing on a normal sunlit day with my 87 year old eyes. Perhaps those who have problems should have their eyes checked for cataracts. They may find them present, regardless of age.

noface0711
19-Mar-2016, 02:53
Do you have a pointer to fresnels on line? I don't really know what to get/where to get one and what works with ground glass.:confused:

mdarnton
19-Mar-2016, 06:27
I have a selection of things on this page on my various cameras:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=reading+fresnel

You want a thicker one so it won't be floppy---something like this: http://www.amazon.com/Magnifier-Projection-Cz-Garden-Supply/dp/B00IITFX02/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1458393769&sr=8-11&keywords=reading+fresnel

They're not too hard to cut down to size if you have tools. I ran mine through my bandsaw, then planed the edges. If you're just going to hold it in place, that won't matter.

John Kasaian
9-Apr-2016, 09:34
Do you have a pointer to fresnels on line? I don't really know what to get/where to get one and what works with ground glass.:confused:
If it's a laser pointer you're asking about, grocery/drug Stores have them for teasing dogs and cats. Cheap. Great fun, too, if you have a dog or cat.

premortho
13-Jan-2017, 15:58
My Wollie 159/12.5 is a POS. Something is wrong with it...unless they are not suppose to be sharp. Using it on 5x7 cured the dark corners I got on the 8x10, but the image is soft.

The Wollie and then my Computar 210/6.3 (which is a sharpy). Negative rephotographed digitally on a light table then inverted...not exactly the best way to compare the negs.If the Wollensak is the one on the left, sign me up. The picture on the left is art. The one on the right is what we wanted for newspaper pics.

Drew Bedo
14-Jan-2017, 06:34
Not much help from me: Having the same problem as my eyes aged. My current lens inventory, all mid '90s era, olpen to f/5.6 so I can see to focus. Only the 90mm Nikkor is f/8 and I wish it was the newer f/5.6.

Lenses of this generation don't seem to be all that expensive now, so keep your eyes wide open for a good buy (OK that was kind of a pun)