View Full Version : Optar 135mm f/4.7 w/Graphex shutter

13-Feb-2018, 10:21
I found this little gem and grabbed it as it came with the lense hood and lense cap — all in an old film can :) A few questions:
1. Will it cover 4x5?
2. Will it fit Copal 0 lens board (sorry don’t have one to check).
3. If you have used one, how did it perform?




Thank goodness it came with the threaded shutter retaining ring I was so excited I didn’t check till now! Lens fever :)


13-Feb-2018, 10:43
This was for many years a standard lens for the 4x5 Crown Graphic. It is fairly pedestrian 4 elements in 3 groups, Tessar design.
1) Yes it covers 4x5 straight on.
2) Yes, the shutter will fit in a hole intended for a copal #0.
3) I have two. It is my most used lens (I'm a Crown Graphic user) It performs about as expected for a 60 year old Tessar. I like 'em a lot. Others poo-poo them. YMMV.

13-Feb-2018, 10:59
I second what BradS says.
I like them, been happy with them. Covers 4x5 fine even with some movements. I recently acquired a similar aged Zeiss and looking at the negs under magnification side-by-side I can't tell the difference.

Mark Sampson
13-Feb-2018, 11:43
The lens, like the shutter, was made by Wollensak, OEM'd for Graflex. Standard fitting on 4x5 Speed and Crown Graphics after WW2. A very good-quality, if under-rated lens. Have fun!

13-Feb-2018, 11:49
An OK lens!!!

Some pros I worked for wanted a "landscape" lens (after using modern lenses in the studio), and were pleasantly surprised by the (they said) "old world look" they got...

Shade them well, but don't expect a big IC, but are pretty with B/W handled well...

Steve K

13-Feb-2018, 16:13
Thanks to all. Love all the history and experiences shared. I appreciate that. Sounds like it’s usable for the 4x5 hiking camera I’m putting together for landscapes. The imperfect character works for me and ads charm. Also, the shade will prove useful to reduce flare. Shutter sounds very snappy.

13-Feb-2018, 16:26
I think you'll enjoy it for that purpose. Here's an example....hand held, range finder focused, crown graphic....

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4123/4854830541_7b04f78be2_b.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/8p1gYR)
Bodega Bay (https://flic.kr/p/8p1gYR) by Brad S (https://www.flickr.com/photos/bradleykeith/), on Flickr

13-Feb-2018, 16:54
I too have had many good experiences with that lens.

Jim Andrada
13-Feb-2018, 20:07
+1 - works well. Better than I expected it to be.

13-Feb-2018, 22:41
Love the camping pic.

Sounds like many of you have fondness for this lens.

13-Feb-2018, 22:42
I just saw a strange mark. “Made in USA”

John Layton
14-Feb-2018, 03:46
I still have my 4x5 Crown/135 Optar combo (my first LF camera and lens)...and this thread inspires me to dust it off and take it for a spin!

Ivan J. Eberle
15-Feb-2018, 16:05
At normal handheld speeds Graflex/Rapax shutters usually work okay. At slower speeds the escapements tend to hang up or get rather sluggish as these lenses age (they are over 50 years old, after all). Often the shutters can often be brought back to life using a "Ronsonol bath" (once common lighter fluid, still available in tobacconist shops).

15-Feb-2018, 18:47
Remember to wear your fedora with a press card ;)

15-Feb-2018, 18:55
Thanks for the tips regarding the shutter. At this point mine seems to work remarkably well, given the age. This lens reminds me of my father, knowing my interest, taking me to see the equipment of a local veteran newspaper photographer who was retiring — all 4x5 press camera gear! His latest technology was a Honeywell “potato masher” flash ;)