View Full Version : Verito DF Versar question!

5-Mar-2008, 19:06
OK all ye Verito enthusiasts out there, I have a dumb question for you! Last summer I acquired a Wollensak "Verito Diffused Focus 11 1/2 in. f/4" portrait lens (from the usual source :D), or so it says on the mount surrounding the front element! On the glossy black barrel, it states "Versar Portrait & View F-6 11x14". It's mounted in a "Studio Shutter" which appears not to be too functional. As far as I can tell, the diaphragm blades are also supposed to serve as shutter blades, which might be okay except they don't close completely. There's a brass stud on the rear of the shutter that must be shifted to restore the diaphragm to full open. I've had no experience with shutters of this kind; it may or may not be repairable, but at worst I have here a nice barrel portrait lens. The optics are exceptionally well preserved -- crystal clear and lovely.

BUT - the diaphragm starts at f/6, not f/4. And I'm quite puzzled by the information on the side of the barrel. Portrait lenses of less than 12 inches EFL don't normally cover 11 x 14 inch format. F-6 may or may not be a model designation. I can't find a serial number on the lens barrel, though there is a 4-digit number engraved on the rim of the shutter.

Help me out, you Verito experts! Does this lens really cover 11 x 14, even at portrait distances? If not, what do you say about the discrepancy 'twixt barrel and front-element info? When I held this baby up to the front of my Century WP, the gg view was so SOFT I couldn't really tell if anything was in focus or not. Do you suppose someone stuck the wrong front group onto this shutter, or what? The whole unit LOOKS rather well-preserved, especially the optics, as I said. (Wish I had my darkroom set up so I could see what happens on film!) :confused:

5-Mar-2008, 19:28
I'm no expert on this lens so can't advise you on your specific questions, but if you want the shutter repaired, I may be able to help. I was given one of these lenses about a year ago with the same shutter symptoms and had Carol Miller take a look at it. It now works perfectly. You can contact her at www.flutotscamerarepair.com

5-Mar-2008, 19:41
When I held this baby up to the front of my Century WP, the gg view was so SOFT I couldn't really tell if anything was in focus or not.

I just tried it again, at night, on my Century WP using an enlarger lens as a loupe and I can confirm that there IS a very nice detailed image there after all! :o So part of the problem was my old eyes (I now need separate glasses for computer screen and normal reading, both fairly powerful; my accommodation's just gone I guess.), but I can now confirm that at least it covers whole plate just fine and there's lots of detail there. But 11 1/2 inches . . . 11 x 14 . . . portrait lens? That just doesn't quite compute, for me. Were the Verito series designed for wide field coverage? C'mon, Verito experts, help a guy out! ;)

5-Mar-2008, 20:00
The Verito and the Versar were two different lenses, both made by Wollensak. Check the info at www.cameraeccentric.com for details. The Verito was an f/4 design for the majority of focal lengths; the Versar was an f/6 design. The 11x14 Versar had a focal lenth of 16 1/2 inches. The 11 1/2 inch Verito was intended for 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 coverage. Someone has replaced the Verito glass in the Versar barrel in your lens. Without knowing more about it, it's only a guess as to whether only one cell or both were exchanged. Both the Verito and the Versar were convertible lenses and it's likely that the rear cell of your lens is from one or the other lens. Therefore it's possible that it may be more usable with the front cell removed. The focal length will be longer than marked. (If it's the Verito rear cell, it should be 20" FL; if it's the Versar rear cell, it should be around 32" FL.) The f/stop settings won't be accurate, of course. But that can be compensated for.

Wayne R. Scott
5-Mar-2008, 20:24
Here are my 2 cents. The Verito f4 11 1/2" was marketed as covering a full plate 6 1/2"x8 1/2". The Versa F6 11x14 was an 18" lens.

I suppose it is possible that the front element of the Versa was replaced with the front element from a Verito. The elements are close in size, 3" for the Verito and 2 7/8" for the Versa. Stranger things have been known to happen from "THAT" place.


P.S. I see that I am a very slow typist, wfwhitaker beat me to it.

5-Mar-2008, 20:57
Back focus appears to be in the neighbourhood of 11 1/2 inches, give or take. And, as I said, there seems to be a credible amount of groundglass image detail. So I guess it's a question of testing the best, with both elements combined first, and then with the front and rear elements individually. You get what you get! I think Will and Wayne are probably correct. It's definitely a Versar barrel, but the front group is a Verito 11 1/2 inch f/4. Of course, the back group may be idem. Since neither group has a serial number there's no easy way to tell. The funny thing is that both the "Verito" ID and the "Versar" ID are on the front element assembly, which looks not to have been tampered with in any obvious way. Same finish, same degree of wear for all parts of the front assembly. The whole in rather nice condition but for the dysfunctional studio shutter. Front and rear element barrels unscrew very smoothly from the shutter. It looks like the front 1/4 inch of the barrel should unscrew from the rest, but that won't turn easily and I'd rather not disturb it and risk decentreing of the front element. There are some cryptic figures scratched on the back of the shutter: "2443 PM Co" and "2411-24 LR" and about 270 degrees around from that, "5B". None of which sheds any light on the situation for me.

Photographic tests are the only real answer. Nice to know it's convertible, anyway.

Jim Galli
5-Mar-2008, 21:07
Somebody had a Verito in barrel and a Versar in the shutter and made a swapperoo. That's all. It's a Verito. Somewhere there's a 15 or 16" Versar floating around in a barrel and no one knows what the heck it is because the Versar elements were blank. All the info was on the barrel which you have. I've got a 12" Versar just like that. Someone put it in a sweet Alphax shutter and the barrels with the name are lost.

5-Mar-2008, 21:18
Verito or Versar, either way, you have a great lens. Flutot's camera is excellent at repairing studio shutters.

Mark Sawyer
5-Mar-2008, 22:24
(If it's the Verito rear cell, it should be 20" FL; if it's the Versar rear cell, it should be around 32" FL.)

Will has the key there. You probably have mismatched elements (in which case it's neither a Verito or a Versar), but you may have all Verito elements which somehow ended up in a Versar barrel, (which could mean the spacing is a bit off).

I think you have a Versito...

6-Mar-2008, 05:25
As far as I can tell, the diaphragm blades are also supposed to serve as shutter blades, which might be okay except they don't close completely.

Back to the beginning, I wondered about this sentance. I don't think the shutter and the diaphragm are supposed to be the same. Is the diaphragm missing?

6-Mar-2008, 07:15
The blades in a Studio shutter do serve as both shutter and diaphragm. As the lens is stopped down, the shutter opens only as far as the selected stop. It's common for Studio shutters to be slow and/or sticky. The material used for the blades seems to be particularly susceptible to dirt and gunk. Typically a dirty Studio will open all the way, but will be resistant to closing, either by the "open/close" lever or by stopping down. A cleaning will solve that and they are relatively easy to service owing to their simplicity. But caution should be used because the blade material is fragile. These shutters have been around the better part of a century. As mentioned earlier, Carol is a very good resource for this sort of thing.

6-Mar-2008, 18:06
You are, of course, absolutely correct.
When I got home and checked, I was prompted to look at my studio shutter on a Gundlach I have and discovered the sprocket on one the leaves was broken which was why it was being left behind when the others opened.
I was able to fashion a repair from the sprocket of a piece of 35mm film and contact cement it on the broken leaf to make a fully functional leaf.
Many thanks for your good deed for the day.

6-Mar-2008, 20:54
I expect Jim's correct and someone just did a swap of mounts. The back focus seems about right.

Yep, I guess this isn't the only shutter job I have for Carol Miller, either. There are several shutters on the shelf here that badly need her skilled attention. Guess I should get busy and contact the lady!