PDA

View Full Version : Hope springs eternal



Paul Fitzgerald
10-Jun-2008, 19:28
Voigtlander returned from the grave a few years ago and now Wollensak is back. :eek:

It appears SurplusShed had bought Wollensak and is now selling Brand New products with the Wollensak trade name.

Wollensak Telescope eyepiece (New) (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=110260056343&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=001)

It's a small start but a step in the right direction. We can always hope and wish them well, Wollensak had one hell of a catalog.

Just had to share.

John Kasaian
10-Jun-2008, 19:34
I was able to get a Wollensak made element for a home made lens from Surplus Shed---nice stuff & just like new!:) It's too bad they don't list any veritos though :(

Pat Hilander
10-Jun-2008, 22:11
Sorry to ruin the fun ( I wish they were manufacturing lenses again!) but I think Surplus Shed is just selling new-old-stock that they bought and not newly made product.

Gene McCluney
10-Jun-2008, 22:40
Well, the text of the ad would indicate it is part of a "new" series, and carries a Wollensak factory warranty. It is multicoated.

Here is an excerpt of the text:

"This design and others that will be shortly available in this EHQ series were selected for their incredible combination of performance and value. You'll be blown away with the views and performance of this Wollensak eyepiece. In addition, each comes with a full 90 day Wollensak warranty (return it for a refund, exchange, or credit (your option) less shipping if the eyepiece doesn't meet your requirements for any reason. Of course if you physically damage it, it cannot be returned). We believe this is the best eyepiece warranty in the industry.

New/Unused with end cap and screw down eyepiece container.

Wollensak quality optics since 1899."

Mark Sampson
11-Jun-2008, 04:51
Be that as it may, Wollensak Optical in Rochester, N.Y. went out of business in 1972 or so. The factory building is still there, with the sign still on it, but there's no listing in the Rochester phone book. Perhaps someone bought the trademark and is making, or marketing, optics under the Wollensak name; but it's not the original company. Odd, really... it would be sort of like reviving Studebaker as a name for your new car.

j.e.simmons
11-Jun-2008, 05:23
Odd, really... it would be sort of like reviving Studebaker as a name for your new car.

Except Wollensak V-8s didn't have an aluminum front timing cover that leaked oil constantly, nor an oil pressure relief valve that clogged and allowed only a couple of pounds of oil pressure at idle. Of course, you couldn't put a Cadillac intake manifold and a Carter 4-barrel on a Wollensak, either.
juan

Paul Fitzgerald
11-Jun-2008, 07:29
"Be that as it may, Wollensak Optical in Rochester, N.Y. went out of business in 1972 or so."

Yes, something to do with Stag-flation, double digit unemployment, wage freezes, price freezes and taking the dollar off the Gold standard. With luxury toys, most people equate price with quality so Wollensak was screwed to the floor. Oh well.

"The factory building is still there, with the sign still on it, but there's no listing in the Rochester phone book. Perhaps someone bought the trademark and is making, or marketing, optics under the Wollensak name; but it's not the original company. Odd, really... it would be sort of like reviving Studebaker as a name for your new car."

There was a blurb on SurplusShed's website some years ago that they had bought Wollensak lock, stock and barrel, including the design books.

Let's see, Betax or Alphax shutters in sizes 5 & 6 would be sell well.

Paul Fitzgerald
11-Jun-2008, 07:31
"it would be sort of like reviving Studebaker as a name for your new car"

No, 'Oldsmobile' just sounds better.

Mark Sampson
11-Jun-2008, 07:46
In truth, Wollensak didn't make 'luxury toys'; they made professional tools that the market moved away from. LF photography was in a steep decline by 1970. Japanese-made 35mm cameras had taken over the professional and advanced-amateur markets, for good reasons. Kodak and B&L, to name just two companies, had already quit making LF cameras, lenses and shutters. Graflex (one of Wollensak's major customers) was about to give up making the Super graphic and the XL, in '73. The soft-focus lenses people prize in 2008 were already long gone by then, as well; discontinued long before that. And hey, I like Studebakers...

cyrus
11-Jun-2008, 08:42
The new "Voigtlander" (actually, Consina) is not bad and a credit to the venerable name -- but that's all it is, a name which can be bought and sold.

Gene McCluney
11-Jun-2008, 10:51
The new "Voigtlander" (actually, Consina) is not bad and a credit to the venerable name -- but that's all it is, a name which can be bought and sold.

It's a little more than that. The Voigtlander rangefinder mount lenses have some design elements that pay tribute to the classic Voigtlander optics such as the Heliar. The owner of Cosina is a camera enthusiast and it shows in the products he produces.

Paul Fitzgerald
11-Jun-2008, 19:26
"In truth, Wollensak didn't make 'luxury toys'; they made professional tools that the market moved away from. LF photography was in a steep decline by 1970."

Not to bust them BUT the crash was back in 1958 - 59 with a major bust-out in the magazine market. It seems that 'married with children' didn't have discretionary spending money for magazines. This left tons of photogs unemployed and scrambling to play free-lance. They moved from Speed-Graphics to Rollei TLRs and then 35mm to save money on film and processing, 'good enough' became good enough.

By 1970, LF barely qualified as a niche market, it has come a long way back. The sky has been falling more than once. :D

Mark Sampson
12-Jun-2008, 05:03
Where did you get the idea that photographers went to smaller formats to save money on film? Film and processing have always been billable expenses, not absorbed by the photographer.
Styles changed, smaller cameras and films became a lot better, and the market was demanding pictures that were impossible to do with large format. Look at a LIFE magazine from 1948, and one from 1968, and the changes in style will be obvious. That's why Wollensak, a company whose product line was stuck in the past, went under. They were trying to sell '39 Hudsons in an era of Mustangs, Impala-SS's, and VW Beetles. (BTW, many of the Wollensak employees who lost their jobs just moved a few blocks west and went to work for Kodak.)

EdWorkman
12-Jun-2008, 14:43
SS does cater to telescope folks, and I've noticed lately they were assembling? eyepieces lately.
But for real LF work have you seen this one:
WOLLENSAK 160MM F/4.5 RAPTAR LENS SET
Item No: L3096
Price: $25.00

The caveat is that they can't supply the correct spacing for this pair of elements.
Could someone here tell us what the spacing is and which shutter will achieve it?

seawolf66
12-Jun-2008, 15:43
SS does cater to telescope folks, and I've noticed lately they were assembling? eyepieces lately.
But for real LF work have you seen this one:
WOLLENSAK 160MM F/4.5 RAPTAR LENS SET
Item No: L3096
Price: $25.00

The caveat is that they can't supply the correct spacing for this pair of elements.
Could someone here tell us what the spacing is and which shutter will achieve it?

Try the cameraeccentric.com web site for wolensak lens information there is a booklet on the raptar lens there:

EdWorkman
12-Jun-2008, 17:38
I found 162 mm Raptar and enlarging Raptars there, but no 160mm. The last catalog appears to be 1957, and since these cells are probly late production [1960s??] perhaps a later catalog will show it.

John MacManus
20-Jun-2008, 14:21
Hi Ed:

Last month I couldnít resist the temptation of the Rapter lens set you mentioned from Surplus Shed for $25. I donít know what shutter they fit in and couldnít find anything useful in the manuals on Camera Eccentric. The projected image of a far window on a white wall is very crisp.

As for spacing, I have been trying with an optical bench (the double-rod model also from SS) to find what is best. I have found that a clear image is formed when the spacing is 0mm (touching). A surprise to me is that the space can be increased even to 20mm with no loss of image quality that I can see. I am in the process of finding some plumbing pipe to mount them and take some real photographs.

Donít resist temptation Ö best wishes Ö John

EdWorkman
20-Jun-2008, 16:43
Thanks John
Google revealed some answers, I think, about the elements screwing directly into something like "#3 Alphax"
To seal my fate, what image circle did you find?
regards

Paul Fitzgerald
20-Jun-2008, 21:10
Happy, happy, joy, joy. :D

I did order a Wollensak 12.5mm eyepiece in 2" mount and their service was INSTANT. Nice piece, well made, and seriously fine optics. 9 elements, multi coated, ultra clarity, wide field, nice eye relief, yadda, yada, yada. It is a very nice choice if you want one.

And what does that have to do with Large Format Photography?

Nothing, expect that I am obsessive, compulsive, anal retentive and completely relentless. So I mounted it into a flat panel that fits a Graphloc back and checked some lenses by focusing on a stand of trees a 1/4 mile away.

When I can see the trunks and limbs, it's not broken.
When I can see the branches and twigs, it's OK.
When I can see needles and bark, it's sharp.
When I can see the lichen and sap, it's really sharp.
When I can trace the veins in the leaves of the tree behind it, it's sharp enough.

Surprising how many lenses can easily out-resolve film. :eek:
Actually, it's never the lens's fault. Now to do a proper lens test series on T Max 100. Which is the sharpest 360mm?

John MacManus
21-Jun-2008, 14:09
Ed, wonít a #3 Alphax shutter cost you way more than the $25 for the Raptar elements? If it is of use to you deciding on a shutter, the diameter of the thread area of both front and rear elements is 45.46mm.

To answer your question about image circle: I donít have the elements mounted yet so I donít know. If I hold the elements together with tape, I canít definitely fill a 4X5 frame with a crisp image of a window at a meter. How do you measure image circle without mounting?

Go on, you know you want to have Ďem Ö cheers Ö J