View Full Version : 15 Inch Tele-Optar...any info, experience, opinion?

Drew Bedo
14-Sep-2008, 13:52
I am currently using an early Zone VI (Wista Mfg) in 4x5 with about 12'' max bellows draw. My current focal lengths are: 90mm, 150mm and 210mm. I am interested in a Wollensak 15 inch Tele-Optar (380mm). I am aware of the issues of weight and coverage. So then; What else mis there to be considered?

Gene McCluney
14-Sep-2008, 17:30
As you said, weight and coverage. You should have plenty of bellows for this "tele" design lens for infinity and somewhat closer, just don't plan on doing much shift or tilt, particularly tilt of the front standard. The Tele-Optar is probably in a big shutter...like a Copal 3 or such..(size comparison)..make sure your lensboard is big enough to handle the lens/shutter. I have had pretty good results using "telephoto" design LF lenses on my field cameras, and have several. They really extend the versatility of these "short bellows" cameras.

Heavyweight lenses on light field cameras with lightweight front standards can cause undue vibration causing fuzzy photos. Just a caution.

14-Sep-2008, 19:57
I use one in Ilex shutter for my Crown, and one in barrel for the Graflex. They are both excellently sharp, with great coverage. But even though they're telephotos, they will only focus to about 20' on these cameras. Great for landscapes, not really workable for portraits.

14-Sep-2008, 20:04
i use one in a barrel on my speed graphic,
it is a nice sharp lens.

Bryan Lemasters
14-Sep-2008, 20:39
Sold mine about a year ago. They were usually either a barrel mount or Alphax shutter. Weight is an issue, coverage should not be. There is enough IC for 5x7 with a bit to spare, IIRC. Single coated so color could be just a bit flat at times, but sharp.


Ernest Purdum
15-Sep-2008, 10:25
Be aware that trying to use front tilt or swing with a telephoto can drive you batty.

al olson
15-Sep-2008, 11:33
I have a 15 inch Wollensak Raptar Telephoto f/5.6 lens that I use on my 8x10 camera. It is mounted into an Alphax shutter and is probably identical to the Graflex-branded Optar. It produces a nice crisp, contrasty image, but has little room for lensboard movements.

This lens is bulky and weighs in at over 3# with lensboard. The lens board requires a 65 mm hole for the Alphax shutter. It is a true telephoto and I estimate the distance from aperture to film plane to be around 9" when focused at infinity. It works great on my Arkay Orbit but I would not consider mounting it on my Linhof Technika IV.

Drew Bedo
16-Sep-2008, 06:10
Thanks everyone...maybe I'll put it on my 8x10 Eastman View 2-D.

Kevin Crisp
16-Sep-2008, 09:44
Drew: Great lens, I use it on 4X5 and 5X7. With everything tightened down your Zone VI (if it is the Wisner-designed model) can handle it. It was, after all, made for the folding Graphic cameras. I had always assumed it would not cover 8X10 but have not tried it.