View Full Version : Unusual Vitax Designation / Size

31-Jan-2009, 08:06
I just got a second Wollensak Vitax and now discover my first one is not what I thought.
The first is the brass one in the pic below. It's 4 1/4 inch diameter always made me think it was a number 5, according to the 1913 catalog.

But yesterday I got a number 4, and it's smaller. It's 3 1/5 in diameter and it's 13.5 inch focal confirms it's a number 4.

I went and looked again at the brass one, it reads "Vitax Portrait Lens No 2." It also has a 13.5 inch focal length (measured from studio shutter to ground glass). Did Wollensak reduce the size of their Vitax petzvals at some point? The configuration seems changed too, the FL is shorter than the later 4 1/2 in diameter Vitaxes. In short, the brass No. 2 is the largest listed for diameter, but middle for FL.


Darren Kruger
31-Jan-2009, 11:56
I think the Vitax was a lens design they purchased from another company. I see reference to a f3.8 Royal Portrait Lens in the 1906-07 catalog (http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/wollensak_10.html) with catalog numbers of 1, 2 & 3 (see image (http://www.cameraeccentric.com/img/info/wollensak_10/wollensak_10_19.jpg).) In the 1912-13 catalog (http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/wollensak_9.html), the lens has been renamed Vitax but still has the 1,2 & 3 catalog numbers (see image (http://www.cameraeccentric.com/img/info/wollensak_9/wollensak_9_15.jpg).)

I think the catalog page you included in your post is actually from the 1919 catalog (http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/wollensak_13.html). watch out as some of the dates that are displayed in the upper left column are wrong once you are looking at the catalogs.


26-Nov-2014, 09:19
doing some math here... While waiting for Vitax No 2 to arrive... ;)

if we assume diameter of the lens to be reported right for both old No2 and newer No4

older catalogue: 13 / 3.5= 3.71
newer catalogue 13.5 / 3.5 = 3.85

so basically they did change something so lens became smaller a tad, but also darker a tad.

Time to fine miller in Dallas to make metal board for mounting this on C-1 ;)

That said i have front element and iris from No5... Wonder if i can play swaparoo and see how it plays out.

(PS: i know its an old thread. But i thought i might not be only one after Garrett who is curious about various No. in Vitax)

Jim Galli
26-Nov-2014, 09:47
If you look in enough old catalogs I think you find the early numbering allowed for 1 - 2 - 3 and the later numbering was 1 thru 5. So that allows for some confusion 100 years hence.

26-Nov-2014, 10:36
Looks like later is 3-5 (1-5 is for Vesta), Jim. At least according to catalogues that guys posted in links above. Which makes #3 odd duck (either largest or smallest). #2 became #4.

Anyway. We shall see... I hope for the score ;)

Mark Sawyer
26-Nov-2014, 11:15
It was 1-3 for the Royal Portrait, (later re-named the Vitax) in 1906-'07:

http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g139/Owen21k/vitaxroyal0607_zps6acd8cc0.jpg (http://s55.photobucket.com/user/Owen21k/media/vitaxroyal0607_zps6acd8cc0.jpg.html)

By 1919, It was the Vitax, and the numbers had changed to 3-5:

http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g139/Owen21k/vitax1919_zpsa6b0db61.jpg (http://s55.photobucket.com/user/Owen21k/media/vitax1919_zpsa6b0db61.jpg.html)

I'm not sure when the name or number changes happened, but apparently, the old system continued on with the new name for at least a while. (Anyone know the exact year of the number or name change?)

By 1935, There was also a size 7, which was the extension lens that converted the 16-inch f/3.8 to a 20-inch f/5, sort of an extra-long Vesta with a diffusing option:

http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g139/Owen21k/vitax1935_zps18149e3d.jpg (http://s55.photobucket.com/user/Owen21k/media/vitax1935_zps18149e3d.jpg.html)

(Note: All from Seth's Camera Eccentric site.)

26-Nov-2014, 11:34
And Sergi, Jim, and Mark - I guess we're the Vitax aficionados. I bid on that No. 2 also....you beat me!

26-Nov-2014, 12:31
And Sergi, Jim, and Mark - I guess we're the Vitax aficionados. I bid on that No. 2 also....you beat me!
Well i was bound to win at least once.. i kept trying to get one for reasonable price for about 2 years :) And its almost my birthday :)