View Full Version : Fungus or Separation??? 162mm Wollensak Raptar

Jonathan Bujndick
19-Jan-2002, 17:36
I just purchased a 162mm Wollensak Raptar on Ebay. The lens was described as " never used." Indeed it was as if it just left the factory. Not a mark on it, a nd with the original caps!! The front element was perfect, coating and all. Th e shutter works fine at all speeds, although I have not had it tested. I then r emoved the rear lens quard, and my heart almost stoped. I saw what looks like th e residue of water spots. When you let the light hit it right it almost looks l ike a miror. Semi circular, multiple locations, and worst of all, right in the center. It dos not resemble the spider patterns described as fungus, but as I h ave never seen either seperation or fungus before, I can not identify. I have u ploaded a scan of the lens, and you can see the fault, but the scan does not sho w it very well. If you look closely you can see what I am talking about.


(1) Is it fungus, or seperation? (2) I just received the lens today, so I could contact the seller and see if I c ould return it. No return mentioned in the ebay listing. (3) If no return, would it be worth sending to some one like S.K. Grimes for a c leaning?

Any help would be appreciated.


Jonathan Bujndick
19-Jan-2002, 17:39
I forgot to mention that it is on an internal surface of the lens. Not something that I could clean off an outter surface.

Michael S. Briggs
19-Jan-2002, 18:43
Since the internal defects are reflective, it is probably seperation. You are seeing light reflect from an air-glass interface that isn't supposed to be there.

How else did the seller described the lens other than "never used"? If they stated or clearly implied that it was in like new condition, then the lens was misrepresented. Defects effecting use should be mentioned and, if defects are present, any words that would make a reasonable person believe that they are no defects are dishonest. If you honestly believe that the lens was misrepresented, than you should try to return it whether or not the auction text described it as returnable, and even if the auction text said that returns are not allowed. Sellers don't have a legal right to misdescribe something to get extra money.

To try return it, I suggest starting with a polite email message, suggesting that the seller made an honest mistake and that you would like a refund of the bid amount but not shipping. The couple of times that I have tried this it has worked. If that doesn't work, and you really believe the item to be misrepresented, in a second email either hint or threaten negative feedback if a return is not accepted. However, you run the risk of retailatory negative feedback. (For a really expensive item, and a seller that you now think to be dishonest, you would have to consider the risk that if you mailed the item back, you would never see your refund money.)

The cost of repair will probably be more than makes sense for this lens. You can always ask for a repair estimate.

Jonathan Bujndick
19-Jan-2002, 20:23
I would like to add that I don't think the person intentionally misrepresented the item. I was listed in "Lens, other" not the large format lens section. It was misnamed as a "Wollensak Rapax lens", so the seller is not very familar with older large format stuff.

This is the discription as it read on the auction.

"This lens is a 162mm 4.5 for a large pro camera.It is new never used from the 50's.It fits in an opening of 1 1/2" aprox.Buyer pays postage and insurance( if Desired).Payment by money order, Paypal or check( there may be a delay for clearance).Please contact me within 3 days after auction. Payment is due within 10 days or you risk losing the item and neg. feedback."

I could tell from the photo which lens it was, but the photo was only of the front. I may just forward a link to the photo to Steves Grimes, as someone suggested, and see what he thinks. If it is separation, I would ask for a refund.

19-Jan-2002, 20:43
Those four bright spots, and the vague smudge that runs through them? Dirt. Crud. Unscrew the rear cell and see if you can clean them off. Don't do anything heroic.

Not fungus, lacks the structure.

Not separations, you'd get Newton's rings from them or (look at roughly 6 o'clock on the lens, at the edge) dullness. That last thing could be separation, but because of position you shouldn't worry about it.

Thinking of separations, I have a 15 mm converter for a 25/1.4 Cine Ektar II that has spectacular ones. Sorry I can't show it to you.

If the spots won't clean off, then explain to the vendor that you're sorry, but the lens doesn't seem to have been as represented.



Jonathan Bujndick
19-Jan-2002, 22:11

I unscrewed the rear element, and there is nothing on the inner surface of the lens. It is clean as can be. So, what ever this is, it is in between the cemented elements.

Question: If I found another 162mm Raptar with a good rear element, could I just unscrew it and replace the "bad" rear element on the one I have now?

20-Jan-2002, 01:24
So, you did not mention what you paid.

Are you concerned because you think that you might have paid too much or because you expected to pick up a gem from an unsuspecting seller for a song because he may not know the value of large format gear?

John Hicks
20-Jan-2002, 01:38
Looks like separation to me.

Return the lens. No way is a Raptar worth the cost of getting it recemented un less you do it yourself.

Jonathan Bujndick
20-Jan-2002, 01:58

I'm not concerned that I paid too much, and of course I'm looking for a bargin. All I wanted from the forum was some help identifying the fault, and after that could it be fixed at a reasonable price, or did others think I might be able to return it. Honest mistakes happen, and I don't think anyone was trying to pull a fast one. I mentioned how the item was listed to emphasize that it most likely was a honest mistake.

20-Jan-2002, 02:09

Buying from eBay is dicey at best. And getting a refund sometimes can be more trouble than it's worth. From looking at the pics of the lens, I'd say don't worry about it - go shoot some film, and I'd be surprised if this affected the outcome at all.

20-Jan-2002, 20:45
<Question: If I found another 162mm Raptar with a good rear element, could I just unscrew it and replace the "bad" rear element on the one I have now? >

Don't see why not.

Pete Andrews
21-Jan-2002, 06:46
It's separation. The small area affected probably won't make that much difference to the results from the lens.

J. P. Mose
21-Jan-2002, 17:23

If you decide that you have your heart set on this lens and want to re-cement it (whether it makes economic sense or not), I would contact Steve Grimes at: www.skgrimes.com

I had a 190mm Ektar (auto style for Super D Graflex) with a major separation between the two rear elements and Steve re-cemented the lenses. It's as good as new. His work is outstanding....I have never heard any complaints! I believe the subject 162mm lens is a Tessar type design (same or similar to the 190mm Ektar that I had repaired) which can repaired. Good luck.

J. P. Mose

Jonathan Bujndick
22-Apr-2002, 00:59
For those that read this in the future, I sent the lens to Steve Grimes to have the rear element repaired. It came back fast, at a reasonable price, and looking like brand new!! Some mentioned that the lens was not worth the cost of the repair, but I disagree. 203mm image circle, small, light, and very sharp! I look forward to many years of service from this lens, and the total cost of purchase, and repair was less than $200. Thanks for all the help.

All the best. Jonathan