View Full Version : Keep the Fujinar or get the Wollensak lens repaired

2-Apr-2010, 12:24
Hi all, this is my first posting here and I apologize for not participated before this post. I'm just hoping to get some opinions on these two lenses. I have very little experience with large format, but I'd like to remedy that. I have a 4x5 B&J press camera and a 4x5 Calumet monorail. My intended uses are architectural and landscape. Portrait would be nice but architectural is what I'd like to focus on most.

I took my Wollensak/Rapax 135mm lens into my local camera repair shop for a CLA. Slow speeds were.... glacial. He offers me a Fujinar-W, 150mm f/6.3-f/64, Seikosha-slv lens for just a bit more on a trade. Tells me to take it for a test drive and then decide. I have it, but the lens board on it is just ever so slightly too thick for my camera. I'll get that swopped for my old lens board tomorrow.

My question, is this Fujinar-W lens worth $150 on a trade in? The lens itself looks great. I'd say at least a 9, you don't even see any wear marks on the shutter blades, and when you look at the glass it's nice and clear. It's a nice looking lens in my limited experienced opinion. The repair on the 135mm would be just under $100.

Google didn't reveal anything for what I tried searching for.

Thanks in advance.

2-Apr-2010, 12:36
I think for your use (architecture), the 150mm would be a better lens -- based of the image circle (it would allow for more movements). The only trouble is that I am not familiar enough with the Fujinar-W 150/6.3 design to know for sure (I am more familiar with the Fujinon-W 150/5.6).

I have found no reference to a Fujinar-W 150/6.3. Only for the Fujinon-W 150/6.3 (which typically have less coverage than the 150/5.6).


Jason Greenberg Motamedi
2-Apr-2010, 12:39
The 150/6.3 Fujinar-W is more or less the same as the 150/6.3 Fujinon-W, and is an excellent lens, but not for your purposes. It has a pretty small image circle, not nearly big enough for architecture. It is great for backpacking since it is so small. Of course, the Wolly doesn't have any more...

2-Apr-2010, 13:10
Thanks for the replies. I'm assuming that I'll want a lens that allows for decent rise and fall, but I'm too green behind the ears to know for sure. I guess I should mention the other lenses I have and you can inform me if I'm anywhere near where I need to be.

The lens that came with the B&J press camera is an ILEX No. 3, Acme Synchro 6" lens, Paragon Anastigmat f/4.5-f/32. This lens board does not work on the Calumet camera.

The second lens that came with the Calumet (the first being the Rapax shutter) is an ILEX No. 3 Synchro (doesn't look like the other ILEX No. 3, but that's just looks right) ILEX Calumet Caltar 215mm f/6.3-f/45. This lens board does not fit on the B&J camera.

Thanks again.

Dan Fromm
2-Apr-2010, 13:56
According to Kerry Thalmann -- see http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/mid-rang.htm -- the 150/6.3 Fujinar-W is a tessar type. f/6.3 tessars cover at least 60 degrees, so your prospect should cover at least 173 mm. Not a lot if you're serious about using much shift or rise. The Wolly is an f/4.7 tessar type that barely covers 4x5. Of the two, the Fujinar would be preferable, but there are better lenses for your purposes. Price is the issue.

The 6 1/2" Paragon is another fast tessar type, should cover its focal length + 10%.

The Ilex Caltar is another slow tessar type, should cover around 250 mm.

Lens boards can be obtained or, often, made so shouldn't be a major consideration.

2-Apr-2010, 14:25
So to clarify, for the sake of movements you're saying that the 6" lens is the best. Hmm, not a great focal length for what I had in mind.

Thanks for the replies. I think I may just get the repair on the 135mm lens.

Bob Salomon
2-Apr-2010, 14:48
So to clarify, for the sake of movements you're saying that the 6" lens is the best. Hmm, not a great focal length for what I had in mind.

Thanks for the replies. I think I may just get the repair on the 135mm lens.

Neither one is adequate for what you want to do. You will probably want a 90mm with a good circle of illumination, but then your cameras may also limit what you want to do.

Are you looking to do exteriors or interiors? Do you want to capture all of the building or just part of it?

Before you spend more money you might want to look at what people shooting the type of things that you want to shoot are using in cameras and lenses.

Dan Fromm
2-Apr-2010, 15:03
So to clarify, for the sake of movements you're saying that the 6" lens is the best. Hmm, not a great focal length for what I had in mind.

Thanks for the replies. I think I may just get the repair on the 135mm lens.No, to use it you'll have to stand farther back.

To be more explicit, and to echo Bob's good advice, none of your lenses, in hand or in prospect, is particularly suited to what you say you want to do. The Wolly is the least useful, for your stated purposes, of the lot.

Learn more, as Bob suggested, about how what you want to do is done before spending more money.

2-Apr-2010, 17:18
OK, thanks. When I said I'm just going to go with the repair is because that's the least expensive. I realize that it won't do what I want, and that 6" won't be wide enough, not by a long shot. I just need a lens to get my hands dirty with.


3-Apr-2010, 09:41
why not keep the $100 and play with what you have for a while?

you can get a nice 90mm f8 lens for about 200-300 depending on how long you wait. i would think saving the $100 for the repair puts you at the half way mark to getting something that you would really like to use. i love my 90mm. i use it very very often.


Ivan J. Eberle
4-Apr-2010, 17:59
You may find, as I did, that the Wollensak Raptar/Optar 135mm f/4.7 lenses are denigrated more often than just about any other lens on these forums. Most of it is undeserved; for what they do, they do very well indeed. They are all Post WWII hard coated lenses and they can be wickedly sharp on center. Stopped down to f/22 or f/32 they are astonishingly good, and meet or exceed the modern German and Japanese Plasmats in all but the very corners. The smallish image circle does mean that front standard moves are limited. Not very good for achitecture where rise and fall and shift are frequently needed, but probably more than adequate for landscape and simply great for a press camera like your B&J.

That said, a monorail like your Calument typically also has rear moves as well as front ones. For plane of focus adjustment, rear tilts and swings are possible even with a lens having minimum coverage for the format, so all is not lost.

23-Apr-2010, 21:35
Point Defiance, Never Never Land, last structure standing.

Here's a shot I've taken with the Fujinar lens. I gave the front standard as much rise as I felt the bellows would take for this one. It looks like this one will do the rise that I want, I know that the 135 won't.

Fuji FP-100C45
and yes I did have the tilt going pretty good, just wanted to try that once.