View Full Version : Ilex Paragon Series A

9-Oct-2011, 18:54
I just bought a whole plate wooden camera, which will come with an Ilex Paragon Series A 7 1/2" f/4.5.
I had no interest for a lens, i was just looking for a cheap whole plate wooden camera, complete with back rail. The camera had a lens though, so hazy (from the auction picture) that i'm not certain that it could be cleanable.
I knew about some Paragon Series A soft focus lenses, but i realized that my knowledge was very limited, so i started a web search.
Surprisingly i found very little.
I was almost certain that Velostigmat Series II and Paragon Series A were the same thing, now i am not so sure.
I couldn't even find out if there were NON-soft-focus Paragons, as with Ilex Velostigmats (which were made in soft focus version, only in longer focals, and only some of them, not every one).
Fortunately Cameraeccentric came to the rescue! :)
Now i know that my Paragon Series A example can't be a soft-focus, because it's a 7 1/2" f/4.5, and only the four bigger sizes were made with adjustable soft ring (8 1/2" focal and up).
The lens came practically free, no surprise it's not a jewel. I am saving all my hopes for the shutter: if it's correctly working, maybe i'll find a new home for a couple of optic cells that are crying for an usable shutter.
I still don't know if there is any relationship between Velostigmat Series II and Paragon Series A.
Any infos about that?
Any first-hand comment about these lenses?

have fun


Louis Pacilla
10-Oct-2011, 09:50

The Paragon series A was almost identical to the Vellostigmat II. from the tessar formula to the fact that from 9 1/2" FL to the longest FL can have a SF feature. That said it is also like the Wollensak Vello II not all had the Diffusion feature.

I have a 15 3/4" Paragon Series A with diffusion feature and with the pin removed for full throttle diffusion and it matches the look and feel of my 15 1/2" Vello II with pin removed.

There was also a Paragon which was a later version ( Series S). This lens as I can tell was NEVER made with a diffusion feature. Sort of like the later Vello II being renamed Raptar and never being offered with Diffusion feature. Many times folks mistake the Series S with the Series A

Both are terrific diffused focus lenses.

10-Oct-2011, 19:00
Both are terrific diffused focus lenses.

I know. I know. I've found many other posts that confirm your first-hand impression.
I'd like to have first hand knowledge, but i was invariably beaten when i tried my luck on Ebay. :(
Most were Velo Series II, and just two times Paragon Series A, IIRC. The latter ones are slightly cheaper, but also difficult to find (with soft adjustment).
Maybe i'm too cheap, but i find that these lenses got more and more expensive lately, so i adjusted my expectations toward more affordable goals. It's quite complicate, and you have to be very patient. There still are a few hidden jewels out there though, and i could score three or four very nice deals in the last 18 months.

My Paragon, that should already be on its way to Italy by now, could be a nice "project" lens, if cleanable.
It's a 7 1/4" focal, so it should be quite similar to the 8 1/2", that's the shortest focal made with soft ring. If the barrel allows it, i'd like to add a spacer ring between the two front glasses. I had in mind to do the same work to another lens, but the barrel was built the wrong way. With the Paragon i have nothing to loose: the lens is coming almost free, and it's the wrong focal with whole plate and 5x7" (too long to be a true wide angle, and too short to give a nice coverage).
I guess that somebody had the same idea, with a similar lens of tessar design. If i am right, please let me know how it worked out.
I am going to try something similar (but a lot easier to accomplish) with a Schneider Radionar with front focusing, in Compur shutter: i removed the "stop" that limits the travel of the front glass, to increase spacing to two or three turns, and i will try the solution on 120 film as soon as i free a lens board.

have fun


Emil Schildt
11-Oct-2011, 06:28
I have only see a few Paragon's with variable soft focus on sale on the bay - I bought one big one, and I am loving it to bits, and the other was sold recently to some one else...

I was watching and if I had known the price would be as low as it turned up to be, I certainly would have been bidding!

the auction is here: