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Thread: Mystery Wollensak Raptar...

  1. #1

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    Mystery Wollensak Raptar...

    Hoping to find some info about my Wolley...

    An 8.25 (210mm) 4.5 WolCoated Raptor in Alphax shutter...

    No Series information is present. Most Raptors are a Series III, IV, or V...

    Being a 4.5 I would assume Tessar Type but I would really like to find out...

    It is not the process lens or an enlarger lens that the internet talks volumes about...

    It comes in a Wollensak presentation box and a little detective work reveals under the velvet base a clip of newsprint advertising the Star-Chief Catalina a model made in 1959-60. So I would date the box and lens to around that time...

    Any more info would be appreciated... Thanks

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  2. #2

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    Re: Mystery Wollensak Raptor...

    Definitely a Raptar Series II (Tessar-type) in an Alphax #4 shutter. Covers up to 5x8 per the Wollensak catalogs.

  3. #3

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    Re: Mystery Wollensak Raptor...

    Also have a Raptor which has no Series number. On mine the "W" with a circle around it is purple. A friend thought that he remembered that a white circled "W" preceded a purple circled "W". Post in another forum said that Raptors with no series numbers were the last ones made... personally don't believe that statement, but I might be wrong.

    FORUM member Whir-Click, please post your opinion.

  4. #4

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    Re: Mystery Wollensak Raptor...

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    Also have a Raptor which has no Series number. On mine the "W" with a circle around it is purple. A friend thought that he remembered that a white circled "W" preceded a purple circled "W". Post in another forum said that Raptors with no series numbers were the last ones made... personally don't believe that statement, but I might be wrong.

    FORUM member Whir-Click, please post your opinion.
    Just saw Whir-Click's post... thanks

  5. #5
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Mystery Wollensak Raptor...

    It's a Raptar, not a Raptor, and yes, it's a Tessar. This would be the re-named Velostigmat Series II. The circled W is a symbol that the lens is "Wolcoated", Wollensak's single coating introduced just after the re-naming.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  6. #6

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    Re: Mystery Wollensak Raptor...

    I have a very early “Wocote” Velostigmat (not yet Raptar!) from 1946, and it has a purple W-in-circle logo, for whatever that’s worth.

    Alas, I don’t have any insight into the lack of serial numbers in (possibly) late model lenses. The problem is that, although Wollensak kept producing lenses up until their bankruptcy in 1972, I cannot find any catalogs or price lists later than 1956. I’m sure they are out there, but they are quite elusive.

  7. #7

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    Re: Mystery Wollensak Raptor...

    Just for fun, the 1946 price lists are the only ones to offer coating (at an extra charge) on Velostigmats before the name change to Raptar in 1947. Thanks, Smithsonian Libraries! https://alphaxbetax.files.wordpress....collection.pdf

  8. #8
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Mystery Wollensak Raptor...

    Quote Originally Posted by Whir-Click View Post
    I have a very early “Wocote” Velostigmat (not yet Raptar!) from 1946, and it has a purple W-in-circle logo, for whatever that’s worth...
    Yup, as I said, Wollensak's coatings were "introduced just after the re-naming", not concurrent with it. I have a coated 12-inch Velostigmat Series II, but they're rare...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  9. #9

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    Re: Mystery Wollensak Raptor...

    The 8 1/4" Raptar was first introduced in Febuary of 1947 as a Series II Raptar with some minor changes to the optical formula over the prior Velostigmat. Then another minor change was made to the optical formula in September of 1957 and the Series II designation was dropped from the name ring, finally a final change was made in December of 1963 and the serial designation was changed to the latest type sometime between the latest revisions of this lens.

    So your lens would have likely been made between September 1957 to December 1963. It's a classic 4 element 3 group tessar design and since Wollensak chose to go for lens character over absolute resolution it will be a bit softer than some other tessar formulas, but will have more pleasing focus transitions. This lens is infinity corrected unlike the enlarging lenses of the same focal length.

  10. #10

    Re: Mystery Wollensak Raptor...

    Well, I sure hope you are going to stick around here. You seem to know a lot about Wollensak; I'm curious where your info comes from.

    I've been undecided about the character of Wollensak 4.5 tessars; I just haven't used them enough to really come to a conclusion. I do notice that B&L seems a bit better corrected than most others, and somewhat harsher in character. I'm mostly speaking of Velostigmat era lenses. I'd always heard that later, Raptar era, lenses were "better" but never knew any detail about changes. Very interesting stuff.

    I have a question, but don't want to hijack this thread any more than I have.

    Thanks for your interesting contribution here.


    Quote Originally Posted by aphcl84 View Post
    The 8 1/4" Raptar was first introduced in Febuary of 1947 as a Series II Raptar with some minor changes to the optical formula over the prior Velostigmat. Then another minor change was made to the optical formula in September of 1957 and the Series II designation was dropped from the name ring, finally a final change was made in December of 1963 and the serial designation was changed to the latest type sometime between the latest revisions of this lens.

    So your lens would have likely been made between September 1957 to December 1963. It's a classic 4 element 3 group tessar design and since Wollensak chose to go for lens character over absolute resolution it will be a bit softer than some other tessar formulas, but will have more pleasing focus transitions. This lens is infinity corrected unlike the enlarging lenses of the same focal length.
    Last edited by Mark Crabtree; 27-Apr-2019 at 09:43.

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