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  1. #1

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    Info on Wollensak 101mm f:4.5 Raptar

    I recently picked up the above lens in a Rapax shutter and I have a couple of questions. I plan to use it for 6x9 and 6x7 with my Wista VX and a sliding back so not really concerned with image circle although I would like to know what kind of IC the lens has.

    The Rapax shutter needs a cleaning and as I only paid $40 for the lens and shutter I would like to try cleaning this shutter myself. When I remove the lens elements I can see the inside of the shutter very easily. Has anyone used the old lighter fluid cleaning method with this shutter? All the shutter speeds work but some are very sticky and off.

    When I attach a cable release it will not trip the shutter, but when I stick a more narrow pin into the hole the shutter will fire. Does one need a special release cable to trip this shutter?

    Does any one know what size filters this lens takes. When I measure it comes out to about 29mm. Anyone know the exact size filter?

    I would like to get this lens working as it is coated and the elements are in descent shape.

    Any help would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Axle's Avatar
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    The Wollensak Raptars are fantastic lenses. While I haven't been able to find any sort of exact numbers for you, I did find an ebay auction that has the same lens mounted on a Busch Pressman, a 2.25" x 3.25" camera, so the lens I would assume has an Image Circle large enough to cover about 6cm by 8.25cm so your 6x7 will work and I'm sure the 6x9 will be fine as well.

    But I leave some exact notes to those who have a better grasp!
    Canadian Correspondent for the Film Photography Podcast
    A bi-monthly podcast for people who love to shoot film!

  3. #3
    shutterfinger's Avatar
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    Did you know that:
    Wollensak did not list the IC for its lens. They did list the format size the lens will cover. The 101 mm (4 inch) Raptar covers 2 1/4 x 3 1/4. http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/...llensak_3.html
    Raptar lens were rebadged Optar for Graflex Corp. use.
    Rapax shutters were rebadged Graphex for Graflex Corp. use. http://www.southbristolviews.com/pic...terService.pdf
    Lighter fluid leaves an oily residue.
    Naphtha, the main ingredient in lighter fluid, damages plastic and rubber. Plastic and rubber are used in the Rapax shutter as insulators.
    The shutter came in 3 versions; no flash sync, full flash sync, and electronic flash sync only.
    No special cable release is needed.
    The 101 Raptar is in a #1 Rapax shutter. Use the above linked service manual to CLA it or send it to me.

  4. #4
    Whiteymorange's Avatar
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    I have used naptha on Rapax shutters many times with no ill effects. It is not, however, a real cleaning job. In a pinch, I will mix a little very fine graphite with Rossignol lighter fluid and squirted a small amount into a sticky shutter. In each case it worked for years. If you do want to try a little naptha, and I do use little, not a flood, try the lighter fluid type, not the VPN variety sold for thinning paint. That does leave a slight residue. I have personally never, under any circumstance, seen a residue from lighter fluid, but I won't argue the point. If you want to check, put a few drops on a clean piece of glass and let it evaporate. If there is any residue, don't use it. After you decide whether or not you like the lens, have it CLA'd by a professional. I think you will like it. Wollensak, a very good lens company, considered the Raptar the top of its line. It is not contrasty and sharp in the way that a German lens can be, but my examples have a creamy-sharp look, very popular in the 40's and 50's for magazine work.

  5. #5
    Mustafa Umut Sarac's Avatar
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    I have Popular Photography Annals 1954 and 1957 and Wollensaks are better than all , faraway more modern look. Clean , sharp and tonal. Onlu competitor is Leica and Ektar.
    Can you please ask easier questions ? One Apug members request .

  6. #6

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    All very interesting comments. In the 2x3 Graphic scheme of things, the top-of-the line (= most expensive) original issue normal lens was the 105/3.7 Ektar, a Heliar type that everyone says good things about. Next down were the 101/4.5 Ektar and 101/4.5 Optar/Raptar. The bottom of the barrel were any of several f/4.5 triplets from Wollensak. I've always regarded the 101/4.5 Ektar as the gold standard of normal lenses for 2x3 Graphics.

    The question of whether EKCo did tessar types better than Wollensak -- in the context of this discussion, whether the 101/4.5 Ektar is better than the 101/4.5 Optar/Raptar -- has never, to my knowledge, been answered by objective testing. Each has its partisans.

    The parallel question about 127/4.7 Ektars and Optars/Raptars, both standard issue normal lenses for 3x4 and 4x5 Pacemaker Graphics, has been addressed. Matching the Ektar's image quality across the field, and especially towards the edges, with an Optar/Raptar requires stopping down two stops more. This, according to Richard Knoppow, who made the point in many discussions on the usenet rec.photo. forums that used to be, because whoever computed the Raptars made an error that resulted in poor correction for coma, an off-axis aberration that can be controlled by stopping down.

    Some years ago I had in hand a 105/3.7 Ektar, a 101/4.5 Ektar, and a 103/4.5 Graftar, a triplet made by Wollensak. I shot a USAF 1951 chart at 20 focal lengths distance with each of these lenses at every stop from wide open to f/22. Short answer, the 101 had better center and corner resolution (this last means better coverage) that the 105 and the Graftar beat the Ektars from f/11 down and matched the 101 from wide open. When I mentioned these results on www.graflex.org several other members reported the same results.

    I've had other Wollensak lenses. The only ones I've found to be outstanding are the 160/5.6 Pro Raptar, Wollensak's answer to Schneider's Symmar and Rodenstock's Sironar, and the 4"/5.6 Enlarging Pro Raptar, a counter to the Componon and Rodagon. I've never had a 210/5.6 Pro Raptar and I have but have never tried out other, longer, Enlarging Pro Raptars. My 4 incher is a superb macro lens, but note that Klaus Schmitt has one that he sees as nothing special. I tried out a 2 incher as a macro lens, it wasn't that good.

    Oh, and by the way, none of the 2x3 Graphic standard issue normal lenses comes close to covering 4x5. We're talking medium format here, not large format.

  7. #7
    Two23's Avatar
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    The lens covers quarter plate, as already mentioned. Raptar was the "new" name given to Wollensak's Velostigmat when they were coated sometime around 1946. The lens is probably just single coated. I have a bigger and older Velostigmat 300mm, and it does need a special cable release--one with a much long throw. The lenses are pretty sharp stopped down, and have a softer look wide open that's good for portraits. The Velostigmat/Raptar/Optar is a 4 element Tessar design.


    Kent in SD

  8. #8

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    The naptha trick is well-discussed on these forums. In fact I have initiated some almost annoying discussions on this subject. You might well and probably will; end up with a shutter that seems to work fine, and "the shutter speeds sound accurate". This is all EBAY talk for "this shutter needs CLA".
    If you want to go this way, then you get what you get. Otherwise study study study on how to properly clean and test this shutter. It is not a particularly hard one to learn on, so you have 2 choices--send it off, or learn what it takes to do it right. You will need to construct a shutter tester, and learn how to use the sound card and music editing program. You need to learn where and how to lubricate, and how to file or expand the ring cam, and so on. I have progressed on to spring fabrication in my studies.
    The lighter fluid trick rarely gives any kind of accuracy at all. GL

  9. #9

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    Thanks all for the good information on this lens. It appears that I might have a good deal here. I think that I will get a CLA on the shutter because I will be using this little gem. I have a shutter tester and just tested a Seiko shutter that came with a 75mm f:8 Fuji lens. It surprised me to find that the shutter speeds on this shutter were very close to right on. The only speeds that were off and still within about 1/3 stop were 1 sec and 1/500 and that is to be expected with most leaf shutters.

    I also have a Tominon 105 f:4.5 lens but it is mounted in a Copal/Polaroid Press shutter. I don't like using the press shutters as you have to change the shutter speed to B in order to focus.

    I suspect that this lens (the Tominon) is a pretty good performer and I believe that it will just hit the corners on 4x5...haven't really used it that much.
    If anyone has any info on this lens, please pass it on.

    I still need the filter size, so if anyone knows or knows were to find out please let me know.

  10. #10

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    Probably a slip-on series filter adapter is needed.

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