Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Wollensak Velostigmat 85mm f3.5 from Ciro-Flex TLR

I picked up this Ciro-Flex TLR at an antique shop a while ago.  This American made 6x6 TLR was cruelly put together, but was built like a tank; very American like.  But there are parts missing; for one thing, the focus mechanism is not working, and the viewfinder is stuck.  I have little interest in TLRs other than the lens that's attached to it, and in this case, the Wollensak 85mm f3.5, which looks really nice, and I like Wollensak lenses.

Ciro-flex with Wollensak 85mm f3.5 lens.

The lens was attached to the camera by a retention ring inside the film chamber.  It was really recessed and non of my spanner wrenches is long enough to reach the ring.  I ended up cutting up a piece of steel cabinet scraper plate, just small enough to get to the retention ring.  It all worked out really well.  These cabinet scrapers were bought at a garage sale and I had the intention to make custom spanner wrenches with them, since many times a standard span wrench could not be used due to space constrains, or length or both.  If I do get around making them into custom spanner wrenches, I will have a write up on it.

The removed lens was put on the converted Vivitar focus helicoid with a couple of filter rings, and I took it out for some test shots.

Mystique bokeh - Wollensak 85mm f3.5 & Sony A7

It turns out images are quite interesting, but I immediately noticed the flare in pretty much all images, even though I had a hood, but obviously not long enough.  Still, I am quite happy with few of the pictures.  The bokeh is quite nice, and of course it looks different depending on how close the lens is from the subject.  Most of the bokeh shots turned out very smooth, which should be good for portrait.

Rust - Wollensak 85mm f3.5 & Sony A7

The lens is relatively sharp, at least at the center, but the edge is only passable even at smaller apertures at infinity.  Perhaps the lens was not mounted properly, or this particular copy isn't the best.  Still, I like how the lens renders the pictures.  It has a nice personality.

Anchor - Wollensak 85mm f3.5 & Sony A7

Perhaps I should machine a more precise adapter to fit this lens on the helicoid and see if it performs better.  I have only used the lens a couple of times, so it's still very early to form conclusions.  But, so far, I like it on the Sony A7.


  1. Try the view lens :)

    1. Not a bad idea, but it would probably makes a good soft focus lens.

  2. It's a bubbly little triplet, the nice bonus of these cams is getting 2 for 1.

    I didn't know I could comment and couldn't find an email address but for a long time have wanted to find a way to contact you to say thank you for your fantastic blog. When I found it I went through every post since the beginning, and many of your finds I have acquired based on your postings, which I can't thank you enough for.

    It's also been fun reading about your lathe adventure and acquiring the tooling and experience. Just a warning: I found acquiring a lathe and tooling led to the same for a milling machine, and is almost as addictive as acquiring lenses! Ha! Thanks again for all!

    1. Thank you my friend. It's very kind of you to say something so nice. It made my day :)

      I must agree with you on the lathe/milling machine. I am already looking at small milling machines, but I just don't have the space for one. I wished I had bought a mini-lathe instead of the micro lathe. Still useful for me, but a bit too limited for what I want to do.

  3. Don't feel bad. All machines have their limitations, and even with a very good large industrial lathe at times I feel limited.(For instance it doesn't cut metric threads). Enjoy the learning, and thanks again!

  4. The photo of "anchor" is exceptional.