Wollensak Velostigmat 50/2.8
American enlarger lens marked 2”. Mounts vary (Leica option). Silver body. Black nose. Single ‘Wocoted’. Lens supplied by The Real Camera Co.
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In the hand, this weighty little brass enlarger lens feels like the Kodak Ektars it resembles. Sadly it performs like the pre-war UK Ektars, not the brilliant, later, American-made Ektars. Like the Palar 40mm – but less so – Zone 1 performance is better than expected, reaching a peak of 8.5 at all distances by f5.6. Like the Palar 40mm – but more so – Zone 3 performance is a real stinker: scores of below 5.0 were recorded: worse than most projector lenses.
It’s hard to find a redeeming feature of this single-coated lens: bokeh is smeared and ugly with only a hint of photogenic swirl, and there’s little respite from flare without multicoating or protection of the front element and there’s vignetting until f8. Having said that, if you’re looking for ‘so bad it’s good’, you’ve found it. The curved nine-blade diaphragm has clickless operation, which might help videography.
With the caveat that we have only tested one sample of this – which seems clean and well aligned – we have to assume that, as taking lenses, they’re all this unsuitable. Whether this reflects on their performance as enlarger lenses we cannot comment. If you’ve had better experience with a different example, please let us know.