Graphlex Optar 90mm W.A.

I feel I have a curse when it comes to shooting 90mm. Either the lens is not wide enough, the shutters acts up, or other problems abound. Despite having my Schneider Super Angulon 90mm shutter cleaned twice it still sticks at 1/2 and 1 second speeds.

So I purchased a used 90mm  (3.5″) Graplex Optar W.A. f6.8 . I read in several places this lens would cover 4×5 at f16 or smaller aperture. Further reading indicates this lens has about 154mm image circle whereas 4×5 is 153mm if you account for the edges.  My first outing with the new lens worked out ok but I can tell that this lens is soft in the corners and vignettes if the front standard is not perfectly aligned.  This is ok for a central subject and if the photographer likes to burn in the corners anyway.  The lens is tiny and light so a good choice for a backpacking trip. The lens is better suited to 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 or 6×9 cameras.

The Grafex Full Synchromatic shutter is a bit of an oddball too. It has two posts for flash bulbs and 3 different shutter firing mechanisms. The cable release will fire the shutter as expected. If using T or B mode you have a choice of using the tiny cable release, or to fire the shutter with focus/preview release arm and close it with the third. Using the latter method introduces the likelihood of camera shake but may be ok for long exposures. The f-stop spacing at f16, f22, and f32 is so tight I am not sure one could feel confident in using 16 or 22 and could easily be over/under 1/2 stop if bumped. If I keep it, I will make a note to use only at f32.



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