Monday, September 3, 2012

Wollensak Raptar 2 inch (50mm) f1.5 C-Mount Cine Lens - First Impression

It has been a while since I bought any c-mount lenses, mostly because I am using the NEX-5N more than the Panasonic G1, and most c-mount lenses have an imaging circle too small for the NEX, but many c-mount lenses have a focal length 50mm or greater tend to have larger image circles and are OK to use on the NEX.  The reason I bought the Wollensak 50mm f1.5, is because I don't really have many c-mount lenses in this focal length.  The only ones I have, is the Kodak Anastigmat 50mm f1.6, JML 50mm f0.95 (converted to NEX E-Mount).  The Kodak is a bit too weird with the radical swirling backgrounds, and the JML is very large and heavy.  The Wollensak 50mm f1.5 is kind of the Goldilocks of the 50mm c-mount lens: It's (almost) just right.

Without Hoods. Wollensak 50mm f1.5 on left, Kodak 50mm f1.6 on right. Click for larger.

I take back what I said about the weight of the Kodak 50mm f1.6 in my last post.  These two lenses weigh about the same, even though the Kodak is larger.  Strangely, the focusing and aperture rings are reversed on these two lenses.  On the Wollensak, like most c-mount lenses, the focusing ring is behind the aperture ring, but is reversed on the Kodak.  Notice the little knob on the Kodak, pulling it and then rotate the focusing ring will enable the close focusing (pseudo macro) feature.  I really like this when I need close ups. 

The lens does not vignette this bad. I added vignetting in post processing - NEX-5N & Wollensak 50mm f1.5. Click for larger.

The Wollensak 50mm f1.5 is a beautifully made lens.  It feels dense and is wonderful to hold in your hand.  It's lenses made like this that make so many become addicted to their lenses.  If you compare lenses made today and this lens, you will understand why.  In actual use, it's a joy too.  Very smooth focusing and aperture ring is very smooth and precise.

In my experience, most c-mount cine lenses are very sharp wide open.  It may have something to do with special glass they used.  This Wollensak is no exception. Very usable at f1.5.  It's already very sharp at f2. I am very happy to learn that the image circle is larger on this lens.  At close focusing range, you don't see much vignetting, but at infinity, you can see visible darker corners.  Not heavy, but visible.  On the Panasonic G1, there is no vignetting at all, even at infinity focus.  The 2x crop of the M4/3 sensor masks most of the bad corners of this lens, but it also loses some of the characteristics of this lens.

Bokeh - NEX-5N & Wollensak Raptar 50mm f1.5. Click for larger.
The only thing I miss, compared to the Kodak, is the close focusing capabilities.  This lens focuses to about 2 inches feet, or 0.5m, which is normal for this focal length. But, we can't always have everything, no?  I really like this lens on the NEX-5N.  I can't wait to shoot this lens more, and with different subjects.

Bokeh #2 - NEX-5N & Wollensak Raptar 50mm f1.5. Click for larger.


  1. Those are lovely, really good colour and bokeh, but I think you meant close focus was 20 inches not 2 !

    1. Thanks for catching that! It should have been "feet" instead of "inches". Fixed now.

  2. I love this. Nice pics and amzing bokeh..

  3. Nice pics and amazing bokeh!!