The lowly Versar.  Or is it?  Let's think about this for
a minute.  True, they don't get much respect, nor do
they cause excitement at the auction site, but consider
that they are a second cousin to some of the most
valuable lenses ever contrived.


versar coke glass

The Versar is an "extra rapid" rapid rectilinear type.
Extra rapid is code word for f6 instead of f8.  Typically
a RR has to be f8 in order to be acceptably sharp.  So
since the extra rapid works at f6, and since a
Pinkham & Smith Visual Quality is a modified
RR that works at f4, I had to wonder if the less
renowned cousin had any of the qualities at f6.


versar coke bottle & glass

Would a Versar wide open look anything like a
Nicola Perscheid stopped down to f6??  These
four pictures were done with a 9 3/4" Versar
at it's wide open aperture of f6.  I used a 10A
studio camera with 6 1/2 X 8 1/2 "full plate"
back for these.


versar china pitcher

Since Versar's were near the bottom of the
Wollensak heap they have a couple of weird
little idiosyncrasies I've found over and over.
The name is engraved into the barrel, not the
part that actually holds the glass.  So a couple
of things were common.  First, Wolly sold these
to large photo supply houses to engrave their
own house brand on.  The one I used for this
test simply says it's a Northern Photographic
Supply LIBERTY Extra Rapid Group f6.


versar v8

A second problem is that often when they're
mounted in a shutter after the factory sold them
the barrel with the name gets discarded and
there's no name what-so-ever.

OK, in conclusion after looking at my f6 shots
I would say that this lens has a really lovely
round look.  Contrast is near perfect and the
bokeh is sublime.  But........it ain't no Pinkham!
Not even close.