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Wollensak Kenro Lens: What is "Kenro"?

Carina Cisneros , Sep 18, 2003; 01:22 p.m.

I just came across two lenses and am wondering if someone can help identify their use, or model designation. Unlike other Wollensak lenses I have or have seen (Raptar, Velostigmat, Verito, etc.) these two Wollensak lenses are labeled "KENRO". One is a 16" f10 lens, the other a 10" f5.6 lens. Both appear fairly recent in the long Wollensak history of lenses, are jet-black, with bright red engraved markings. Both come with huge, thick, matching lens caps (both ends). Are these special copy lenses? The only markings are on the frontispiece, around the outer glass element. The larger lens, in additon to the focal length & word "Wollensak", reads "Kenro KV", while the smaller lens reads, simply, "Kenro" - in addition to the marker "Wollensak". There is a symbol on the lens after the word Kenro, but it is not the Wollensak symbol I have seen elsewhere. Any feedback appreciated.

Responses

Ken Burns , Sep 18, 2003; 08:56 p.m.

Kenro makes (or made, are they still in business?) commercial camera equipment for shooting line negs, seperation negs, copy negs, etc. These cameras were used a lot by the printing and electronics industries as well as others, but have probably been replaced by the digital imaging technology of today. They are usually vertical cameras resembling very large enlarger equipment or horizontal cameras that take up a whole room. More than likely, the lenses you have were used for one of the purposes mentioned above, but, since there is no mention of their being apochromatic, I doubt they were used for color seps. Probably just copy camera work.

For years I worked in a photo studio that owned a Kenro 2500 that was used for shooting line negs for exposing type onto photos. It was a vertical camera with a vacuum plate to hold the litho film flat. Enlargement and focussing settings were cranked in according to a chart and exposure compensations for bellows extensions was automatically made according to the settings that were cranked in. The lenses on that camera were wide angle copy lenses, but were not apochromatic.

Steve Feldman , Sep 18, 2003; 09:23 p.m.

Carina,

Ken's got it exactly right. I used a Kenro vertical camera in the late 60's (that's the 1960's) for copy litho neg work. This camera was aboard the USS Hornet CVS-12. Yup, I was a printer on an aircraft carrier. You may remember that this ship was the recovery vessel for the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 moon landings.

Two years ago I went to Alameda, CA where the the old girl is now a museum. I went down to the old print shop and there was the Kenro process camera. Still there after 34 years.

Oh, yea, we were talking about a Kenro camera, weren't we?

Carina Cisneros , Sep 19, 2003; 11:54 a.m.

Thank you for the replies. I thought maybe they were copy lenses, but had no way to confirm this. One thing that made me question this "guess" of mine is the length of the first lens and the speed of the second (16" seems fairly long, and the other seemed faster than would be necessary - but these were just assumptions I had, and I am far from an expert at LF or copy work, or any other field of photography!). I don't have the camera, just the two lenses. One thing I forgot to mention is that the smaller lens is in a rather impressive dovetail wood box, felt lined, and the box appears to have been made for this lens - and bear the Wollensak name on it. I didn't know if "Wollensak Kenro" was like "Sears Sekor" (Mamiya made for Sears), or if Kenro implied a special use as opposed to company name.

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