1937 Welta Welti, with hard to find Schneider Xenon 2.0/50mm lens, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate us
This is a 1937 35mm camera built produced in Germany just prior to WWII by Welta Kamera-Werke. It was an expensive, high performance camera. It’s body was constructed of die cast alloy that was carefully machined, wrapped in real leather. Another advanced feature was that the lens and shutter moves together as a unit when focusing. This provides better lens performance (especially up close) than the more common “front cell focus” in which only the front element is turned in or out. The nice thing about this fine vintage camera is that you can still use it because it uses normal 35mm film.
Before the war, Welta was well respected for its quality products and it competed on equal footing with Zeiss-Ikon and Voigtlander. Along with Leica, Contax and Kodak, Welta helped spread the popularity of the then new 35mm format. This Welta Welti model with its expensive 2.0/50mm was only produced in limited numbers starting in 1937 and appears to have ended in circa 1941. (Welta production data that survived WWII is a bit sketchy.)
In an era in which cameras were simply painted black and chrome was considered a luxury material, it’s clear that Welta intended to signal that this camera was an expensive high end product. In 1938 the asking price for the Welti model with the Xenon lens in New York stores was $74.50. (To help put that in perspective a new car cost about $650.) Adjusted for inflation in 2021 dollars the original price for this high end Welti was a whopping $1430.
Popular with users as well as collectors, the Welti ranks among the best prewar 35mm cameras. Because of the small production numbers and low survival rate (many were lost, damaged or destroyed during WWII) the Welti remains a desirable and relatively hard to find camera. This is especially true of clean fully functional examples.
This fine German camera has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. It uses normal 35mm film. The bellows are supple and completely light tight. The Compur-Rapid shutter was the finest shutter of its era. It works smoothly and all speeds (B & 1 sec - 1/500th) are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along smoothly and the faster ones are clean and snappy.
The lens was one of the best 50mm lenses that money could buy in the prewar era. It’s an exceptionally fine Schneider Kreuznach f2.0/50mm Xenon. (It was far better than the Leitz 2.0/50mm Summar and nearly on equal footing with the 2.0/50mm Zeiss Sonnar.) The lens is clean and clear. There are no scratches, just some minor cleaning wisps (but you’ll need a magnifier to see them) and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films. As with all prewar lenses we recommend keeping the sun behind you for optimum performance.
All in all, an enjoyable 35mm camera for photographers with a historical interest.