1937 WELTA WELTUR, CLA’d 6x6 Medium format, Coupled Rangefinder Camera, FRESHLY SERVICED!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use!
This is a medium format rangefinder camera built produced in Germany in circa 1938 by Welta Kamera-Werke. Prior to WWII, Welta was a well-respected camera brand, known for its quality products. It was in fact one of Germany’s “big three” camera producers, which in the late 1930’s was represented by Zeiss-ikon, Welta and Voigtlander.
The Welta Weltur was an expensive, high performance camera and it competed successfully against its competition for the attention of the affluent well-heeled buyers. The Weltur is constructed of precision die cast alloy that has been carefully machined, wrapped in fine quality leather and fitted with a coupled rangefinder. The rangefinder makes focusing quick and easy and it uses precision prisms rather than mirrors to produce an image that’s easy to see. The camera was also equipped with the best lenses and shutters of its era.
Just like its competitor, the Super Ikonta B, the Welta Weltur was one of the first cameras to have the viewfinder/rangefinder is combined into a single window. This feature simplified focusing and composition and this approach is still used in modern rangefinder cameras. 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.
Personally I’m quite fond of these cameras. I’ve owned many classic prewar cameras over the years, including the well-known Super Ikonta, Rifax, SS Dolly Rangefinder, Bessa RF, Balda Baldaxette and Plaubel Roll-op cameras. Even though these are all very enjoyable classic cameras, none of them handle quite as easily and inspire quite as much confidence as the Welta Weltur. It’s easily one of the best prewar cameras ever produced. (It was not produced after WWII due to material shortages in Germany and its high production costs.)
The Weltur produces big beautiful exposures on 120 roll film. When it comes to photography bigger is better and this camera will produce a negative that’s more than three times larger than the average 35mm snapshot. So whether you’re interested in, fine grain, rich tonal gradations or lovely colors, this camera can do all of that and may just become your favorite vintage camera.
It comes complete with a rare original 6x4.5 reduction mask.These masks are difficult to find and are often missing in these 80 year old cameras.
In addition to 6x6, this camera is also capable of producing 6x4.5 negatives if you use the reduction mask. (This mask can also be used in the simpler, scale focus Welta Weltax, if you have one in your collection.)
This camera is in excellent condition. The chrome is a bit tarnished in places but aside from that it’s clean, complete and in much nicer condition than most. Additionally this camera has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. Everything works. The coupled rangefinder never leaves you guessing about distance or focus. The rangefinder works smoothly and is easy to see. The bellows are supple and completely light tight. The quality Compur shutter has also been serviced. It works smoothly and all speeds (B, T & 1 sec - 1/250th) are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along smoothly and the fast speeds are clean and snappy.
The lens is a sharp, fast Schneider f2.8/7,5cm (75mm) Xenar. Normally the Xenar lens is a four element design (and very similar to the Tessar). However the prewar Xenar is the exception to this. The prewar 2.8 5cm and 7,5cm Xenar lenses had five elements in four groups and offered a very fine rendition.
The serial number on this lens, indicates that it was manufactured in 1937. The lens is exceptionally clean and clear. There are no scratches or cleaning marks and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films.
All in all, an enjoyable classic camera. Perfect for photographers with a historical interest. Load it with your favorite film and keep it handy for that perfect shot you’ve been looking for. You know the one... the one with the perfect Ansel Adams light breaking through the dark storm clouds that leaves you wishing you had a classic medium format camera with you.
Search terms: Schneider, Compur, medium format, rangefinder camera, 120 film, authentic WWII, WW2, 2WK, reenactor, re-enactor, signal corps, war correspondent, war photographer, USAAF