1936 Rare Black Welta Weltur 6x4.5 Coupled Rangefinder Camera, Freshly Serviced!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use
This is the rare first model of the Welta Weltur, a 6x4.5 medium format rangefinder camera, designed to use 120 roll film. This camera was produced very briefly between 1935 to 1936. In contrast to the later models, this desirable early camera has nickel plated fittings and a uniquely shaped rangefinder top cover. (The later models all had chrome fittings and a redesigned chrome top cover.) The limited production numbers and the low survival rate after 82 years, makes this a very difficult to find camera.
The Welta Weltur was an expensive medium format rangefinder camera produced in Dresden, Germany prior to world war two by Welta Kamera-Werke. Before the war, Welta was one of the best camera producers in Germany and well respected its quality products. It’s high end cameras were on the same level as Zeiss-Ikon, Voigtlander and it competed successfully against its competitors for the attention of the affluent well-heeled buyers. The Weltur was constructed of precision die cast alloy that has been carefully machined, wrapped in fine quality leather and fitted with a coupled rangefinder. The rangefinder made focusing quick and easy and it uses precision prisms rather than mirrors to produce an image that’s easy to see. Although Welta didn’t produce their own lenses, they did equip their cameras with the best lenses and shutters of the era.
Personally I’m quite fond of Welta. 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, there is something very unique about the handling of this camera. A friend of mine said it’s like a sports car… In any case, the Weltur was 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.)
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.
This camera is in excellent condition. Additionally it 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 shutter is a Compur-Rapid which was the best shutter of its era. The shutter works smoothly and all speeds (B, T & 1 sec - 1/400th) are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along smoothly and the fast speeds are clean and snappy.The lens fitted to this cameras is the superb Schneider 2.8/7,5cm (75mm) Xenar. Unlike most other Xenar lenses, the prewar 2.8 /75mm lens used on this camera is unique in that it is a superb five element design (featuring five elements in four groups). Needless to say, performance is excellent. The serial number on this lens, indicates that it was manufactured in 1936. 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 lovely classic camera. Perfect for photographers with a historical interest (or WWII reenactors.) 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 camera with you.