Excellent! 1937 Welta Weltini, 35mm Rangefinder Camera, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use
This is a 1937 Welta Wetini 35mm rangefinder camera. It was produced by Welta Kamera-Werke which was located near Dresden Germany just prior to WWII. An attractive feature of this cameras is that it uses normal 35mm film.
The Welta Weltini was an expensive, high performance camera. It’s body was constructed of die cast alloy that was carefully machined, wrapped in real leather and fitted with a coupled rangefinder. The rangefinder made focusing quick and easy. It was also one of the first cameras to have the viewfinder/rangefinder is combined into a single window. 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 version of the Welta Weltini with its distinctive chrome plated, streamlined top cover was produced in a single small production run from 1938 to 1941. In an era in which many cameras were simply painted black and chrome was considered a serious luxury material, it’s obvious that this camera was designed to appeal to affluent buyers.
Prior to the second world war Welta was highly 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. At the time 35mm cameras were considered a novelty. In Germany they were called “Kleinbildkameras”, which translates into “tiny image cameras”. In the United States they were referred to as “miniature cameras”. In fact if you read the hardboiled detective novels of the 1930’s & 40’s by writers such as Raymond Chandler, you’ll occasionally come across this reference.
Popular with owners, the Welta Weltini ranks high among the early prewar 35mm rangefinder cameras. However many collectors are unfamiliar with them due to the fact that many were lost, damaged or destroyed during WWII. This low survival rate combined with a limited production run means that a Welta Weltini remains a desirable, elusive and relatively hard to find camera.
It comes complete with a lens shade and an original brown leather case.
This camera has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. The coupled rangefinder never leaves you guessing about distance or focus, it works smoothly and is easy to see. The bellows are supple and completely light tight. The quality Compur-Rapid shutter 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 is a sharp Carl Zeiss 2.8/50mm Tessar, a four element lens design. This lens is well respected for its excellent performance and lovely rendition. (I enjoy using classic cameras and I’ve found that this lens produces photos that are nearly identical to the 3.5/50mm Leitz Elmar on the Leica II.) The lens has been well protected and is clean and clear. There are no scratches, no cleaning marks and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films.
All in all, a significant, enjoyable classic camera. Perfect for photographers with a historical interest or WWII reenactors. Load it with your favorite film and enjoy exploring the world with this 84 year old veteran.