SUPERB! 1937 Welta Weltini, 35mm Rangefinder Camera, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use
This is a 1937 35mm rangefinder 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 and fitted with an exceptionally fine, coupled rangefinder. The rangefinder made focusing quick and easy and it used precision prisms rather than mirrors to produce an image that was easy to see. 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. The nice thing about this vintage camera is that you can still use it because it uses normal 35mm film.
This Welta Weltini with its distinctive angular chrome plated top cover was only produced in a relatively small production run from 1937 to 1938. 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.
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.
Popular with users as well as collectors, the Weltini ranks among the best prewar 35mm rangefinder cameras. Because of the small production numbers and low survival rate (many were lost, damaged or destroyed during WWII) the Weltini remains a desirable and relatively hard to find camera. This is especially true of clean fully functional examples.
Additionally if you’re familiar with them, the Weltini was designed as a miniature 35mm version of the superb Welta Weltur, which was a larger medium format camera which also featured a coupled rangefinder. So if you have a Weltur in your collection, this camera is the perfect companion to it.
This fine German camera has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. It uses normal 35mm film. 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 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, a beautiful, significant and enjoyable rangefinder camera for photographers with a historical interest.