Welta Weltur 6x6 folding camera

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by craigd, Mar 30, 2011.

  1. Last year while browsing in a local antiques store, I came across an unfamiliar folding camera. The asking price was $65, which was a bit more than I felt like paying for something I knew nothing about, especially since it clearly needed some work. The viewfinder was quite cloudy and the camera needed cleaning. For all I knew the bellows, lens, and shutter might all need to be replaced. But I took a few pictures of it and looked it up online after I got home. It turned out that this "Weltur" camera was made in Germany during the Nazi period (1936-40) in three models. The 6x6 model was noted as being less common than the 6x4.5 and 6x9 models, and rarest of all was the 6x6 with a Tessar 7.5cm f/2.8 lens. Amazingly enough, my photos showed a 6x6 Weltur with that very Tessar lens! So I figured, what the hell, it's an adventure, and went back to the store the next day to argue the price down a bit. The camera was in my hands barely an hour before I left it at the Post Office to fly off to Saylorsburg, PA to be cleaned up and restored by Jurgen Kreckel.
    Since Jurgen was pretty badly backlogged at the time, it was a few months before my Weltur came home, and when it did, it was hardly recognizable. Not only was it clean and usable, but a number of parts had had to be replaced. Unfortunately these included the Tessar lens, which Jurgen had found impossible to focus for reasons even he wasn't sure of, and the Compur-Rapid shutter. In their place were a Xenar 7.5cm f/2.8 and a Compur shutter. The maximum shutter speed was now 1/250, rather than the Compur-Rapid's 1/400, but then again, the Compur worked. (We had discussed these replacements in email before he installed them, so the changes were made with my approval. I have found Jurgen to be an honest, reliable, and reasonably communicative camera restorer. He's the man if you have an old folding camera that needs work.)
    1. Welta Weltur 6x6
    I've put a couple of rolls of Delta 100 through the Weltur since it arrived, and results are generally decent, though I find an occasional completely whited-out frame, the cause of which is uncertain. I can't say I really enjoy shooting it all that much, mostly because I find it awkward having to look at the red window on the back while advancing the film. My eyes aren't what they used to be, sadly, and I find it hard to read anything through the dark red glass. Still, the Weltur is by far the most compact medium-format camera I own, so it has its uses. It actually fits into my jacket pocket, though it rather weighs down whichever side I put it on.
    The Xenar lens is pretty good, but it is rather flare-prone, probably due to being uncoated.
    2. Menlo Park office building
    3. Lagoon's edge
    4. Under the canopy
  2. Nice series. Glad to see you got this beauty up and running. I like the Lagoon's Edge.
  3. Somewhat rare and most collectable, Craig. Nice acquisition and an interesting post.
  4. A compact 6x6 camera is good to find and keep. Nice restoration.
  5. Excellent results. I think they capture that "vintage" look that some talk about. I feel you need to get a pre-war lens or older
    All of your shots are very nice and give this fat mid tones and little weakness in the high end that gives the vintage look. I have a 645 with a Tessar/Compur (200) I thnk and the Tessar is just too good it delivers nice crisp results. The Xenar though is a (Tessar type design) I wonder if these flare more often then their uncoated triplet brothers ie the lack of coating is more prone than the design or both!
  6. It actually fits into my jacket pocket, though it rather weighs down whichever side I put it on.​
    That's why you need two.... or a lightmeter of similar weight.

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