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The Welta Perfekta is a very rare folding 120 film camera. It's a real TLR camera, 6x6 format. There were just a few folding TLRs and only two models for 120 film, the Zeca-Flex and the Welta Perfekta (Superfekta). Both were made in the 1930s, before 135 film was popular. The Welta Perfekta was made by Welta-Kamera-Werk in Freital (near Dredsden).

There are two versions about when it was first issued. Camerapedia and Wikipedia say that the Superfekta (a 6x9 model with revolving back for portrait and landscape) was issued first in 1932 and the Perfekta followed in 1934. This text has widely been copied. Obviously this is wrong. According to the literature, the owner of a Dresden camera page sent to me, the Perfekta was first shown in 1933, probably on the Leipzig spring fair, followed by the Superfekta for the 1935 spring fair. It's not sure, whether they presented pre-production models, so the production of the Perfekta may have started but in 1934. Obviously the camera had some success as the number of workers increased significantly. With the Perfekta already in production, the Superfekta may have been put to production immediately after the fair in 1935. Both cameras are shown in the firm's 1937 25-year-jubilee catalog.

There are other indications for the second version to be more probable. Being German myself, the name-giving suggests for me that they made a camera to be perfect in their eyes and they named it Perfekta, the perfect thing. But when they could make this thing even better, it would be super perfect, hence Superfekta. It seems that they had the parts from the Perfekta and modified these for 6x9 format. The writing "Superfekta" on the name-plate seems a bit too narrow for my taste, it would make sense if the space was originally made for the word "Perfekta". Another indication is that the Superfecta has a 105mm or 100mm taking lens, but a 75mm viewing lens. So it's more probable that they kept the viewing system from an already existing Perfekta and adapted the rest to the 6x9 format. Anyway, if you happen to have any proof for either version, please let me know.

Both cameras had a predecessor from Dresden, the Pilot 3x4, made by Kamera-Werkstätten Guthe & Thorsch, first issued in 1931.

As folding TLRs are quite rare, it took me a while to get my hands on a camera in working condition. Mine has a F 3.8 Zeiss Tessar as taking lens, an expensive lens in those days. So they made a matching viewing lens theirselves. Shortly after buying the camera, I found an auction lot with different Eastern German cameras, which had another Welta Perfekta in it that nobody had noticed. This is how I got my second one, it has two F 3.5 Meyer Trioplan lenses, which were cheaper in those days. I could not see any difference in photo quality between the two.

Size (mm): 165 x 95 x 70 (80 x 63 for the smaller end)
Weight: 980 g
Lens: Zeiss Tessar 3.8/75, closest focus 1.5 m, viewing lens F3.8 Weltaskop |  2x Meyer Trioplan F 3.5
Shutter: not named, T, B, 1- 1/300, F 3.8 - 22 |  F 3.5 - 22
Finder: TLR focusing screen, swiveling magnifying glass intergrated in housing
Film advance: film counter with number indication , first frame via red window

Here are some photos of the camera. There is a short introduction to the use of it and how it feels at the bottom of the page.

Camera front, bellows and screen shade closed.

Seen from the back. Red Window, film chamber opening button under under the screen housing.

Seen from the left side. Film advance knob, camera opening button (to unfold).

Seen from the right side. Film counter.

Camera front and focusing screen open. Turning the dented ring close around the taking lens sets the aperture, the second bigger ring sets the speed. Above the lens, shutter cocking lever, to the left, shutter release lever, to the right focusing lever. The two knobs in the middle, right and left, must be pressed to fold the camera.

Seen from above, focusing screen housing open and magnifying lens swiveld, little film number indication window far left.

Taking lens and shutter. There are other variants with Meyer lenses. (See further down)

Viewing lens. Distance indication scale on the lens barrel the lens, visible from above.

Left side, camera open.

Right side, camera open.

Focusing screen, quite luminous, but some stray light from the gaps in the housing and heavy stray light from gaps in the construction itself. Focus on wall, distance ca. 3 m. Often there will be only stray light from one side which can be shaded by your hand. In most cameras the mirror has to be changed. For some help see this page.

Tip-up stand unfolded. Do not forget to refold before closing the camera.

Camera back open. Yes, it seems that this camera was made for Italy.

Leather case, closed

Case open.

Second variant with Meyer lenses. Original lens cap.

Taking lens..

Viewing lens.

Right side.

Focusing sreen.
Nearly no  stray light from the gaps in the housing, but still stray light from gaps in the construction itself. In most cases it can be shaded by your hand. To get rid of the stray light from the housing, see the end of this page.

A visitor of this site, Leon Krebs, kindly sent me a photo of his Welta Perfekta that he inherited from his great-grandfather. It is another version, it has a Schneider F3.8 Xenar as taking lens and, like the Tessar version, and a Weltascop as viewing lens. The camera is in an extraordinary state of conservation. And he inherited the manual which he kindly copied for me. So finally here it is, the German Welta Perfekta Manual (link opens in a new window). Thank you so much, Leon!

A v
ersion with a Schneider F3.8 Xenar taking lens and a Weltascop as viewing lens. Photo by courtesy of Leon Krebs.

Handling a Welta Perfekta is easy, fluid and logical. It feels sturdy. It can fit into a big coat pocket, but it's quite heavy. Unfolding is very easy. Focusing via a screen is precise, a
swiveling magnifying glass intergrated into the housing of the screen helps a lot.

Film loading is very easy as well. Both spools sit in a hinged cradle, easy to lift, no fiddling to get the spools into place. Lift the film advance button and swivel the cradle out, put the empty spool and reinsert. Swivel the other cradle out, put the film spool into place. Insert film paper into the empty spool and advance to make shure it's taken. Close the back and advance to the first frame via the red window. Slide the little knob on side the film counter from A (Aus=Off), to E (Ein=On, engaged). The number 1 is already in the little window on top.

Open the camera (small button on the left, toward the film advance knob), it unfolds itself. Cock the shutter (except for B and T), set speed and aperture. Open the screen housing, set focus via the lever to the right of the lens, it moves smoothly. Action the shutter release. That's it. To close the camera put your thumbs on the two knobs on both sides of the front and with a little pressure it will fold easily.
After the first photo, turn the advance knob until the next number matches the little window. It doesn't stop automatically. The film advance counter is very sophisticated. It counts via a little fluted roll, which is moved by the backing paper. So it counts real length and cannot be fooled by the thickness of the backing paper. The counter sets itself back to 1 and to A if the film is moved further than 12. Once engaged, do not move the little roll in the wrong direction. It would ruin the counter.

I received a copy of the German manual recently
German Welta Perfekta Manual (copied by courtesy of Leon Krebs, link opens in a new window). I haven't seen an English camera manual yet. So if you have one, please let me know.

Welta Perfekta980165x95(80)x70(63)TLRAuto, DEP, RWMeyer Trioplan 3.5/75 | 1,5
Zeiss Tessar 3.8/75 | 1,5
B T 1 - 1/300 | 22 Folding TLR