Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Welta Perle

I snagged this fine little Welta Perle with an f/3.5 Tessar on ebay for $20 as the only bidder.  Hard to believe that such fine examples are going for such trivial prices.  I attribute it mainly to the scarcity of film in retail outlets and the disappearance of local one-hour film processors.  In this specific case, the seller also inadvertently torpedoed his chances of a better price by scrupulously entering in the camera's description that the shutter was not working on the B and T settings.  He was evidently unfamiliar with the fact that one does not need to cock the shutter when using the time settings on the old Compurs.  In fact, there is nothing at all wrong with the camera.

I shot a roll of Tri-X and processed it in Rodinal.  That gave me some period authenticity for the images, though it didn't really show off the nice qualities of the Tessar.



side channel

The Welta Perle superficially resembles cameras from the same era made by Certo and Balda, though it is considerably more compact that the Dolly Super Sport as it is not dual format and shoots only in the 6x4.5 format, yielding 16 frames from a roll of 120.  The construction is very sturdy and innovative in the details.  I haven't found an on-line manual for the camera, so I'll share a few quick observations about it that are helpful in getting started with using it.  First, the operation of the back latch is not immediately apparent.  My first inclination was to try to swing out the little lever, but it actually just needs to be slid to the left to allow opening the back.

The Perle is unusually well-designed to avoid light leaks which are a problem in some similar cameras of the time.  On this model there is no need to tape over the ruby windows as the rotating light guard provides protection from light leaks between exposures.

Inside, the camera has shrouds which cover the film on both ends.

The supply side shroud can just by rotated to allow introduction of the film roll.  On the take-up side, the advance knob must first be lifted outward to allow rotation of the shroud to put the take-up spool in place.

There is not a lot of information on the web about the Perle.  The company may not have been as commercially successful as some of the other makers of the time, but this model seem just as well built to me as the Zeiss and Voigtlander offerings available.  Several key components are identical to those on competition machines including the Compur shutter, the Tessar lens, and the flip-up finder.

1 comment:

Jim said...

Thanks for your review of this interesting little camera. It looks like it has some features and some durability that makes it a good choice for shooting today.