Welta Weltaflex – first time out with a TLR

Light and shadow

I like this photo, which is just our coffee table with a couple of candy dishes in the afternoon light. I tried to over expose it enough to get a strong contrast between light and dark. I like the vase of flowers almost floating in the background, and also the texture of the table accented by the shadows. Composition-wise, it’s not that interesting, so I guess this is mostly about light and shadows.

This was my first time out with a twin-lens reflex camera. I really like the whole process of looking down into the viewfinder to compose the picture. It takes time and makes you think. That’s a good thing. I used a  hand-held Sekonic L-248 light meter, another step that slows you down. With a TLR, it’s more about each shot, not taking a quick burst of shots  and choosing the best one. I consider myself lucky if I end up with even one decent photo out of a roll when I’m just shooting around town or the house to play with a camera.

Welta Weltaflex

The Weltaflex is a low-end TLR made in the former East Germany. My model has “Made in Germany, USSR Occupied” on it. There are supposed to be strips of leatherette on either side of the lens, but they peeled off. I’ve since glued them back on, but they’re still curled.

The camera  comes with a three-element lens. Still, the photos are reasonably sharp with good contrast. Using a tripod, I could shoot this easily at 1/30, and could go slower although the viewfinder goes dark in dim light making focusing difficult. The camera also has double exposure prevention. You have to advance the film before the shutter will cock. The film advance knob stops when you get to the next frame so you don’t have to mess with the red window in the back.

This was also a test for some really cheap 120 film I bought online – Shanghai GP3 100, $12 for 5 rolls including shipping. Looks like it’s more than adequate, although I’ve read other people have had trouble with the backing paper coming loose.

One thing I did have trouble with was in framing the pictures. You have to compensate for the difference between the positions of the viewing and taking lenses, which I never quite figures out on this first roll. The image being reversed left to right also takes some getting used to, especially when you have to pan to make small adjustments to the framing.

Here’s what I mean about the difference between and viewing and taking lens perspective.

Moran Plant, Burlington waterfront

The railing wasn’t in the viewing lens so I had no idea it was in the frame.  I thought I had the tripod high enough to clear the railing. Oh well.

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3 Responses to “Welta Weltaflex – first time out with a TLR”

  1. Hi,
    I’m thinking about buying a Sekonic L-248. How do you like using it so far? Any opinions, would you also recommend it? How about the size?

    Great photos by the way. I ended up spending some time looking up info on all the cams you’ve used. 😀

    Gene

    • Thanks comments. I like the L-248 quite a bit, but I’ve been using this meter on and off for more than 20 years so I’m pretty used to it. Not sure this would be the one I’d get today. It’s about palm size, fits well in hand, but it’s thick enough to fill a shirt pocket. You need to use the Wein cell or create a jig for one of those hearing aid batteries, though, as this takes he old mercury 625 cell. Also, the old system of reading which EV the needle points to, turning the dial then getting the f-stop/shutter speed combinations is definitely slower than today’s digital readouts.

  2. msogavt Says:

    Sorry for the late reply. I’ve tried several times to take a decent picture of the back of the lens assembly, but I’m afraid I don’t own a digital camera good enough to produce more than shadows.

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