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Richter and (Postwar) Welta TLRs

These are here together because they are linked serially as Welta took over the Richter business in East Germany in 1950. Pre-war Welta folding TLRs are dealt with in the "German Strut-folders" page

If you find any errors on this page or have any camera I might be interested in, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. Click on the small "thumbnail" pictures below to go to larger ones.



The complete history of Richter is complex and occasionally murky. The company was founded as Merkel in 1900 in Tharandt (Dresden), producing a wide range of plate and rollfilm cameras up to its bankruptcy in 1932. Richter emerged from the the ashes (it is ironic that several pre-1932 Merkel models used the "Phönix" name, which was dropped by Richter). From this point, the company only made TLRs derived from the same base model - the Reflecta - in various names and thin disguises. It produced for several distributors (notably Sears Roebuck in the US).

After 1945, the works was in the Russian zone of occupied Germany and then the German Democratic Replublic - East Germany (from 1949). The company was renamed Kamera-Werk Tharandt under the occupation, producing essenially the same Reflecta model until 1949, when the very slightly updated Reflekta (note the change from "c" to "k") In 1950, it was amalgamated into Welta (see below).

Richter Vitaflex

Early and basic, with only the taking lens focusing by screwing in and out. This one unfortunately crudely repainted sometime, which makes it a rather shiny mess.
Taking lens Brillantar 75mm f4.5
Shutter Stelo 1/25 to 1/100

Richter Reflecta

The original Richter staple product, made in two variants between 1933 and 1949. This one is the better variant, with coupled lenses and helical focussing. Often sold rebadged.
Taking lens "Triolar" 75mm f4.5
Shutter Prontor II 1 to 1/175

Sears Trumpfreflex

This could perhaps be put with the American TLRs, but it's such a direct nameplate change on the helical-focussing Reflecta that I feel it needs to be here for comparison. It was sold by Sears in the USA around 1939-40.
Taking lens Trioplan 75mm f3.5
Shutter Compur 1 to 1/300

Richter Ricaflex

Another variant of the basic early Reflecta. It has the rudimentary Stelo shutter of the Vitaflex above, with a rather better Laack Pololyt lens. Perhaps made for a long-defunct distributor?
Lens Laack Pololyt 75mm f3.5
Shutter Stelo 1/25 to 1/100

Richter Reflekta

This was the last TLR made by Richter before its absorption by Welta (see below). It was a mild updating of the original helical-focussing Reflecta (but note the spelling change). Apparently Richter briefly made a Reflekta II, which I haven't seen. Note the front plate is rectangular like the Reflecta, without the bulge on later Welta Reflektas.
Lens E. Ludwig Meritar 75mm f3.5
Shutter Junior, 1/25 to 1/100


Another of the cluster of camera companies around Dresden, Welta was based in the suburb of Freital. Originally Waurich & Weber, the Welta tradename was used from foundation in 1914 to 1959, when the East German successor business was merged with Pentacon. Production of TLRs falls into two distinct periods. Two spectacular folders - Perfekta and Superfekta are shown on my "German Strut-folders" page.

Other TLRs all date from the DDR collective "people's camera works" period, when Welta inherited the Richter business from 1949/50 on. A whole family of models evolved from the mildly-updated prewar Reflekta, including several rebadged export models sold particularly in the US. They seem to have died off around the time of the Pentacon merger.

Welta Reflekta

Welta took over Kamera-Werk Tharandt (formerly Richter) in 1950, and immediately introduced a new version Reflekta. It's larger than the Richter version and has distinctive bulges in the front panel to the left and right of the taking lens. It was produced in several variants (all featuring the bulges) until superseded by the Weltaflex in 1955.

Lens E. Ludwig Meritar 75mm f3.5
Shutter Junior, 1/25 to 1/100

Welta Flektar

McKeown lists this model in its own right, but doesn't identify the maker. Apart from the lens, it's identical to the Reflekta and the Superflex (below), and is clearly a Reflekta variant model. For reasons unknown, both lenses, Ludwigs like the Reflekta ones, have had their name-type (Meritar?) ground off - was it perhaps sold in a market which already had a Meritar trade-name?

Lens E. Ludwig (Meritar??) 75mm f3.5
Shutter Blitz I, 1/25 to 1/100

Welta Peerflekta II

Also post-WW2, unusual name variant of more common Reflekta II (next). Stamped "Germany USSR Occupied". McKeown says c1956 - seems way too late for the USSR-occupied tag to me!

Lens Pololyt 75mm f3.5
Shutter Vebur 1 to 1/250

Welta Reflekta II

Practically identical to the Peerflekta (above), but just says "Made in Germany". I think it's probably a little later model? Anyone know better? There is apparently a Reflekta III which I haven't seen.

Lens Meyer Trioplan 75mm f3.5
Shutter Vebur 1 to 1/250

Welta Superflex

Another variant of the Reflekta. McKeown says made for Penn Camera Co. in New York. Marked "Made in Germany (Soviet Ocupied)". Very like the Flektar.

Lens ROW Polyoyt 75mm f3.5
Shutter Blitz I 1/25 to 1/100

Welta Weltaflex

Probably the most common Welta of all. Superseded the Reflekta series in mid-50s. Apparently early ones had a black nameplate - I've never seen it.

Lens Ludwig Meritar 75mm f3.5
Shutter Vebur 1 to 1/250