I have wanted a medium format camera for a while now, so I am pretty excited to have just won a Welta Garant on Ebay. Better yet, I bought the camera from Jurgen Kreckel, who is noted for specializing in the repair of Agfa Isolettes, Zeiss Ikontas and other vintage folding cameras. (Darrell Young once wrote a nice piece about vintage folding cameras called “Medium Format in Your Pocket.” The page includes an interview with Jurgen.) Jurgen says that this particular camera is a bit worn down, but it has gone through his trademark “cleaning, lubrication and adjusting.” It is also getting new bellows, since Jurgen found some light leaks.
It has numerous areas where the chrome has worn through. There are rough areas on the metal, and paint loss is pretty common in some areas… please look at the photos. It is a camera that will not win a beauty contest anymore. But, it is still a competent and solid 6×9 folder as all Weltas are, a camera you can take anywhere and not worry if it gets scratched or falls out of your pocket as you scale Mt. McKinley!
I have not found too much on the Web about the Garant, which is a pre-War (circa 1937) camera. It seems to be even less plentiful–at least in the English-speaking world–than its cousin the Welta Weltur. Like the Weltur, however, it shoots in 6×9 format on 120 film. The lens is uncoated, but it sounds like a workhorse. I am not going up Mt. McKinley any time soon, but I cannot wait to get the Garant and put a few rolls through it. I could have bought a “toy” medium format camera like the Holga or Seagull, but these days their prices are nearing what I paid for the Welta. Why not pay a little more for chrome and metal? (Although Marcy Merrill shows you what a good photographer can squeeze out of her “junk store cameras.”)
I cannot find any images on the Web taken with the Garant, but I suspect the Weltur takes somewhat similar images. Jurgen has one that he took with a Weltur, and here are some additional color images and a black & white image by Jason Tay.