Belca Beltica

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Beltica (first model)

The Beltica was a folding camera for 35mm film, one of the first products of the East German VEB Belca-Werk, the former plant of Balda-Werk Max Baldeweg in Dresden. The distance selection wheel below the camera's optical viewfinder allowed proper vertical parallax correction. Another modern feature was the exposure counter whilst the lens was a traditional construction with folder, shutter and lens combined, but with shutter-release button on top of the camera body. Besides the B exposure mode it offered a T mode. In this mode the release button had to be pressed twice, the first time for opening and the second for closing the shutter.

Note that this same camera was produced in the very same Dresden factory from 1946 to 1950 as the Balda Baldina. The factory and camera names were changed to Belca and Beltica after trademark litigation issues were settled.

The camera was available with different lens/shutter combinations. The technology of this camera was used as base for the development of Belca's famous stereo-camera Belplasca.


  • Type: folder camera
  • Maker: VEB Belca-Werk Dresden (East Germany, former Balda-Werk)
  • Year of release: 1951
  • Films: 35mm

Lens/shutter combination spec. 1:

  • Lens: Ludwig "Meritar" 1:2,9/50mm
  • Shutter: Balda-Dresden, or Cludor, speeds 1 - 1/200 sec., aperture downto 1:16

Lens/shutter combination spec. 2:

  • Lens: Meyer-Optik "Trioplan" 1:2,9/50mm
  • Shutter: Cludor, speeds 1 - 1/200 sec., aperture downto 1:16

Lens/shutter combination spec. 3:

  • Lens: Carl Zeiss Jena "Tessar" 1:2,8/50mm or 1:3,5/50mm or 1:3,5/5cm
  • Shutter: Cludor, speeds 1 - 1/200 sec., aperture down to 1:22

Ludwig Meritar on Beltica
Meyer Trioplan on Beltica
Tessar on Beltica
images by Uwe Kulick (Image rights)

Beltica Model I

In true Balda fashion, the second Beltica model was referred to as the Beltica Model I. This was a completely new camera designed at the Belca-Werk factory. The lens bed is hinged at the bottom of the camera instead of the side, and a chromed top plate holds a new collapsing viewfinder. Unlike earlier Belca cameras, all Beltica Models featured unit focusing lenses.

  • Lens: Ludwig "Meritar" 1:2,9/50mm
  • Lens: Meyer-Optik "Trioplan" 1:2,9/50mm
  • Lens: Carl Zeiss Jena "Tessar" 1:2,8/50mm
  • Shutter: Vebur, speeds 1 - 1/250 sec.

Beltica Model II

The third Beltica model was called the Beltica Model II. It is very similar to the Beltica Model I except that a new fixed viewfinder is contained within the chrome top plate.

  • Lens: Carl Zeiss Jena Ludwig "Tessar" 1:2,8/50mm in a Vebur shutter, speeds 1 - 1/250 sec. or,
  • Lens: E. Ludwig "Meritar" 1:2,8/50mm in a Cludor shutter, speeds 1 - 1/200 sec.