Taisei Super Westomat 35

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Taisei Super Westomat 35

There are two models under this name.

  • The earlier is a three-windows version, viewfinder/rangefinder combination.
  • The second has two windows, a rangefinder only, commonly called Super Westomat 35 II. It was sold as Welmy 35 M-3 and Super Welmy

The naming convention echos the Welmy 35, also sold as Westomat 35. Taisei kept recycling model names, I assume to keep the legacy and recognition.

The Taisai / Taisei brand and the Welmy/Westomat models are offensingly unknown, as much as being bundled for sale with a Bentley WX-3. Muuseo.com suggests that this model was the export version of Welmy 35 M2, only the M2 was a viewfinder, so perhaps he meant the M3. The models marked <EP> were sold in the GI-only stores in Japan, which rules out export. From what passes by for sale, there are some marked <EP> and some unparked. There is a mention of this model sold in 1957 by Kalimar and Miller Outcult for $44.95.

If you cannot find this camera, don’t despair; there is a framed print for a mere $71.58.

Super Westomat 35

I got this camera from shopgoodwill.com, attracted by its looks. As with all bargain purchases there, it was a disaster. All stiff, no skin. Nevertheless, a few syringes of lighter fluid and a good dose of patience brought it back to life. A new, elegant grey skin dressed it up, courtesy of Vvivid dressed it nicely.

The Super Westomat 35 is a clear descendant of the Westomat 35 / Kalimar A1. The body is the same, with a modified top cover and lens assembly.

At the top, a lever winder replaces the knob on its older sister. A different frame counter, a cold shoe and a slightly larger and shorter rewind knob.

While the Welmy 35 was a viewfinder, here they added a rangefinder viewer as well, Leica style. Only, where the viewfinder viewer is functional, large and clear, the rangefinder is useless. It is tiny, captures little field of view, and is dim. The nameplate is screwed on, assumingly allowing for more distributor names to come. The lens assembly is a mighty structure. Again, some elements were carried forward from the Westomat, but the added features look like an afterthought. A large lens base, serrated for looks, houses a window showing the aperture value. As with the earlier model, the aperture setting is via an arm at the bottom of the lens barrel.

In front of it is the speed setting dial, which is almost usable. The extra shutter cocking lever of the Westomat 35 is gone. It was redundant to begin with. At the extreme front is the focusing dial, assisted with a Kodak 35 style sprocket that meets the right-hand index finger. I wonder what lefties will do. The lens ring happily turns without that extra sprocket. The sprocket seems to convey the movement to the rangefinder mirrors. Two large claws are at both sides of the lens barrel; one is to cover the said mechanism, and the other just for balance looks. It was fashionable in German models then; see the Paxette models.

Welmy 35 M-3

Most of the features were brought forward from the first Super Westomat. The viewfinder window had gone, and the rangefinder viewer here is usable, not too large but clear enough to use. There are two mystery levers at the SW bottom of the lens assembly. My unit is frozen, so I cannot see what they are for. The manual does not mention them. I will elaborate when the camera is back to life. The winged breastplate of the earlier models is replaced with a modest plate, above the lens only. A film type is on the winder lever. Two eyelets are added, the first on the Taisei models. In place of the camera model nameplate of the previous models, there is an elaborate settings table. The camera name is on the rewind knob.

Camdex list number 36352 16742
Brand Taisei Taisei
Model Super Westomat 35 Welmy M3
Manual Butkus
Value camdex.ca camdex.ca
Format 35mm 35mm
Introduced 1956 1956
AKA Super Westomat 35 II
Country Japan Japan
Qty made
Initial price 45
Currency USD
Type Rangefinder Rangefinder
Body material Metal Metal
Mode Manual Manual
Weight 555 gr,  Body with lens 580 gr,  Body with lens
Class average weight 666 gr,  Body with lens 666 gr,  Body with lens
ASA range N/A N/A
Kit lens 3.5/45 3.5/45
Lens make Terlonon Terlonon
Filter size N/A N/A
Lens mount Fixed lens Fixed lens
Mount size N/A N/A
Shutter Leaf Leaf
Shutter make
Light meter None None
Winder Lever Lever
Lock No No
Speeds B, 25-200 B, 25-200
Mirror N/A N/A
Viewer Rangefinder / Viewfinder Rangefinder
DOF preview No No
Exposure lock No No
Exposure compensation No No
Shoe Cold Cold
External sync Yes Yes
Sync speed 50 50
Timer No No
Battery, original N/A N/A
Battery, replacement N/A N/A
Battery voltage N/A N/A
Integral flash None None
Service / repair links See camerlog.com See camerlog.com
More Reddit

Super Westomat 35 images


Welmy 35 M-3 images


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