At the time, Kodak simply adopted the already-developed lineup from their new German subsidiary, but new cameras were certainly to come…and my were they beautiful. These early German Kodaks were masterpieces of metal and glass, crafted to exquisite and exacting standards that still stand up to this day. While they may not be quite as collectible as Leicas from the era, many including myself consider them to be almost there regarding quality and beauty.
There are still few cameras that can compare to a Leica, but the Retina comes just about as close as any of them. From there, it only went down hill. Yet while Dr. Nagel was now under the leadership of the American Kodak, he nevertheless continued to innovate. At the time, 35mm film was a fairly ubiquitous standard. There was only one problem: the film had to be loaded in the dark.
Without a pre-loaded film cartridge, the camera itself had to be re-loaded in the dark each time. Run out of film outside during the day? Tough luck. Better find a dark room! As one can imagine, this was a problem that many sought to remedy, as it would allow greater flexibility and ease of use for the format.
Leica was the first to propose a solution, releasing a reusable canister that photographers could pre-fill in their darkrooms and insert into the camera in the field. While this certainly made the problem much less…uh…problematic, Dr.
He proposed that Kodak, the world-wide leader in film and new owner of his business, sell 35mm film pre-loaded in cartridges. He went so far as to design the cartridges to retro-fit into existing Leica and Contax cameras, giving the format an already established group of cameras. Still, he designed an entirely new camera line that would launch with the cartridge giving users a Kodak-branded camera to kickstart it all off.
This camera became the first of the Retinas…the finest cameras Kodak ever sold. Thankfully for all of us, Kodak ran with it. We still use these Nagel-designed film canisters today. Through the years, these cameras developed and changed from the original Retina 1 type by adding new features, refining old ones, and growing sturdier, stronger, and more resilient. All in all, 11 Retina models were produced with many sub-types.
They sold well, compared favorably with the competition, and gave Kodak the high-end product they had needed to fill the void in their lineup. They were expensive, and few were sold. In , the last folding Retina considered the best Retina line was produced. Gradually, Kodak pushed Nagel toward cheaper and more profitable models, often at the expense of quality and craftsmanship. Eventually, the lineup was nothing more than a shell of what it had formally been.
Yet before this deescalation of quality, the tiny German company was able to produce one of its finest products and what many today consider to be the best Retina and best camera all around that Kodak ever produced: the Retina IIIc. The retina is a beautiful camera.
Even 64 years after it was built, this refined tank of a camera still stands up to the daily grind. Debuting in , the IIIc was a remarkable camera for its time, and remains remarkable today. Utilizing a relatively unique folding design, the IIIc followed its predecessors by folding smaller than any SLR, yet maintaining image quality on par with its larger brethren.
Breaking from the previous models, the lens was now supported by a track built into the body itself, rather than relying on support from the more fragile lens cover door. When extending the lens, I can honestly say it feels solid…almost as much as a non-folding SLR. This folding and unfolding action is fast, accurate, and easy to do without much practice.
Additionally, bellows were now completely contained within the camera body rather than exposed, giving the camera a more robust feel, and making light-leaks much less likely this especially helps when purchasing a camera this old, as often exposed bellows are cracked and contain holes. Just the right size in my opinion.
The leaf shutter fires incredibly silently, allowing covert street photography and a respectfulness in situations where noisy SLRs might be undesired. For those unfamiliar with leaf shutters, they are built into the lens itself, rather than the back of the camera near the film.
Aside from a few other benefits notably, better flash-sync speeds , noise reduction is the largest benefit for many. Exposure on the camera is done with the EV scale. Why did we ever abandon this method? For those unfamiliar, the Retina is the typical rangefinder design still utilized by Leica and others. Instead, the viewfinder shows you an approximation. Lucky for all of us, the integrated lens cap on the Retina removes the need for a separate cap…just be sure to watch your grip!
Focusing is done by matching up two superimposed images that show through the viewfinder. I will say that the viewfinder is likely the weakest point of this camera, in my opinion. Also, if you wear glasses, you may have some issues because you really have to slam your eye against it to see the full field of view. Honestly, though, this is really my only complaint. Winding is done by a lever on the bottom of the camera, which frees up some space on the top of the camera.
While every feature I spoke about above makes this camera simply fantastic, at the end of the day, film cameras are essentially light boxes. Remember to hold the camera carefully. Covering the light meter or the lens by accident could cause problems.
I will say, using this camera has been a tremendous treat. There are certainly times when I enjoy shooting with something that has full auto, like a Canon 1V or a Nikon 28ti, but often I just want to get back to the basics. Give me something manual that feels good in the hand and looks good on my side. On that note, I love the look of this camera. Those who know me know that appearance is nearly as high on my list as usability and quality.
Give me beauty and brains when it comes to my purchases, or give me nothing at all. Thankfully, this camera has both. I think a lot of people might wonder why I write so much about the historical standpoint of each camera about which I write. And yet for some reason, the history of a camera determines quite a bit for me. I want to know why designed it, who built it…what cameras came before and what problems they were trying to solve. All of that adds to the intrigue, and the character.
Part of why I love this camera is that it marked the end of an era for Kodak. Never again would they produce a camera of such quality, with such exacting detail. That makes it unique in my eyes. It gives the camera a sort of secondary purpose: to remind us of what was and how things used to be. Perhaps this reminder will inspire us to change what will be. Some people might laugh at me, but film photography is appealing to me for a great many reasons, including the way it makes me feel.
It takes me away from a world obsessed with electronics and auto-everything and makes me think…makes me feel. Hi Terry, i know what you mean with playing with the cameras — i do that sometimes while watching TV: cocking the shutter, looking through the viewfinder, matching the rangefinder patch, pressing the release button and listening to the softly purring sound of the full second again and again … I love the way these german manufacturers of the ies solved every photographic challenge with purely mechanical means and how each of their cameras features its very own set of audible and tactile sensations.
A Leica is so different from a Rolleiflex or a Retina or a Contaflex and that makes owning more than one of these mechanical marvels so enjoyable. I had a Contaflex III a long time ago and loved it. The accessory lenses of the Retina remind me of the Pro-Tessars of the Contaflex which were heavy chunks of glass and metal too — but much easier to focus because the camera was an SLR. Hold on to your Contaflexes — i wish i had held on to mine.
Love the look of these Retinas. I may have to hunt one out. Bravo to you. Hi Julian, i think the Vito CLR is a very nice, cuddly camera, about a generation older than the Retina IIIC when folders got out of fashion and coupled light meters were the latest craze.
I have a Retina 11c with a 50mm Xenon 2. If the slow speeds of any between the lens shutter sticks open, just operate them over and over again without film of course and it may take 20 or so actuations and usually they will come right. I prefer the Retina 11c to various Leicas of a similar vintage I have owned. Hi Graham, congratulations to your IIc. I think it has the better looks than the IIIc as the light meter somehow looks like an afterthought to me.
In my opinion they were the best cameras that Kodak ever made. I started in photography in with a Kodak Brownie box camera I still have. They bought it in i think and produced the Kodak Retinas before the war there. Actually my uncle gave me an old Retina I many years ago. He used the little camera for taking pictures of his rather ambitious hikes in the bavarian alps. I still own the camera and shoot a film with it once in a while — works like a charm 80 years after its production date.
Hi Thomas, Thanks for that update. Hey Thomas, nice write up on your site! Funny i was checking here to see if anyone already did an article about this fantastic camera.. I have one retina iia, one iiic and two IIICs.
I love these them! Have you tried the version with the heligon rodenstock lens? Hi Dave, you are lucky to own a Retina with the Heligon produced in my home town Munich. I would like to have one of those, preferably a IIIC. Must keep an eye open at Ebay. Do you think the Heligon is better than the Xenon? Please post your link to your retina snaps, i am looking forward to it very much.
Take some of those exciting pictures instead that can be seen following your link. Thank you very much for that, these are great photographs shot with a great camera.
I recently did a restoration of a Kodak Retina IIa from the early s. This version was manufactured from As do most of this model, this one has a Schneider Retina-Xenon f2. Film processed in Xtol stock by inspection under red safelight yes, this film is totally red blind! I passed the church yard when the Sun suddenly was peeking out of the clouds. The almost theatrical light made the sceene look like a movie set from an Ed Wood film - with grave stone props and Bela Lugosi lurking around.
A Kodak-moment for me and my Retina. Here is a picture of the camera: flic. I just restored a rather abused Kodak Retina IIa this week, and took it out for a test this morning - loaded it with a half roll of Astrum MZ-3 and processed it in Xtol stock. I rarely used these wider apertures because with a 60 year old rangefinder, there's no guarantee that its focus will be as accurate as it was when it was new. But today I decided to give it a go and shot a few frames at f4. The rendering of this beautiful Schneider Retina-Xenon lens at the wider apertures is really astonishing.
Photographed with a newly restored Kodak Retina IIc, f2. Developed in Rodinal for 8. Film: Svema MZ3 processed in Xtol for 7 minutes. Great negs, excellent contrast and definition. Explore Trending Events More More. Tags Kodak Retina IIa. Related groups — Kodak Retina IIa. Landing - Film Kodak by Alan. Image taken with an Analog film camera.
Press "L" or click on the image for a large view. Location: Winter Park, Florida. Detalls arquitectonics al Eixample, Barcelona. Modern architecture in L'Eixample, Barcelona. A rare moment by Paul Barden. Rails by Will Foster. Press "L" for a large view. El Tintin del carrer St. Ongoing works in a street in my hometown, Sabadell.
December Light by Will Foster. Particularly nice hazy light that day. Time-Travels: Packed up and ready to go Scotland by uncoated Retina IIa test by Paul Barden. Photosurreal Tree by Will Foster. An accidental computer generated moire pattern from a 35mm negative scan. Sort of spooky and Dali-esque I thought. Amazing, the photo was taken with a year-old camera. Time-Travel: Sunset in the Highlands Scotland by uncoated Documenting the Kale crop by Paul Barden.
Nagel continued to innovate including developing the Retina folding cameras around the new Kodak preloaded 35mm film cartridge. Prior to this, most 35mm film was loaded by the user into proprietary cartridges in a darkroom or light-tight bag. In the early s August Nagel was developing a 35mm camera and a preloaded disposable 35mm film cartridge, which would also fit in Leica and Contax cameras.
Nagel was an expert in miniature cameras; his Vollenda miniature folder, along with the Ranca and Pupille collapsible cameras were smaller than the Leica and Contax cameras, but could use 50mm f The advantage of 35mm would be the elimination of the paper-backer allowing more images per roll of film.
These folding Kodak Retina cameras are listed below with their respective years of manufacture. While the previous photohistorical literature gave both a pre-war 3-digit "Type" code for each Retina and Retinette model and a post-war 3 digit "Type" code for each Retina or Retinette model, recent research indicates that the term "Type" can only be found for the post-war Retina and Retinette cameras in the contemporary Kodak AG documents.
In the pre-war times, a number nummer, Nr. So, in the interest of historical accuracy, pre-war Retina and Retinette cameras have a "Nr. The first Retina, Nr. The successive model: Nr Retina followed in with minor modifications to the Nr.
The Nr. In a Nr. Also in , the Nr. Late versions of the Type Retina I have a black lacquer finish to the body edges. The last pre-war Retina I is the Nr. Production of these two camera continues until spring of Both the Retina IIc and Retina IIIc had interchangeable front lens elements with f:5,6 35mm and f:4 80mm front lens components available; however, the cameras could not be folded closed with the accessory lenses. Type Ausf.
I Retina IB was also introduced at this time. The fifth and final generation of folding Retina cameras with capital-letter B or C suffix was introduced in , the same year as the Type Retina Reflex system. This group had slightly taller top housings, with upgraded single range exposure meters and the addition of a larger, bright-line viewfinder.
The Retina Reflex SLR camera systems were introduced in and produced in several iterations to With these the entire lens detached allowing for a wider range of focal lengths, 28mm to mm. At this point economical Japanese SLRs were becoming available and the Nikon F of would set the standard for future camera system.
The Reflex III of and Reflex IV of brought minor improvements with the former offering a metering needle visible in the finder, and the latter allowing shutter and aperture settings to be visible in the finder. The Reflex IV was produced until Kodak produced a series of non-folding rangefinder and viewfinder cameras under the Retina label between and The initial models were very similar to the last folding Retinas, 5th generation capital letters series.
The IIS was slightly smaller Retinette frame with similar features but did not have interchangeable lenses. Several models of "Automatic" Retinas followed, on the IIS frame, without interchangeable lenses, but with coupled automatic metering, where in auto-mode the meter adjusted the aperture.
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|Type accented characters mac retina display french o||Retina was the brand-name of a long-running series of German -built Kodak 35mm camerasproduced from until Remember to hold the camera carefully. The fifth and final generation of folding Retina cameras with capital-letter B or C suffix was introduced inthe same year as the Type Retina Pioneer hpm 150 system. The front and back groups are each composed of three elements in two groups, and both have a serial number visible on the kodak retina ring. Focal length ; 50mm.|
|Nikon zoom||Kodak Brownies and the like are still so plentiful even years read article because of this very fact. Kodak AG also offered a companion line of less-expensive Retinette pioneer hpm 150, with similar looks and function. Kodak followed the model currently employed by printer companies everywhere: sell cheap printers that require expensive ink. For those unfamiliar, the Retina is the typical rangefinder design still utilized by Leica and others. Debuting inthe IIIc was a remarkable camera for its time, and remains remarkable today. I had a Contaflex III a long time ago and loved it. Hi Terry, i know what you mean pioneer hpm 150 playing with the cameras — i do that sometimes kodak retina watching TV: cocking the shutter, looking through the viewfinder, matching the rangefinder patch, pressing the release button and listening to the softly purring sound of the full second again and again … I love the way these german manufacturers of the ies solved every photographic challenge with purely mechanical means and how each of their cameras features its very own set of audible and tactile sensations.|
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|Student discount newegg||Main article: Kodak Retina Reflex. Here are pioneer hpm 150 few samples for your viewing pleasure. The lens door opens up by gently pulling and moving the cover opposite of the small silver knob. The front and back groups are each composed of three elements in two groups, and kodak retina have a serial number visible on the retaining ring. And yet for some reason, the history of a camera determines quite a bit for me. Exposure on the camera is done with the EV scale. Housing project at high noon.|
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Retina was the brand-name of a long-running series of German-built Kodak 35mm cameras, produced from until Kodak Retina cameras were manufactured. Kodak Retina I is a 35mm film folding camera, manufactured by Kodak AG Stuttgart, Germany, and produced between and Kodak Retina Nr. Buy Kodak Retina Folding Cameras and get the best deals at the lowest prices on eBay! Great Savings & Free Delivery / Collection on many items.