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Question about focusing
Old 12-15-2010   #1
Double N
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Question about focusing

So I'm about ready to tear into my Retina IIa and I noticed something that I want to verify before disassembly. I noticed that my focus ring can be turned almost to where it says "Feet" on the focus ring. I also noticed that the camera keeps focusing on close items past the 3.5 mark. This would tell me that the focusing ring isn't calibrated. I can actually close the camera with the focus ring spun either to Infinity -OR- past 3.5

Any thoughts or suggestions on how to fix this before I tear into it and get in trouble?

The picture is of the camera and doesn't show the focus ring spun all the way past the 3.5 towards "Feet".

Kodak Retina IIa (016) by Double N Kenn, on Flickr

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Last edited by Double N : 12-15-2010 at 09:30.
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Old 12-15-2010   #2
bkrystad
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I can verify that the focus ring goes past 3.5', what I notice is that it goes until the 3.5' hash mark is in line with the far f/16 depth of field mark. This makes sense to me as it simply says that at f/16 the furthest distance in focus is 3.5' away. Of course, it's not telling you what the closest object in focus is, or even whether anything will be in focus closer than 3.5'. But it is certainly telling you that nothing beyond 3.5' will be in focus.

As for being able to collapse the lens when the focus ring is anywhere but infinity, I would assume that's something that should be corrected. Risk of putting pressure or tension on something when the cover comes down on it. But I'm not sure what components are involved, never been in there. Good luck!
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Old 12-16-2010   #3
Tom Harrell
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The Retina IIa lens must be set to infinity to collapse and close the cover. That is the way the camera was made! If you can find an instruction book it is mentioned in the book.
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Old 12-16-2010   #4
Double N
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkrystad View Post
I can verify that the focus ring goes past 3.5', what I notice is that it goes until the 3.5' hash mark is in line with the far f/16 depth of field mark. This makes sense to me as it simply says that at f/16 the furthest distance in focus is 3.5' away. Of course, it's not telling you what the closest object in focus is, or even whether anything will be in focus closer than 3.5'. But it is certainly telling you that nothing beyond 3.5' will be in focus.

As for being able to collapse the lens when the focus ring is anywhere but infinity, I would assume that's something that should be corrected. Risk of putting pressure or tension on something when the cover comes down on it. But I'm not sure what components are involved, never been in there. Good luck!
Hmm....so yours does that too. Weird. Maybe it's supposed to? Well then I guess I'll figure it out as I go along. Worst case I screw something up, cry, and move along. Best case I don't screw something up, rejoice, and take pictures with the camera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Harrell View Post
The Retina IIa lens must be set to infinity to collapse and close the cover. That is the way the camera was made! If you can find an instruction book it is mentioned in the book.
Cheers,
Tom
I know that it must be set to infinity in order to close but I assumed that was because with the focus ring set at 3.5 at the spot where I would assume it stop and not move further, there isn't any clearance between the little knob and the camera body. With the focus ring spun past that mark then there is clearance - which I didn't think should be there. I haven't closed it completely with the ring set anywhere other than infinity but thought I'd check here before tearing into it.
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Old 12-16-2010   #5
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The reason it doesn't close anywhere but infinity is because the mechanics behind the two buttons you press simultaneously at top and bottom to release the cover and allow it to fold are blocked from depressing anywhere but infinity -- that's the "not sure what's in there" I'm referring to. I assumed the reason the lid shouldn't be allowed to close is to maintain distance between the cover and the front of the lens, avoiding damage, and that it didn't have anything to do with the focusing tab being in the way.

I'd say if you can move the cover to close at all when it's not at infinity, you have to take it apart to repair the latches or the components that interact with the top and bottom collapse buttons. Maybe it's the focus ring, maybe not, someone else can say.
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Old 12-17-2010   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkrystad View Post
The reason it doesn't close anywhere but infinity is because the mechanics behind the two buttons you press simultaneously at top and bottom to release the cover and allow it to fold are blocked from depressing anywhere but infinity -- that's the "not sure what's in there" I'm referring to. I assumed the reason the lid shouldn't be allowed to close is to maintain distance between the cover and the front of the lens, avoiding damage, and that it didn't have anything to do with the focusing tab being in the way.

I'd say if you can move the cover to close at all when it's not at infinity, you have to take it apart to repair the latches or the components that interact with the top and bottom collapse buttons. Maybe it's the focus ring, maybe not, someone else can say.
Well after playing with it last night a bit - took off the lens, took out the tiny little screws that hold it together, unscrewed the two parts of the lens, promptly forgot which way the lens fit in there, lucked out when I realized that it only goes one way, cleaned the lenses and put it all back together, took it all back apart when I noticed that they just kept "fogging up", cleaned them again and left it apart to dry out fully - I realized that while the cover will start to close with the focus ring past 3.5, it would actually close. I also noticed that the little release pins don't push down like they should at that focal length.

Combine that with your input and I've come to the conclusion that there isn't anything wrong with the focusing. I also decided that I'm just going to take the viewfinder mechanism out and clean it (it's all yellowed inside) and pretty much leave it alone. The shutter cocking arm moves smoothly and, while I think the shutter is a little slow, I'm going to try running film through it first before I dig in that far.

I'm excited to run the first roll of film through it. I'm so excited that I may take pics before I even clean the exterior!
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Old 12-18-2010   #7
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I'd be interested in hearing how the rangefinder cleaning goes. Mine has the gold shading, too, but I don't know how much of that can be corrected.

But the photos with the IIa should be great, post them when you can. Enjoy!
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Old 12-18-2010   #8
Double N
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkrystad View Post
I'd be interested in hearing how the rangefinder cleaning goes. Mine has the gold shading, too, but I don't know how much of that can be corrected.

But the photos with the IIa should be great, post them when you can. Enjoy!
I'll try to take pics of the rangefinder cleaning to show the level of frustration, err... I mean how easy it is to do.

I just ran a roll of el cheapo CVS 200 speed color film through it and will be dropping it off tonight for processing. I went with cheap film for the first run through as I want to see how the camera does; it might suck due to a number of internal reasons (light leaks, etc..) so I figured I'd see the output first before running some TriX through there. Fingers crossed.

Also found out that the Metraphot light meter that came with it actually works. Well the needle moves around a lot in sunlight and such so I used it to judge the camera settings....hopefully it isn't way off.

I don't have a scanner at home so I'll post the pics next week.
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Old 12-18-2010   #9
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Love the image of your kodak
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Old 12-18-2010   #10
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If you remove the lens, make sure that you reset infinity. And then reset the rangefinder to infinity.

Good luck. These are nice cameras. Some people think the Retina IIa lever wind was the best of the Retinas.

Here's my Retina IIa:

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Old 12-18-2010   #11
Double N
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeissFan View Post
If you remove the lens, make sure that you reset infinity. And then reset the rangefinder to infinity.

Good luck. These are nice cameras. Some people think the Retina IIa lever wind was the best of the Retinas.

Here's my Retina IIa:

Wait a second....reset infinity? Reset the infinity in the rangefinder? Just for unscrewing the front lens? How does one go about doing these resets? For the record I didn't take out the "inner" lens or the shutter mechanism just unscrewed the "outer" lens and took it apart to clean inside it (there was moisture in there it seems).

Also: I've looked in the owners manual for the answer to this question (pretty useless) and looked online (pretty useless too, as it turned out); what is that little button between the shutter release and the wind lever? What is it for? What does it do?

BTW...nice looking Retina! Mine currently has the leather off the sides and front (center) due to the glue letting go. I'm going to try to salvage the leather by cleaning conditioning it and then I'll sand off all the residue on the body before gluing the panels back on.
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Kodak Retina IIa (016)
and the "other" camera:
Canon 40D - Sigma 17-50 2.8 OS

Photostream at Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/50519056@N00/

Last edited by Double N : 12-18-2010 at 12:45.
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Old 12-18-2010   #12
Double N
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lxmike View Post
Love the image of your kodak
Thanks! Of course it was taken with a digital camera but we won't tell anyone about that.
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Old 12-18-2010   #13
JPD
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double N View Post
Wait a second....reset infinity? Reset the infinity in the rangefinder? Just for unscrewing the front lens? How does one go about doing these resets?
Chris Sherlock has some nice "how to" pages:

http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~Srawhiti/
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