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New (to me) Retina IIa
Old 12-11-2010   #1
Double N
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New (to me) Retina IIa

Picked-up a decent looking Retina IIa (016) a couple of weeks ago from a woman who had about 20 vintage cameras (mostly Kodak and Brownie) for sale at her garage sale. Selling price? $5

Came in it's case with a Metraphot light meter (seems to still work) in it's own case attached to the camera case's strap.

The best part is that everything seems to work fine as far as I can tell. The film counter works, the film advance/shutter lever works, but the shutter is a tad slow as putting it on 1 will activate the shutter for about 5.

I originally bought it to do some external cleaning and display it on a shelf but now I've decided to clean it and see what kind of pictures it takes.

I'm pretty good with mechanical things and I'd like to try my hand at CLA'ing it myself so I visited Chris's site and saved all the "how to" articles I could find. The only thing I am unsure of is exactly what kind of lubricant I should use? Anybody have any suggestions that are more specific than "light oil, watch lube" or similar? Product names and places to buy it would be helpful.

I put some pics up on my Flickr page of all the cameras I bought - $5 each and they are all for display purposes except the Retina (at least I think so until I get crazy and decide to see about making one of the other ones work).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/50519056@N00/5249301124/
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Old 12-11-2010   #2
thawkins
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I cannot give you any mechanical advice on your Retina but as a long time (40+ years)retina I and IIa user, I can tell you the Retina is a fantastic camera. In fact I just took some fall foliage pictures with mine about two hours ago. In my camera closet are lens from Nikon, Minolta and Leica..........the F2 Zenon on the IIa is the sharpest of all on them. Get the camera CLAed, shoot some film and you will see what I mean.
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Old 12-11-2010   #3
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I picked up a IIIc (little c) for $15 at an antique store a few months ago. I wasn't specifically looking for a Retina but thought I remembered hearing some good things amount them. Turned out to be in excellent condition.

The images blew me away. Way beyond what I was expecting and wonderfully sharp without being overly contrasty. The camera actually became a regular user for me.
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Old 12-11-2010   #4
Phil_F_NM
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Watch out for the winder on those. They have a tendency to strip and not work.
As far as cleaning the shutter, I like taking the glass out of leaf shutters, making sure all the painted beauty rings are off and soak the thing in everclear. Or whatever pure grain alcohol you can get a hold of. Denatured alcohol can soften up any plastic which may be in there so I stay away from it. And the grain alcohol dries really quickly.

What lens does it have? mine had a Schneider Xenon f/2 and I also had one with an f/2.8 lens.

It was one of my favorite cameras I've ever owned but sold due to the winding/cocking mechanism going wonky.

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Old 12-11-2010   #5
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Kodak has this annoying habit of reusing camera (and lens) names. For example, I've found at least four different models named Retina II. I believe there were two Retina IIa cameras with the most common being the lever wind.

As with many cameras, the damage to the winding rack occurs when a heavy-handed user forces the film advance even though it has reached the end of a roll or for a mechanical reason has become jammed.

The shutter-tensioning rack is a weak point, because the metal from which it's made is too soft, and its teeth are easily damaged.
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Old 12-11-2010   #6
Double N
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil_F_NM View Post
Watch out for the winder on those. They have a tendency to strip and not work.
As far as cleaning the shutter, I like taking the glass out of leaf shutters, making sure all the painted beauty rings are off and soak the thing in everclear. Or whatever pure grain alcohol you can get a hold of. Denatured alcohol can soften up any plastic which may be in there so I stay away from it. And the grain alcohol dries really quickly.

What lens does it have? mine had a Schneider Xenon f/2 and I also had one with an f/2.8 lens.

It was one of my favorite cameras I've ever owned but sold due to the winding/cocking mechanism going wonky.

Phil Forrest
It has the Retina-Xenon F2 50mm lens. The winding/cocking mechanism feels tight (in a good way) with no play at all. Other than the shutter being a little slow (probably due to being gummed-up), mechanically the camera feels about perfect. It's missing the little leatherette insert on the cocking/winding arm but that's cosmetic.

Also the viewfinder is very dirty so it needs to be cleaned.

As soon as I can find out what type of lubricant to use I'll be tearing this baby down and CLA'ing her. If I'm not cursing and swearing too much I'll see about taking some pics of the different pieces disassembled and posting them.
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Photostream at Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/50519056@N00/
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Old 12-11-2010   #7
Double N
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeissFan View Post
Kodak has this annoying habit of reusing camera (and lens) names. For example, I've found at least four different models named Retina II. I believe there were two Retina IIa cameras with the most common being the lever wind.

As with many cameras, the damage to the winding rack occurs when a heavy-handed user forces the film advance even though it has reached the end of a roll or for a mechanical reason has become jammed.

The shutter-tensioning rack is a weak point, because the metal from which it's made is too soft, and its teeth are easily damaged.
This one is the post-war (016) model built between 1951 and 1954 (yeah I've done some homework).
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Photostream at Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/50519056@N00/
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Old 12-11-2010   #8
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As I write this I have a IIa beside me on my desk. I've shot at least ten rolls of 36 with the thing since I got it. Mostly Fuji 160C and XP2.

Yes, the finder is just a little bit squinty, the ratchet that advances the film can be compromised, but when cleaned and adjusted it will take very good pictures in color and B&W. Use a hood.

If the leather is bad it can be had from Camera Leather in all sorts of colors and styles.
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Old 12-11-2010   #9
Jack Conrad
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As far as lubricant goes, I've been adding a drop or two of standard light oil into a thimbleful(approximate) of naphtha, and after the cleaning with straight naptha I apply this very thinned oil solution to the bits. The naphtha evaporates and leaves a tiny thin amount of oil, too thin to possibly migrate or pool. So far it's been working fine.
I don't apply it to the diaphragm or shutter though, just the gears and widgets for some protection against corrosion.
As for grease, I just use very very small amounts of ordinary automotive green axle grease from a grease gun. Oh the horror. Of course I don't apply it with the grease gun. Hardly any really, just a small dab on my finger tip, and then only to the helicoil(sp) area of a lens.
And that's about it for lubricants.
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Old 12-11-2010   #10
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Take care when you disassemble and reassemble the frame counter. If you break that flat semi-circular spring with the stud on it, you're screwed, because the frame counter won't work.

Micro-Tools used to carry this replacement part. Don't know if they still do. It was about $25 or so, I think.
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Old 12-11-2010   #11
literiter
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Go here too:

http://rawhiti.tripod.com/
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Old 12-12-2010   #12
Double N
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Quote:
Originally Posted by literiter View Post
As I write this I have a IIa beside me on my desk. I've shot at least ten rolls of 36 with the thing since I got it. Mostly Fuji 160C and XP2.

Yes, the finder is just a little bit squinty, the ratchet that advances the film can be compromised, but when cleaned and adjusted it will take very good pictures in color and B&W. Use a hood.

If the leather is bad it can be had from Camera Leather in all sorts of colors and styles.
Thanks for the tip on the leather source as the leather on the camera is decent but not great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeissFan View Post
Take care when you disassemble and reassemble the frame counter. If you break that flat semi-circular spring with the stud on it, you're screwed, because the frame counter won't work.

Micro-Tools used to carry this replacement part. Don't know if they still do. It was about $25 or so, I think.
Got it. Don't break the the spring. I'm not sure if I'm more nervous or excited about the pending self-done CLA of the camera. I'm excited because I like the challenge of doing something like this and because it will give me a few hours (at least) where I'll be concentrating so much on what I'm doing that I won't have time (or room in my brain) to be thinking about my business, bills, scheduling, etc..

I'm nervous because I don't want to screw something up and then not have the camera be usable; which is weird as I originally bought the camera to display on a shelf. It wasn't until I started researching the cameras I bought that I decided that I'd like to shoot some B&W film through this thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by literiter View Post
I found Chris's site before I found this forum actually. Great site and very informative.
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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/
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