View Full Version : This little thing is pretty awesome

04-03-2011, 22:25
So, I really only bought my Retina IIa because it looks cool. Then I actually used it and have rethought my whole abandonment of 35mm film (and carrying an Agfa Isolette III as my walk-around camera). The Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Xenon 50/2 is awesomely sharp.

My frame counter is broken, and half the time I forget to manually adjust it which means the end of the roll comes as a complete surprise. I've read that it's easy to destroy the shutter cocking mechanism by attempting to force a tight lever, so I try to take care not to get too happy with it.

Anyway, this is clearly worthless without pics so:

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5138/5535948978_03bc60eb01.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/macktruckturner/5535948978/)

Rail - Velvia 100
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5187/5582700295_638927b470.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/macktruckturner/5582700295/)

Bluebonnets - Velvia 100
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5262/5582700243_5458a58920.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/macktruckturner/5582700243/)

Just a couch from my first test roll through the camera (Delta 100 in DD-X)
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5173/5536337989_6ea3490786.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/macktruckturner/5536337989/)

04-03-2011, 22:55
They are a really pretty camera IMO ... I've often thought about getting one!

Nice pics too! :)

Brian Legge
04-03-2011, 23:05
I've had similar rants here. I picked up a IIIc I found at an antique store on the vague recollection someone had good things to say about it. No real expectations going in.

It has since become my go to camera when I want sharp negatives. I almost picked up a IIa since for the smaller size. I occasionally carry the IIIc and a TLR or folder for times where I want to take faster snapshots between large negative shots. :)

04-03-2011, 23:38
Are these made in the US?

Todd Frederick
04-03-2011, 23:49
I think that they were made in Germany.

04-04-2011, 00:04
I think that they were made in Germany.

Interesting... A pretty little camera for sure!

04-04-2011, 00:35
I think that they were made in Germany.

Positive. It was made by Kodak AG, who bought Nagel (of Stuttgart) in 1931.

04-04-2011, 06:50
Positive. It was made by Kodak AG, who bought Nagel (of Stuttgart) in 1931.

^ What he said!

It's a great little camera. I'm still underwhelmed by the size of a 35mm negative but for the purpose of an 'always on me' camera I can see the benefit of having three times the number of exposure opportunities even if the resulting negatives are roughly a quarter of the size of a 6x6 frame. The coupled rangefinder certainly makes the Kodak better suited for springing quickly into action and yielding sharp, in-focus, images than my Isolette III with its uncoupled rangefinder.

05-04-2011, 21:41

Scan of a darkroom print I made from a Tri-X negative (pushed to 1600 in DD-X) taken in my Retina IIa.

This camera has solidified its position as my walk-around camera.

05-04-2011, 21:57
My IIIc ended up in a drawer at my parents house years ago, but I remember having a lot of fun with it. Folded it becomes a really rugged package, with rounded corners that fits in any pocket. I also always thought the bottom winder on the IIIc was really neat. Not at all awkward.

05-05-2011, 10:53
It's quite heavy for its size, but I do like how solid it feels. Slips right into a pocket and the lens is very sharp. Does fantastic with both B&W and color films (slide and negative). My counter is broken, and I seldom remember to advance it manual after each shot, so the end of the roll tends to sneak up on me. I usually have a decent idea of when it's coming, but it's been a complete surprise at least twice.

05-05-2011, 11:26
I've got a Retina Ia here, I like it. But it misses a rangefinder and the 50mm 3.5-lens isn't too fine, either :bang: Maybe I should get another one.

05-05-2011, 11:39
I have 4 Retinas. of which only 2 work.

My first Retina was a IIIc. It has the most beautiful lens, but the shutter was flaky. About 80% of the time, the shutter didn't actually open. I found a procedure for fixing the cocking rack, but it didn't work for me. As a result, the shutter now does not fire at all.

That's why I acquired the other 3 Retinas. I have an old Retina I, I believe. It's beautiful, but it has a film transport problem.

Then I have a IIa and a IIc, both of which work very well in all aspects. I admit, I am very careful with the film advance, knowing what I know.

But the Schneider Kreuznach lenses are superb.

05-06-2011, 10:20
Indeed, the lenses are great. I'm also quite careful with the film advance having read numerous horror stories. Each time I use it is smooth and deliberate. If there's a hint of hesitation, I stop. Breaking the cocking rack is certainly not on my list of things to do!

Jack Conrad
03-06-2012, 17:46
Xenon f2

03-06-2012, 17:49
Yep, I'm a big fan of this camera still. Even bought another 35mm SLR, but I find myself only using the Kodak.

On expired Agfa APX400 pushed to 3200 in DD-X
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7164/6827513089_8d063990cc_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/macktruckturner/6827513089/)
Around town (http://www.flickr.com/photos/macktruckturner/6827513089/) by Anthony J. Martinez (http://www.flickr.com/people/macktruckturner/), on Flickr

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7171/6827515821_ccfb6db60c_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/macktruckturner/6827515821/)
Around town (http://www.flickr.com/photos/macktruckturner/6827515821/) by Anthony J. Martinez (http://www.flickr.com/people/macktruckturner/), on Flickr

03-07-2012, 05:34
this is truly a great, historic and underrated line of cameras. even though they bear the kodak name, they were all made in germany, as were the lenses, mostly by schneider-kreuzach and rodenstock.

i have used the 'reflex' series cams, which are interchangeable lens cams where the aperture setting is built into the camera lens housing. the III and IV are split screen focus, the S is a rangefinder, all with metering, the S having it on the camera top which makes it far less convenient than the 'in vf' III and IVs. interestingly the accompanying lenses are almost all interchangeable between the rf S and the slr-like III and IVs, except for some 50/1.9 lenses. what an amazing feature that i have not seen on any other camera system(s).

for those of us who use mirrorless cameras on the digital side take special note that the 'reflex' lenses for the III, IV and S can easily be used to great effect with commonly sold dkl>whatever adapters, which allow for aperture adjustment. i personally have the entire lens set and love how they render on my ep2, actually better rendering than my otherwise excellent zeiss planar contax lenses. while the 135 and 200 really lack contrast, the 35,85,50/1.9&28 are really great, listed in order of IQ quality, imo.

one has to be careful with any camera in this line, folder, rf or slr, because the complex shutter arrangement easily breaks and virtually no one fixes them.

03-07-2012, 05:42
This is a fantastic little camera. I have 2 as well as a couple of IIIc's.

03-07-2012, 05:52
Everyone needs a retina lla!


05-25-2012, 20:24
I concur with Frank. So I got one. Here are a couple from the first roll, taken from a dark interior of a bright late winter day facing west:



11-29-2012, 09:33
Agree with the previous posts. I have a Retina IIa and IIIc (small c), both are fantastic cameras. The IIIc was missing the flip up lid for the meter, so I had to buy a parts camera to get the lid. Little did I know that depending on when the camera was made that the lids are designed differently. My IIIc had a lid catch on the bottom right of the meter bezel, the parts camera lid had the catch on the left side. Luckily the meter was working in the junker, so I was able to swap the entire meter assembly which included the lid.

11-29-2012, 20:36
I just got a IIa with a bent focusing ring. I rebuilt the rangefinder but have to fabricate a spanner wrench to take out the lens to get to the focusing ring, then I can fix it and put everything back together and calibrate the rangefinder. A lot of work to be done, but I'm loving it - and I'm learning every little bit about rebuilding these things! And this thing has no serial number. I have it apart and can not see one anywhere.

A picture from yesterday:

Chris Sherlock
11-29-2012, 22:21
G'day Pirate,
The reason this camera has no serial number is that originally the serial number was stamped on the accessory shoe, which would have been fixed with screws from the inside of the top cover. They were prone to coming adrift. The shoe fitted at the moment came from a later Retina or Retinette, and it looks like it has been fixed with rivets.
Regards, Chris

11-30-2012, 07:20
Thanks, Chris, it is indeed fixed with rivets. I was really wondering about that. I might use this as one of my Black Paint models. And you were right about how thin the chrome is. I was using a scotch-brite pad to knock off some gunk on it and it went right through the chrome. Very, very thin.