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CliveC
03-04-2013, 15:16
Hi guys, I stumbled across a local seller who has a bunch of Retina cameras. I initially wanted to get a IIa for the size alone, but the person also listed a III, IIIc, I, IB, II and IIa.

Which ones should I be focusing on most? I'm looking for reliability and ease of use.

Since I have not heard back yet, is eBay a reliable indicator of Retina values? For example, is $60-80 a typical price for a IIa?

hausen
03-04-2013, 15:23
Most think the IIIC (large C) is the best. Personally I prefer the IIa because I use external meter anyway and the size is just so cool. 50mm focal length is also my go to FL. I also use a Leica 50mm finder on mine as well for framing. Neat setup and along with Rollei 35s is my favorite "little' camera.

rhl-oregon
03-04-2013, 15:26
I love my IIa (16) with the SK Xenon, especially that I got it for $30. $60-80 sounds quite fair.

Here's an interesting site for rough appraisals: http://collectiblend.com/Cameras/Kodak-Eastman/Retina-IIa-%28016%29.html.

And a Retinaphile site new to me: http://home.comcast.net/~pam971948/site/?/home/ (http://home.comcast.net/~pam971948/site/?/home/)

Dante Stella's page is the best compass for Retina-II users: http://www.dantestella.com/technical/retina.html

julio1fer
03-04-2013, 16:12
I have used Ia, II and IIIc.

Wtih reliability and ease of use as criteria, I would vote for the II. But all of those are great.

Viewfinder is better in the III series, but those are a bit larger and somewhat more awkward cameras. So it all depends on your tastes. You can't really go wrong.

CliveC
03-04-2013, 16:54
Thanks for the insight. I think I will focus on the IIa for now unless the others are in better shape.

Is it pronounced retina (as in the eye) or re-tina (like emphasis on Tina, like the name)? I believe I've heard it both ways.

literiter
03-04-2013, 17:29
The Retina IIa has a very fragile cocking lever. The Retina II does not have this cocking lever, just a knob. I'm referring to this model: http://retinarescue.com/retina2type011.html

RWaldron
03-04-2013, 18:18
I have a question. I see you listed a IIIc and a III. I'm not aware of a Retina III; a IIIc, a IIIC, and a IIIs, but not a plain old III. Is there a missing letter as regards this Retina?

Over the years I've owned a few Retinas: two or three IIc's, a IIa, a II (014), and a couple Ia's. The IIa and the II are little bigger than the I series and besides the rangefinder you get a fantastic Schneider Xenon or Rodenstock Helioplan lens. The advance lever of the IIa (and Ia) engages a shutter cocking rack that can wear out prematurely. This gives the II an advantage. On the other hand, the plain II has an uncomfortably long shutter button action; not like the more precise shutter release on the IIa. They're built to a very high standard. So are the C series, and the C series is possibly finished just a bit better: better chrome and the fake leather holds up better than the real leather on many of the earlier cameras. All tend to fall prey to yellowed viewfinders. The IIc has a wonderful feel in the hand, like a serious camera. You would probably get used to the bottom advance lever. It never bothered me. The IIc cameras I've owned aways seemed like a great compromise between pocketable size and real camera handling. Same wonderful lens, only a stop slower on the IIc. The C series also allows the use of add-on lenses in 35mm and 80mm lengths. With these lenses one has to use the rangefinder more like an uncoupled rangefinder. Not convenient, but the smaller, 5.6 35mm is useful as a scale focused accessory lens to carry along.

If small size is paramount go with the II or IIa. If you think you might want to get hold of the 35mm (forget the 80mm) or you just want a better handling package (admittably subjective) go for a C series. That's my advice. But, beyond all that is the question of condition. These are all elderly citizens of cameradom so take that into consideration. A CLA may be in order for any of them.

Randy

CliveC
03-04-2013, 18:29
I have a question. I see you listed a IIIc and a III. I'm not aware of a Retina III; a IIIc, a IIIC, and a IIIs, but not a plain old III. Is there a missing letter as regards this Retina?


My mistake. The original listing says a Retina Automatic III, not a Retina III.

colyn
03-04-2013, 18:36
The cocking lever on the IIa is not anymore fragile than any other lever. The part that is prone to breakage is the counter advance spring. If the camera has not been serviced the grease can gum up the counter and cause this spring to break. The advance lever will continue to work but the counter won't..

Chris has a good tutorial at http://retinarescue.com/retina1alever.html showing how to fix this issue..

literiter
03-04-2013, 20:33
The cocking lever on the IIa is not anymore fragile than any other lever.

Whatever.....but if it does fail, as many have....Chris has a nice article on how to repair it: http://retinarescue.com/retinarack.html

CliveC
03-04-2013, 20:46
Whatever.....but if it does fail, as many have....Chris has a nice article on how to repair it: http://retinarescue.com/retinarack.html

Very clear instructions! Bookmarked.

Brian Legge
03-04-2013, 21:32
Any chance you can see how they feel in hand first? I came across a IIIc but wanted to try a IIa given its excellent reputation here. I actually found the IIa harder to hold due to its small size (despite my evidently small hands and love of small cameras). I stuck with the IIIc. My only complaint is the metal flap covering the meter which loves to pop open in bags. I'm bound to accidentally break it off some day.

CliveC
03-04-2013, 21:40
Any chance you can see how they feel in hand first? I came across a IIIc but wanted to try a IIa given its excellent reputation here. I actually found the IIa harder to hold due to its small size (despite my evidently small hands and love of small cameras). I stuck with the IIIc. My only complaint is the metal flap covering the meter which loves to pop open in bags. I'm bound to accidentally break it off some day.

Well, I regularly use an Olympus XA, but I see your point. I will try to get a hand on all of them.

Brian Legge
03-04-2013, 21:47
The main trick of it is the way it folds open and finding a good grasp there. Maybe I just didn't give the IIa enough time to adjust. :) Any one of these cameras in good working condition is an excellent user.

CliveC
03-06-2013, 06:49
I ended up picking up two: A cosmetically fair but mechanically good IIa with the Schneider Xenon and a cosmetically and mechanically good IIIc with the Rodenstock Heligon. Paid a little more than bottom dollar, but it was reasonable. The IIIc even came with a case.

Tri-X is going into one camera right away, but which?

nparsons13
03-06-2013, 11:42
I like my IIIc a lot. I have big hands, so it doesn't seem overly large. It's the Ausf. 2 production run, with the IIIC-style meter (a single range, with no cover door). I've seen many of the Ausf. 1 with the cover door broken off, so I strongly recommend that you try to find one from the later production run.

ZeissFan
03-06-2013, 12:09
There are two versions of the Retina IIa (and Retina II). Kodak had an an annoying habit of renaming cameras with the same name.

There is a knob wind IIa and lever wind IIa. The lever wind IIa is the one that everyone likes. Be extra careful if you decide to remove the wind lever and the film advance. There is a small flat spring with a stud, and it's easily broken, which will cause your frame counter to stop working.

It shares the part with the Retina Ia (lever wind).

The Retina II (knob wind) is an excellent alternative.

The "large C" models IIC and IIIC are popular because of the large viewfinders and built-in framelines for 35-50-85. For the "small c" models IIc and IIIc, there is an auxiliary finder that slides into the accessory shoe.

All of the c (large and small) models share the same auxiliary 35mm and 85mm lenses, although in practice those auxiliary lenses are time-consuming to use.

I like the IIC and IIIC, although I'm also a fan of the II, IIa and "small c" models, too.

If you don't mind a Xenar, the rigid-front Retina IIS is an excellent camera.

Gumby
03-06-2013, 12:29
Tri-X is going into one camera right away, but which?

Put the Tri-X in the IIIc.

mretina
03-09-2013, 02:07
Must be II, IIa (or IIc) as look & small size is important and I do not see why would you need a meter. II (014) has the most retina feeling for me and I like the rewind knob. IIa is simply beautiful and is probably the peak of simplicity and functionality. Agree it can be more delicate but probably is not that important or to the extent that I would not recommend.

CliveC
03-09-2013, 14:08
Put the Tri-X in the IIIc.

Done!
Shot a bit with it yesterday and today. The uncoupled meter is more work, but I think I'm getting along okay. The flap on the meter doesn't seem to stay down sometimes.

The shutter sound is so soft that I sometimes wonder if it went off at all. My testing before I inserted film seemed fine, but I guess I'm paranoid.

murpograph
03-09-2013, 22:30
please be aware that the frame-counter has to be set to the start-symbol. It will count down and if you are at number "36" it will block the release. If so, don't panick, just adjust the counter-wheel few frames back and continue.

Regards
Udo

CliveC
03-10-2013, 09:30
please be aware that the frame-counter has to be set to the start-symbol. It will count down and if you are at number "36" it will block the release. If so, don't panick, just adjust the counter-wheel few frames back and continue.

Regards
Udo

Yes. I discovered this little tidbit while testing out the camera before I purchased it.

colyn
03-10-2013, 12:50
My favorite is the IIa and apparently my daughter's favorite also since she keeps borrowing mine.

I've been watching here and on eBay for one to get for her but most sellers must think their's is gold plated and worth a months pay or more..

The IIa is easier to carry than the IIIc/C and is every bit as good...

bitfeng
03-10-2013, 17:39
I just grabbed one from the bay for $17 shipped. It works well and, Rodenstock Heligon. Some copper green though.

My favorite is the IIa and apparently my daughter's favorite also since she keeps borrowing mine.

I've been watching here and on eBay for one to get for her but most sellers must think their's is gold plated and worth a months pay or more..

The IIa is easier to carry than the IIIc/C and is every bit as good...

colyn
03-10-2013, 18:12
I just found one on eBay for a price I am comfortable with. We'll see how it works out once it arrives..

I'll then have to decide which one to give to my daughter..

http://www.ebay.com/itm/RETINA-IIa-35MM-CAMERA-BY-KODAK-/300870390393?_trksid=p2047675.l2557&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEWNX%3AIT&nma=true&si=2FRqTSqo%252FN0%252B1E7SD5GVfMNsY4A%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

literiter
03-11-2013, 13:15
The Retinas are great little cameras. I use mine quite often, the lens shade really helps.

This is the model II.

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa19/literiter/Retina-ii-1_zpsbff738f9.jpg

JPD
03-13-2013, 05:35
Is it pronounced retina (as in the eye) or re-tina (like emphasis on Tina, like the name)? I believe I've heard it both ways.

It's probably meant to be pronounced like the Retina of the eye, like the maker of this video pronounce it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhnFYbD7Q7Y

I, however, pronounce it "Reteena". It makes it sound more like a name. ;)

CliveC
03-13-2013, 06:37
The Retinas are great little cameras. I use mine quite often, the lens shade really helps.

This is the model II.

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa19/literiter/Retina-ii-1_zpsbff738f9.jpg

Aged leather sure looks great with the camera!
My IIa didn't come with a case and my IIIc has a case which looks nearly brand new except for the straps.

CliveC
04-08-2013, 18:00
Quick question about the IIa, is the camera supposed to lock the advance if you don't trip the shutter? On mine it seems like you can keep advancing without firing. Is this normal?

Chris Sherlock
04-08-2013, 20:22
No, that isn't normal in a camera that is working correctly.

But if the mechanism is maladjusted, if you press the shutter release a little bit without pressing it far enough to release the shutter, and then let it back up, you can find that the film/shutter interlock has released the film advance allowing you to wind on again.

And, of course there are other subtle minor faults that can also do funny things to the film advance.

Regards, Chris

CliveC
04-08-2013, 20:40
No, that isn't normal in a camera that is working correctly.

But if the mechanism is maladjusted, if you press the shutter release a little bit without pressing it far enough to release the shutter, and then let it back up, you can find that the film/shutter interlock has released the film advance allowing you to wind on again.

And, of course there are other subtle minor faults that can also do funny things to the film advance.

Regards, Chris

Interesting. Does the fact that I'm testing without film impact things?

Now that I've looked at more photos, it seems like the button behind the shutter (the film release button?) is stuck in the down position.

Chris Sherlock
04-08-2013, 22:13
A camera with the film release buttons stuck down certainly counts as 'broken' to me, and no, it wouldn't make any difference if there were a film in the camera or not.

Regards, Chris

CliveC
04-09-2013, 06:08
A camera with the film release buttons stuck down certainly counts as 'broken' to me, and no, it wouldn't make any difference if there were a film in the camera or not.

Regards, Chris

Aw, that's too bad. Everything else seems to function great.

Chris Sherlock
04-09-2013, 10:20
G'day Clive,

The film release button has light return spring, so should return to the 'up' position all by itself. The base of the button rests on the top of a small lever called the 'release lever'. This lever also has a spring underneath it to push it back up, and it has a spring that serves to hold it in firm contact with the 'cam assembly', the bit that gives the advance its ratchet action.
When the shutter has been released the 'release lever' has been pressed down by the shutter release mechanism and the tip of the 'release lever' rides against the lower cam. This allows you to swing the advance lever. There is a coarse ratchet action involved that prevents the advance lever from returning until the full film advance stroke has been completed.
At the end of the advance stroke, the 'release lever' rises on its spring to the top cam, and the film advance lever is free to return to the park position.
This also leaves the 'release lever' in a position where it is free to be depressed by the shutter release, or the film release button.
With your camera, it seems likely that one or more of these components is missing, broken, or jammed.
Does the film advance lever have a ratchet action, preventing the return of the lever until a full stroke has been completed?
Regards, Chris

CliveC
04-09-2013, 16:06
Spot on assessment! Nothing stops the advance lever from returning.
Many thanks Chris. From reading around the 'net, it seems like I'm dealing with the expert on Retinas. I very much appreciate your advice.

Dirk
04-11-2013, 20:27
I have the IIIa with Schneider-Kreuznach lens. The lens is great, but a little low contrast. It's ideal for B&W.

puderse
04-15-2013, 05:24
Whatever you pay for your Retina, roll into the cost of ownership an overhaul from Chris. You'll not regret it if your retina is to be anything but a shelf queen!

You wouldn't drive your "new" '57 Chevy with a stuck valve lifter very long before it was in the shop for much more serious work!

PS: The bottom wind on newer Retinas is just plain goofy!