View Full Version : Retina IIF Test Shoot

11-14-2014, 17:34
Along US-60 between Lexington and Buena Vista, VA lies the Ben Salem Wayside. Itís a picnic area from an era before the Interstates and their rest stops. Besides being a picturesque spot by the Maury River, it is also where one of the 9 locks from the old 29 mile long North River Navigation Company sits, having been completed in 1860. A dam was built at this location to raise the water level for the canal boats and bateaux to clear the rocky bottom of the river. The remains of the dam can be seen as a set of rapids spanning the Maury.


In present times, it is part of the Chessie Nature Trail, which can be seen across the river from the lock. The trail is named after the C&O (Chesapeake and Ohio RR) rail bed that carried the Lexington Branch before it was washed out in the Flood of 1969, and is considered the very first example of what would become the Rails-To-Trails movement.

The Ben Salem Lock afforded a 9.5 foot drop in elevation, and could handle boats as large as 15 feet wide, and 95 feet long. The river was originally known as the North River, then Calf Pasture, until the USGS formally re-named it in 1968 in honor of Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury, USN.


I stopped there to test out a Kodak Retina IIF (Type 047) 35mm fixed lens rangefinder camera (coupled focus range 3.5 feet to Infinity). I used a Kodak Skylight 32mm filter (thread size 29.5mm) because the push-on Kodak 32mm hood will not fit over the rim of the filter mount. I suppose if I had a 34mm hood, it would work without a filter. I used a roll of Kodak Gold 200 for this test. The shutter is good, though a little slow on the low speeds. The viewfinder could use a cleaning out, but the lens is okay. Focus is good, but may benefit from a slight adjustment. The rest of the camera is in good shape, with no corrosion evident, and everything working as it should.

The body of the IIF is a little smaller than a IIIc/C model, but it has a meter needle indicator in the viewfinder that is very handy, and bright line frame markings. The Gossen meter seems to be a couple of stops off, so Iíll have to see if there is an adjustment for that when I open the top. There is also a built-in flash unit that takes AG-1/1B bulbs synced at 1/30, and requires a PX-13 battery (or modern equivalent), thus the ďFĒ in the camera model name. Or you can use an electronic flash unit synced up to 1/500 with the PC socket on the camera front. Itís very easy to handle, and does not have the EV interlock exposure system, so shutter and aperture adjustments are a breeze. It has a Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Xenar 2.8/45 (f2.8 to f22) in a Compur-Special shutter with speeds from 1 to 1/500 and B, including a self-timer. The rangefinder image is a little weak, so maybe I can slip in some yellow plastic to up the contrast. The viewfinder window is in the center, but left-eye users wonít have a problem with that as the film advance lever is on the bottom of the camera. The frame counter is also on the bottom of the camera, to make room for the flash unit.


Upper Lock Entrance by br1078phot (https://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/), on Flickr

Blocks by br1078phot (https://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/), on Flickr

Corner by br1078phot (https://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/), on Flickr

North River Navigation Lock by br1078phot (https://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/), on Flickr

Ramparts by br1078phot (https://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/), on Flickr

Kodak Retina IIF Portrait by br1078phot (https://www.flickr.com/people/[email protected]/), on Flickr

See all 36 photos at:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157649295539245/