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View Full Version : Worth dipping my toes in the world of Retina?


nickthetasmaniac
07-05-2017, 18:22
Hi all, I've come across a local seller with a full Retina kit for sale, and I'm pondering if it's worth having a punt.

They're selling:
- IIIc and IIIC bodies with Field Cases
- 35/f4, 35/f5.6 and 80/f4 lenses, all in original cases/boxes
- 50/80 Model C frame finder
- Flash which I can't identify at the moment

It all looks clean and I'm trying to establish the functional condition, but at $200aud ($150usd) does it seem worth a go?

Thanks, Nick

Ranchu
07-05-2017, 18:36
These are good cameras, the IIIc at least will likely need to have the finder cleaned, and the RF re set. I don't expect the meters to work on these..I guess it would be a nice surprise. I think the earliest iteration of the IIIc had the aperture numbers beneath the lens, which is annoying.

madNbad
07-05-2017, 18:39
Great pocket cameras, often one or the other would bring over a hundred USD. The lenses are very good and the diamond rangefinder patch works well. Best of all, Retina Rescue is in NZ if you encounter any problems. It's not not a huge outlay of cash and you will find they are fun cameras to use.

Sarcophilus Harrisii
07-05-2017, 18:43
Hi all, I've come across a local seller with a full Retina kit for sale, and I'm pondering if it's worth having a punt.

They're selling:
- IIIc and IIIC bodies with Field Cases
- 35/f4, 35/f5.6 and 80/f4 lenses, all in original cases/boxes
- 50/80 Model C frame finder
- Flash which I can't identify at the moment

It all looks clean and I'm trying to establish the functional condition, but at $200aud ($150usd) does it seem worth a go?

Thanks, Nick

I must admit I have not checked the prices for those models, but last time I noticed (probably a year or two ago) just the two working bodies would easily have fetched that and more, let alone with the additional lenses.

Bear in mind that classic German cameras with lens shutters, as found, are often in need of at least some cleaning of the shutters, Nick, and with the Retinas you do have the added complication of cocking rack issues with some models to be wary of, it is a known weak point. It's not unusual for shutters to stick (at the slower speeds, particularly, but potentially all of them), for self timers not to run off, and for optics to require cleaning. Hence you shouldn't necessarily expect to be able to simply drop in a film and begin shooting. Not that I am a Retina expert in any way I hasten to add, and I am sure other members can often more specific advice, but I have had plenty of experience with the same basic shutters these cameras use, and with German classics in general, so I do have some basis for the above observations Nick.

I have never gone down the path of acquiring a classic Nagel Kodak (I wouldn't mind a Retina Reflex as I like lens shutter SLRs). But the IIIC and IIIc models are, I believe, regarded as two of the more desirable models, so if I wanted a Retina or two, at those prices, Nick, I would certainly transact. Just across the Tasman in New Zealand one of the best Retina technicians Chris Sherlock can do anything required to get these cameras back into excellent shooting condition if needed.
Cheers
Brett

Contarama
07-05-2017, 19:58
At that money...a must buy.

nickthetasmaniac
07-05-2017, 23:59
Thanks for the thoughts everyone, very tempting...

Ranchu
07-06-2017, 00:12
Get one at some point anyway, they're good. :) I meant to add the finder of the IIIC is easy to clean up, if needed.

Arbitrarium
07-06-2017, 00:24
I got a Retina II for 25 and it's my new favourite camera. Pocket sized, really quick to use, amazing f2 lens, really bright rangefinder. And it looks stunning. I much prefer the angular Retina models to the fat ones, and I'd rather have manual shutter cocking than be worried about a brittle wind lever linkage.

I often question why I have any other camera because everything about it is great.

raydm6
07-06-2017, 02:01
Yes! Definitely.

I own a mint, cased, Retina Reflex III SLR with a Retina-Xenon 50mm 1.9 (meter is working also) which I purchased in a consignment shop for little money and sent both from Boston to Chris in New Zealand for a CLA (http://retinarescue.com/). He did a wonderful job. It is running like a well oiled machine now. So fun to shoot. He does excellent work and is wonderful to chat with.

These are wonderful machines and deserve to be preserved if funds allow.

Enjoy your new kit!

ACullen
07-06-2017, 04:37
My new (to me) Retina II type 014, is a joy to use despite a fairly mucky viewfinder. It feels perfect in hand, the long travel of the shutter release isn't a hardship. The lens is simply stunning. It fills the brief of genuinely pocket camera but with full manual control with precise focus.

I don't think I'd have the same interest in the latter bigger models IIc/C etc.

rajmohan-fotograf
07-07-2017, 00:05
Hi all, I've come across a local seller with a full Retina kit for sale, and I'm pondering if it's worth having a punt.

They're selling:
- IIIc and IIIC bodies with Field Cases
- 35/f4, 35/f5.6 and 80/f4 lenses, all in original cases/boxes
- 50/80 Model C frame finder
- Flash which I can't identify at the moment

It all looks clean and I'm trying to establish the functional condition, but at $200aud ($150usd) does it seem worth a go?

Thanks, Nick

Hi Nick,

I started with a IIa, and liked it so much that I subsequently acquired 2 IIIc's (with 35/50/80mm Schneider and Rodenstock lenses and finders), and most recently 2 IIICs (one of which I gave away).

I have shot with all of them, and had Chris Sherlock (Retina Rescue) overhaul the IIIc Rodenstock; he does do a fantastic job.

Superb cameras, and easy to use + very compact (but the last 2 comments only apply to the 50mm lens); once you mount the 35mm or 80mm front cells, the camera becomes quite ungainly and you cannot close the lens door! So at least for me, the 35/80mm are just items of interest with which I rarely play (also, they are not optically as outstanding as the 50). Most of the time, I use them as 50mm fixed lens RFs, and with that in mind, they deliver! The lenses are superb - in my opinion, at least as good as any of their contemporaries. The cameras are well made, and only one of mine needed a service (for slow shutter/dim VF/RF); all of the others have been perfectly usable as I bought them.

If the finders are clean and the RF is aligned, and the shutter sounds accurate above 1/30 (below 1/30 is a crapshoot when looking at an unserviced 1950s era camera, anyway), it is a good deal. Knowing what I do now, I wouldn't bother with the additional lenses, unless you don't mind living with their limitations. The IIIC has a bigger, brighter VF than the IIIc, but unlike the latter (which only has a 50mm frameline), has all 3 framelines permanently visible, which may or may not be a little annoying - but it's not hard to get used to this.

If I can help further with your choice, feel free to message me. :)

rajmohan-fotograf
07-07-2017, 00:09
I have never gone down the path of acquiring a classic Nagel Kodak (I wouldn't mind a Retina Reflex as I like lens shutter SLRs).
Cheers
Brett

Brett - I have a Retina Reflex (original version) and we may be able to work out a trade or something. Let's talk if you're interested! :)

Sarcophilus Harrisii
07-07-2017, 00:13
Brett - I have a Retina Reflex (original version) and we may be able to work out a trade or something. Let's talk if you're interested! :)

Hi Raj,
We might be able to work something out, certainly. I'll FB message you.
Cheers,
Brett

Dralowid
07-07-2017, 01:42
When thinking about older Retinas pare a thought for the competition...

Welta Weltini, beautifully made, Tessar etc etc. Something different.

Capt. Apparatus
07-07-2017, 01:56
That's a great price for a great bit of kit, I'd say go for it!

I remember my first retina, a wonderful little IIC still in the box with instructions. It cost me about 40$ if I'm remembering correctly. Of course after that the GAS bug bit me good and I decided to pick up a IIIS. It's a great camera and I've been slowly picking up the lenses for it here and there. Picked up some neat, if not goofy accessories too.

Frontman
07-07-2017, 02:34
I have the IIIC, and it is one of the cameras I have never been tempted to sell (I can't say that about my Leica M cameras, several of which have passed through my hands). The IIIC is pocketable, has a superb lens, and is a great camera. It needs a little practice to get used to, but the learning curve is short. Maybe I have been lucky, bur I have never come across a Retina with a dead meter. The meter sometimes doesn't work right off, but with a little fiddling, they often come back to life.

Phil_F_NM
07-07-2017, 11:05
My IIa is one of my very favorite cameras I've ever owned. I can't speak for the later models but if they are built like the II and IIa then you'll be very happy. The 50mm Xenon lens is easily a competitor with my DR Summicron and the whole Retina weighs as much as the DR lens itself!

Phil Forrest

rfaspen
07-07-2017, 12:04
That would be a relatively risk free purchase. If you didn't like the Retina experience, you could definitely sell those cameras on to new owners, and likely end up with money in your pocket in the end. Or....you may find you really like the cameras. The IIIc and IIIC are the most desirable models, when they work. That's the key part .... "when they work". They may want some attention to become fully enjoyable.

Still seems worth the jump. I like all my Retina cameras, but they've all developed cloudy cruddy finders over the last several years and I'm too lazy and "camera-rich" to deal with them. But fond memories of those very small and capable tools.

nickthetasmaniac
07-10-2017, 18:28
Thanks again for the advice everyone, I appreciate it!

Unfortunately, it turns out that the kit had sold the day before I contacted the seller (after not selling for 6 months...). Pity, because you lot have got me keen to give a Retina a go!

Ranchu
07-10-2017, 22:46
Well then, I'll just say I like the little c's the best. They're big enough to hold onto, the door opening button is right where it should be, the aperture readout is right where it should be, and they have a nice finder, with framelines.

:)

Arbitrarium
07-11-2017, 00:36
My new (to me) Retina II type 014, is a joy to use despite a fairly mucky viewfinder.

Mine's a type 11 and it was very easy to remove the top and clean the viewfinder/rangefinder. Not sure if it's as easy with a type 14 but can't imagine why it wouldn't be. Definitely worth a clean, the tiny viewfinder needs all the help it can get, and afterwards my rangefinder is one of the brightest I've used.

ACullen
07-23-2017, 13:45
Mine's a type 11 and it was very easy to remove the top and clean the viewfinder/rangefinder. Not sure if it's as easy with a type 14 but can't imagine why it wouldn't be. Definitely worth a clean, the tiny viewfinder needs all the help it can get, and afterwards my rangefinder is one of the brightest I've used.

Took the lid off my Type 014 , and cleaned away all accessible surfaces. I didn't remove the RF. I achieved a brilliant clear view through the VF until I replaced the top. The inside surfaces of the front and rear glass must have needed more cleaning as I realised. I'll repeat the process now that my confidence in my abilities to not ruin the camera has improved.

Turns out that my lack of interest in the little c models was incorrect. I came across a very nice IIc ,in great condition. It is a little bulkier but it's undoubtedly quicker to use and the bright line finder is better than the Type 014. I rather like the coupling of SS and aperture. They are quickly decoupled . Together with my II they make a fine pair of Retinas.