View Full Version : Retina IIIc - Any Issues?

09-20-2006, 08:58

I'm a newb here; I've owned a Zorki 4/Jupiter 8 outfit for a few years and love it. Yesterday, I came into possession of a Kodak Retina IIIc. It appears to be mechanically sound and very clean; it was previously owned by a camera repairman, who passed away recently; I acquired it at the estate sale.

I made a rudimentary check of all shutter speeds, f/stops, film advance, etc - all appear to be functioning normally. Several corners of the leatherette cover were coming loose, so I glued them back. The Selenium light meter appears to not be functional; the needle will barely move, even with a wide variance in light falling on the cell. I can live with out the meter, as I'm used to shooting the 'sunny 16 rule' with my Zorki, and I have a hand-held meter, if needed.

The Schneider lens appears to be very clean, with little or no issues that I can see. I noticed that the outer lens assembly is removable, by rotating the lens so the white and red dots line up, it'll pop right out; were there accessory lenses available for these cameras, or is this feature just so the shutter could be accessed for cleaning? There also appears to be an accessory bayonette ring around the outside of the lens, perhaps for some specialty mount of filter.

I intend on putting a roll of film through it soon to find out for sure how it works. But in your experience, what kind of reliability can I expect with the Retina IIIc? Are there any common problems or issues with these cameras that I should be aware of? My initial feeling is that this little camera appears to be built like a 'swiss watch'; very solid and well-engineered.

I like the film winder on the bottom of the body, rather than the normal position on the top. And the leaf shutter is very, very quiet. I expect this camera to be very nice for discrete street shooting. Your comments are welcome.

09-20-2006, 09:17
The front lens element is removeable so that a telephoto or wideangle front end could be attached. I have the WA lens, a 35mm Schneider Curtar, but never used it. It is very slow (f4.5 I think) and the supplementary viewfinders are even rarer than the lenses.

The Achilles Heel of the Retina IIIc is the cocking rack, the brass toothed gear rack whgich translates the rotary motion of the wind lever into the linear motion needed to cock the shutter and move the film. It has been known to strip. However, it is still available as a replacement part.

It is indeed very quiet. I use mine as a theater camera in dramatic productions, shooting from the audience. In amateur productions, no one seems to get uptight about available light photography. I shot this one last Spring with my Retina IIIc.



09-20-2006, 09:28

A Retina 111c will take accessory lens elements, 35mm and 85mm, and can be equipped with a custom finder. A nice bayonet hood can also be fitted. The shutter cocking / film wind mechanism is a frequent weak point and the finder is often dimm and is a bit squinty. The lens, a f2.8 Xenon, is very good and generally pristine while the syncro-compur shutter occasionly needs service for the slow speed escapement.

They are a joy to use!

best of light

09-20-2006, 09:45
The IIIc is a good and reliable camera with one of the best lenses available anywhere. If you take a little care with the winder the cocking rack won't be a problem. Just don't force anything. here's one of many good Retina sites: http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~Srawhiti/index.html.