View Full Version : Retina IIa problem

10-12-2010, 19:17
Hi, excuse me for barging in and mmaking my 1st post a cry for help :eek:

Today I aquired a Retina IIA in overall nice condition.

It does however have one problem...

The Lens/Shutter assembly is not parallel to the film plane..

It is off enough to be visible to the eye, and gently but firmly, I can press on the left side (by the focus "knob") and bring it more parallel.

Also I can see that when I do that, the resulting Focus distance is more correct.

The Locking "folder" pins DO lock into place in the proper postion.
But there is room left for the folding cover pins to travel in thier slot.

So the big questions.. was this caused by previous owners attempting to folder when not at infinity focus, and how to fix (lets assume for now I may be able to do this, lol.)

BTW, it will not focus at Infinity in the rangefinder view.

The good part is the camera does work, and test shots at about 15 feet, F8, show a lot of promise! :D

Thanks in advance for your suggestions and advice.

10-12-2010, 19:45
My guess is that the shutter retaining ring is not screwed in tightly. It's a common problem with folders. Open the camera back and check it with a small screwdriver tip in one of the notches in the retaining ring. Be careful so you don't scratch the bellows.

Chris Sherlock has many tips on Retina repair and adjustments:



10-12-2010, 20:10
Thanks, will look at that.


Watching the folding mechanism, it appears this might also be caused by worn guide pins (pardon lack of correct terminology)

the pins at a right angle to, and connect the moving arms to the flat guides that run along the top and bottom of the body interior.

. I can see these are "tilted" a good bit, and as I press on the shutter/lens/bellows assy, these pins angle back in such a direction - that one might surmise would be correct for pins in good condition.

these "pins" (or screws?) are the ones that have a smooth brass exterior.

Would be nice to know how to remove the bellows and arms assembly! Hope its not one of those "remove all leather" things....the body Leather is really nice on this one.

10-12-2010, 20:11
Chris's Site is a real blessing. Great of him to share the knowledge.

10-12-2010, 20:24
Can you post pictures of the problem?

10-12-2010, 20:34
Chris's Site is a real blessing. Great of him to share the knowledge.

Yes, and he is a very nice guy too, and very helpful if you have questions. He is a member on this forum, but seldom seen. If you don't get the answers you need here, drop him an email.

Most repair men will only tell you wether they can fix a problem or not, and how much it would cost, but not how to fix it. :D

My avatar shows the lens and shutter assembly on my Retina IIa, but it's the rare pre-war model. A bit different from yours, as I assume you have the more common post-war model. :)

10-12-2010, 21:08
Thanks, I can see what pics I can do tommorow..might be tough!
I will take some pics of the camera itself also, heck that's a requirement!
It's for sure a post war. Lever wind.
A Serial number is on the flash shoe, EK 460688.

Have the Leather case in good condition, and I also have the complete Flash unit and mounting bracket, and .... a Manual ! :)
It was a Craigslist find. :)

10-13-2010, 20:12
Looking at the track with the lens facing you, you will see a notch in the left end of the track. The two pins you are talking about (one top one bottom are on arms of spring steel and should click into those notches both at the same time. If the pins are not vertical the arms are bent.

Though I have been known to work on a camera or two if the arms are bent and I wanted to keep the camera I would drop an e-mail to Chris see if he wanted to take on the repair.

10-14-2010, 16:04
the pin (one of two) as can be seen in focus in the interior:


10-14-2010, 16:05
the Camera:

10-14-2010, 16:06

10-15-2010, 00:28
That sure looks like one of the bottom struts is off all together. Bottom should look like the att.

10-15-2010, 06:34
Yes indeed.

Funny, how one can find repair info and parts list on the internet...

except for the one model you own ;)

10-15-2010, 11:54
You going to try and pop it back into the lock button? Could be that's all you'd need to get the camera functional enough to see if you actually enjoy it.

10-21-2010, 06:06
Rich, the locking pins behind the shutter/lens assy do lock and then pop out into place, if thats what you are referring too. So I dont think I can do much more with them.

10-21-2010, 08:57
Yup that's what I was referring to.

Strange. On the first picture the roller I see there is, on my camera, directly below the locking button when the camera is full open.

You might try using a bamboo skewer or some such to gently push on it. With the camera full open all arms should be rigid, no movement at all in any direction.

Have fun
Rich L

10-23-2010, 07:48
Funny, I do have Bamboo skewers! :)

Chris Sherlock
11-11-2010, 22:30
G'day All,

The damage to the struts mechanism will have been caused by drop damage most likely. Sometimes you will see marks on the lens/shutter assembly, other times the camera dropped on carpet or similar and there are no scars to be seen.

You can only really straighten the struts by removing them from the camera body. This is certainly not a task for the faint-hearted. It involves removing the lens/shutter assembly using a suitable spanner, then remove the helical focus mount from the front standard. There are four larger screws holding it to the front standard, and four small black screws holding it to the bellows.

The film advance lever, the rewind knob and the camera top cover must be removed, followed by the rangefinder.

At the bottom of the camera you must remove the surround from the tripod socket, peel back the leatherette to about halfway along the baseplate.

There is one screw at the top of the camera and one at the bottom forming the hinge-pins for the front 'door'. Remove these and spring the door off the front standard.

The struts mechanism is held into the body by one screw at the top, one at the bottom, and two on the inside of the film cassette chamber.

You can straighten the struts carefully in a vise until the front standard is parallel with e rear rails. Note that the shape of the arms is such that the struts mechanism must be under tension when contained by the body casting. This provides the spring tension to lock the release buttons in position when the bellows are open.

The rear rails of the struts mechanism hold the guide bracket for the shutter-cocking transfer shaft at the top and there is a spacer washer fitted in a similar position at the bottom.

As usual, reassembly is just the reverse of the above process.

Regards, Chris