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Kodak Retina and Ektra Rangefinders This forum is for 35mm Kodak Retinas and Ektras rangefinders. The Retinas are known for their German engineering, relatively modest price and superb lenses. The Ektras are known as by far the finest 35mm American made rangefinder ever made.

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The Ektra is alive !
Old 07-01-2009   #1
Mael
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Smile The Ektra is alive !

A friend of mine has sent me two Ektra for repair.

One is a near mint sample, the other a used one.

The first has good curtains, but the shutter was blocked. The second has broken curtain. Both have cloudy VF/RF; misaligned RF both in vertical and horizontal.

After removing the top of the better preserved sample, I could see how easy it is to work on this camera. Some told the shutter from this camera to be unreliable, but I think it is like Contax style : it needs to be serviced regularly. And in this case, it is quite a simple shutter. The camera indicates last serviced by EKC rochester in 1955. It was in need of care !

After cleaning the shutter, all the gear, retensonning the spring that actuates the timing for the slow speed arm, lubricating gently the parts that are put under stress when working, and adjusting the shutter speeds the best way I can, here are the results from the shutter speed tester.

1s at 1.1s
1/2s at 1/1.9s
1/5s at 1/4s
1/10s 1/9s
1/25s at 1/32s
1/50s at 1/55s
1/100s at 1/90s
1/250s at 1/190s
1/500 at 1/380
1/1000 at 1/620s

Not too bad, finally, for this ancestor.

I worked the full day on the RF VF for cleaning, and readjusting. The lens needed to be fully taken apart to remove hardened lubricants and removing have between the internal elements of the Ektar 50mm f/1.9 lens.

After putting all the parts together, it looks great, I think it will eat a roll of Kodachrome, it deserves it.

BTW : I love this camera. I wish I had one...

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Old 07-01-2009   #2
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What a beautiful machine. How are the lenses for this beast? Any good?
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Old 07-01-2009   #3
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Very envious, fantastic camera. For me, this year is 'The Year of the Contax I', I was rather hoping to get my hands on an Ektra for next year's user but fear they may be a tad spensivo!

Michael
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Old 07-01-2009   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuikologist View Post
What a beautiful machine. How are the lenses for this beast? Any good?
I have never been disappointed with Ektar lenses from this era, to me they are the best lenses made in their time. I used a Chevron, the lens was a awesome performer, both in color and B/W. I regularly use a Medalist I from 1944 and despite the coating is very light, it is very sharp. I intend to test the 50 f/1.9, we'll see, but I do not have any other lenses to test. (The 35 f/3.3 designed by Altman, the same responsible for the Heliar type lens from the Medalist, surely must be a nice lens too.)
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Old 07-01-2009   #5
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Let's see some photos if you have any. I am busy reducing my film cameras, but this is intriguing.
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Old 07-01-2009   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mael View Post
The camera indicates last serviced by EKC rochester in 1955. It was in need of care !
Ah, these fly-by-night cowboy technicians, doing cheap and nasty CLA's... Only a bit over half a century and already it needs re-doing!

Seriously, I last handled one of these in the 1970s and I have to say that although it's technically fascinating, with an excellent rangefinder, I thought at the time that it's of vastly more interest to a collector than to a user: if I just want to take pictures, I'll go for a Leica every time. I've not changed my mind in the intervening 30-odd years, even though the camera is extremely pretty and the original post inspired a flash of acquisitiveness.

Tashi delek,

R.
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Old 07-01-2009   #7
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For sure it would be a pain to use every day as a pro shooter. But it was very modern camera back in 1941. And the goal is just to have fun with it !

Just a picture made with a 1950 Ektar from the 6X6 Chevron and Velvia 100 at f/5.6 : (I love Ektars)

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Old 07-01-2009   #8
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Quote:
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(I love Ektars)
So do I. But a young friend needed a 'standard' lens for 4x5 so I sold her my 203/7.7. And you know... I don't regret it. Then again, I still have a current 210/5.6 Rodenstock and a 168/6.8 Dagor.

But as you say, if you just wanna have fun...

Cheers,

R.
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Old 07-01-2009   #9
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When the working day is done,
Oh,girls,
They wanna have fu-un,
Oh,girls,
Just wanna have fun....

Ho Hooo....
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Old 07-01-2009   #10
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Lovely photo with great depth and a modern (film?)/ vintage (lens?) feel.
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Old 07-01-2009   #11
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Mael,

I'm a huge admirer of your work...

Robert

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mael View Post
For sure it would be a pain to use every day as a pro shooter. But it was very modern camera back in 1941. And the goal is just to have fun with it !

Just a picture made with a 1950 Ektar from the 6X6 Chevron and Velvia 100 at f/5.6 : (I love Ektars)

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Old 07-02-2009   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mael View Post
Wow! That is one beautiful camera. And quite pricey.

(A search of the 'bay found the cheapest one to be $1400 at Photo Arse & All.)

The machined aluminum double helical lens mechanism is very appealing. Btw, it's very similar to the Medalist I and IIs, that can be had for about one tenth the price, or less. I recently acquired a Medalist I. The negatives are HUGE-- 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 inches. I only put 1 roll through it yet. The negatives are so large you don't need a loupe. However, I now have to upgrade my enlarger to a medium format type.
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Old 07-02-2009   #13
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That's great news about the shutter. I've only seen the patent application online, & it sure looked complicated in that rendering!

I managed to snag an Ektra off eBay a few months ago that, miracle of miracles, actually worked right out of the box. Surprisingly, the 1/1000th sec. appears to be more accurate than some of Leica M bodies, which come in closer to 1/800th @ that setting. IIRC, mine has a sticker inside indicating that it was last serviced back in the 1960s.

I've only posted 1 photo w/the Ektra in my RFF gallery:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/showphoto.php?photo=105442&ppuser=736

Here are some more on flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/furcafe...kektrac194041/

As far as usability, the primary thing that slows me down w/the Ektra is that the shutter release & film advance are on the left side, forcing me to reverse the normal roles of my hands. So, yes, it's not as quick in my hands as the other great American 35mm RF, the Foton.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mael View Post
A friend of mine has sent me two Ektra for repair.

One is a near mint sample, the other a used one.

The first has good curtains, but the shutter was blocked. The second has broken curtain. Both have cloudy VF/RF; misaligned RF both in vertical and horizontal.

After removing the top of the better preserved sample, I could see how easy it is to work on this camera. Some told the shutter from this camera to be unreliable, but I think it is like Contax style : it needs to be serviced regularly. And in this case, it is quite a simple shutter. The camera indicates last serviced by EKC rochester in 1955. It was in need of care !

After cleaning the shutter, all the gear, retensonning the spring that actuates the timing for the slow speed arm, lubricating gently the parts that are put under stress when working, and adjusting the shutter speeds the best way I can, here are the results from the shutter speed tester.

1s at 1.1s
1/2s at 1/1.9s
1/5s at 1/4s
1/10s 1/9s
1/25s at 1/32s
1/50s at 1/55s
1/100s at 1/90s
1/250s at 1/190s
1/500 at 1/380
1/1000 at 1/620s

Not too bad, finally, for this ancestor.

I worked the full day on the RF VF for cleaning, and readjusting. The lens needed to be fully taken apart to remove hardened lubricants and removing have between the internal elements of the Ektar 50mm f/1.9 lens.

After putting all the parts together, it looks great, I think it will eat a roll of Kodachrome, it deserves it.

BTW : I love this camera. I wish I had one...
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Last edited by furcafe : 07-02-2009 at 01:54.
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Old 07-02-2009   #14
Mael
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rlouzan
Mael,

I'm a huge admirer of your work...

Robert


That's kind. I'm trying to make these oldies live...
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