35mm Folders

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by maiko9, Jan 13, 2007.

  1. maiko9

    maiko9 Member

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    Do many members use 35mm folders? I currently own & use in random succession the following 35mm folders:
    Zeiss Ikonta w/Tessar
    Zeiss Ikonta w/Schneider Xenar
    Voigtlander Vito lla
    Kodak Retina lb
    Kodak Retina lla
    Agfa Solinette
    There's something uniquely, aesthetically satisfying about using these cameras. Extremely compact ( I can slip most of them in my pocket) & well protected ( as a result, most of the used cameras you find will have lenses in very good to excellent condition, regardless of the condition of exterior) As I use them primarily for outdoor scenics, their lack of focusing aids doesn't bother me (the only rangefinder among them is the lla). In fact, I find them superfluous (I use hyperfocal distance method), not to mention the necessary larger size needed to accomodate such (never mind the behemoths w/ built in light meters.....I either have a Gossen Pilot dangling from my neck, or resort to the Sunny 16 rules). When I need more selective focusing and/or different perspectives other than 50mm for other types of shooting, I use my Pentax Spotmatic/SV system. Anyone have any thoughts or musings on these cameras.
     
  2. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I have 3 Retinas, one 1b, and two IIa's, I don't use them nearly as much as they deserve, but they are charming cameras with first rate optics. They are splendid to travel with, since they are smaller than most P&S 35's when folded, though a tad heavy for the size.
     
  3. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I use two Retinas, a II and a IIa, and a little Contessa. I also have a Retina I, but only for historical purposes really.
     
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Yet another IIa, recenty serviced, but alas with a broken film-counter for which the repairer was unable to find the parts.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  5. maiko9

    maiko9 Member

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    I like the fact that these cameras are so basic in their nature. Yeilding no aid in focus or exposure, they seem to lessen the barrier in some way between my subject & myself. At any rate, they allow me ( indeed, compel me) to approach my subject in a manner differently than I would with other types of cameras, which is why I ( & many of you, I'm quite sure ) own & use a wide variety of types & formats. After a spell of folders, my new-fangled Spotmatic seems so precise!
     
  6. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    I use my folders quite a bit. Retina 2a, 1b and 3c. The xenon lenses on the 2a and 3c are absolutely stunning. The accessory lenses for the 3c also give excellent results (35 and 80mm) Too bad the prices on these cameras are climbing.
     
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Couldn't agree more with either you or Maiko9, though I have the Rodenstock Heligon not the Schneider Xenon. I prefer the (late) IIa, though, because the IIIC viewfinder sometimes seems to contain more brightline than image, and the accessory/auxiliary lenses always seemed to me more trouble than they are worth. Have you the snap-on auxiliary shade for the 80mm? I used to have one but haven't seen it for years.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  8. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I use Retina 3c all the time. It really is a very well constructed camera and the Schneider lens is excellent. Aux lenses are a pain to use. But learning to quickly use the focus conversion scale on the lens helps resolve that problem. The lens hoods are worth seeking out. The 50mm hood show up at the auction site on a fairly regular basis. That 80mm hood, Roger, took me several years to find -- usually only found as part of the lens storage gizmo.
     
  9. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Not all 35mm folders are as basic as you imply. The Retina, for example, is a real camera - rangefinder focus, compur leaf shutter (with sych in many cases), and some even have a lightmeter attached.
     
  10. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The 50/2 Ultron on my Voigtlander Vitessa-L was probably my favorite normal lens for the 35mm format, and the camera was a real pleasure to use. I eventually sold it, because I wasn't really shooting that much 35mm except for birds, but it was a great 35mm folder.
     
  11. mongo141

    mongo141 Member

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    I have a Retina IIc kit that I have put together over a few years that I use. The camera is about an exe+++ so I am almost afraid to use it but it sure draws looks from various people and gives excellent results. I was able to find a Skylight filter in what Kodak called 32mm and a whole set of Black and White filters (five total) that fit either in the lens hood case, on the camera or in the top of the ERC. A kodalux L meter that works and is dead on accurate ( looks like a jewel in that little leather case). both aux lenses in their bubbles complete with hoods ( the 80mm hood took me almost 3 years to find). Now I just need to find a nice period case to put it all in but so far I have not had much luck. All three lens are the S/K versions but give excellent performance IMHO and the whole kit while a bit awkward to change lenses on is small and a joy to use. Just a nice example of a level of craftmanship that is almost unheard of anymore. Dave
     
  12. ricksplace

    ricksplace Member

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    I don't have a shade for the 80, but I do have one for the 50. I have a uv filter that I use on the 50. I tried the filter on the 35, but just that little bit of extra rim on the filter causes vignetting. You are right Roger, while the aux lenses are excellent lenses, they are a real pain in the butt to use and focus. I actually find myself using the 2a more than any of my retinas. It somehow just feels better in my hands.
     
  13. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Two Welta Welti's and a Voigtländer Vito II. One of the Weltis was my father's, and the first "real" camera I used. Unfortunately it has developed some problems with the film advance after only 50 years of frequent use :sad:. So I got myself a spare. Both have coated 50mm f:3.5 Zeiss Tessar lenses! :smile:
     
  14. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Your use of the word 'but' puzzles me. The Schneider lenses for the Retina are excellent - no 'but' about it! :smile:
     
  15. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    I have two old Retina 1's, a Retina 1B,Voigtlander Vitessa L, Voigtlander Vito 111, Zeiss Contessa, Agfa Karat 36 and Retina 111C.
    My favourite is the Agfa with it's great rangefinder, the best lens quality belongs to the Voigtlanders with the Contessa running a very tight race for second.
    Tony
     
  16. mongo141

    mongo141 Member

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    Well there are detracters that would rather walk if they couldn't drive a BMW and I have heard knowledge people claim that they wouldn't take a picture if they didn't have a Heligon lens on their Retina but I have never been able to see the differance on the print (and I have been doing this for about 35 years). I think they (the s/k lenses) are some of the best I have ever used. What gives me a laugh is the folks that ask me what kind of a d****al camera I am using.:D :D . OH well! Dave
     
  17. maiko9

    maiko9 Member

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    Which lenses do you have on the Voigtlanders?
     
  18. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    I've heard others describe the Heligon as second best. Like you, I've never seen much difference, though the main reason I prefer the Heligon is because that's what I've got...

    I suspect that for a given level of photographic skill, a lot more depends on the camera's condition, 50+ years on, than on the lens.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  19. maiko9

    maiko9 Member

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    F stop usage can be the great equalizer. Most of my rangefinderless folder shooting is done stopped down to f8 or f11, at which point the difference between my Tessars, Color-Skopars, Solinars, & Xenars (granted, these are all similar 4 element Tessar-type designs) is almost indiscernable.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 15, 2007
  20. mongo141

    mongo141 Member

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    I suspect that for a given level of photographic skill, a lot more depends on the camera's condition, 50+ years on, than on the lens.

    Hi Roger, That is a fact. I have spent a fair amount of time repairing and doing CLA's on most of that 50yr old stuff. I still have a couple of Retinas around here that are nothing more parts cameras. and some on the auction site are not even worth repairing. I have noticed that the prices seem to be going up for most of the Retina's. There is just a lever of quality there that is rare anymore unless you are willing to spend a lot of money.
    I think my big score was that Kodalux L meter and case. they were very uncommon in the USA and most I have seen have broken incident covers or they don't work, I just got lucky I guess.... Dave
     
  21. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Both of these cameras have the F2 Ultron but the colour Skopar is very good as well. Some shots with the Vitessa on my web page, just click on classic cameras.
    Tony
     
  22. elekm

    elekm Member

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    The Retina has a very important place in photographic history. It popularized 35mm photography in a way that few expected because of Kodak's introduction of the daylight loading cartridge that is pretty much the same one that we use today.

    The Retina encompasses a lot of cameras and body styles from fixed-lens zone-focus and rangefinder folders to interchangeable front-element folders and an SLR to an interchangeable-lens rangefinder and four SLRs and a fixed-lens rigid-front rangefinder (IIS).

    Great cameras -- except for the final Retina (S1), and a real variety of available lenses.
     
  23. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    Retina IIa... Recovered using a kit from CameraLeather.com. A great "walk-around town" camera.
     

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  24. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I would argue that the introduction of the standard cartridge with the Retina unlocked the door to popular use of 35mm, but that it was the availability of the Argus A model at $12.50 that opened it. The folding Retinas were not inexpensive.
     
  25. maiko9

    maiko9 Member

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    Your Retina looks great! Which kit is this? Did you do this yourself (if so, how difficult was it?), or did you farm out the job? I've been toying with the idea of doing the same to my IIa, but don't know if I have the patience or skill to do the job correctly myself. Maybe I'll ask my "CLA Guy" if he'd tackle it.

    P.S.-Also like the placement & material of handstrap..... Is it homemade?