Help: What model Kodak Retina to buy?? (rangefinder model)

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by TheToadMen, Jul 13, 2013.

  1. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,996
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Location:
    Netherlands, EU
    Shooter:
    Pinhole
    I was at a photographic convention lately and some people there were carrying a Kodak Retina Rangefinder model. I want to get me one (if reasonably priced). But since I have no experience with these models - and they said not all models or lenses are as good - I would like to ask for your input.

    What model should I get (I want a rangefinder) and what lens? Please your expert advise.
    Thanks,
    Bert from Holland
     
  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

    Messages:
    6,710
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Look for a IIc or IIIc and plan on getting it overhauled. It has the best normal lens, and don't waste too much effort with the accessory lenses... they really are just too difficult to use.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2013
  3. Chrismat

    Chrismat Subscriber

    Messages:
    757
    Joined:
    May 28, 2011
    Location:
    Brewer, Maine
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have both those cameras and they are great, but if you don't mind scale focusing for less money you could get something like the Retina 1b.
     
  4. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

    Messages:
    543
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Location:
    Bothell, WA
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Try to get your hands on one if you can to see how the ergonomics work for you. They are great cameras but can be a little quirky to use. I got lucky and picked up a cheap IIIc. After seeing much acclaim about the IIa I had a chance to handle on. It turns out I found it more awkward to hold and decided to stick with the larger IIIc. Thats a personal decision though.

    Either model - with any glass variation (though I'd look for a Xenon or Heligon) - can be an excellent user. Everything being equal, I'd buy the camera that was in the best condition.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2013
  5. leicarfcam

    leicarfcam Member

    Messages:
    347
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2006
    Location:
    Fort Worth,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The two best models would be a IIa fixed lens 50mm f/2 Xenon lens or a IIIc/C with 50mm f/2 Xenon. The Xenar 50mm f/2.8 of the IIc is a fine lens but the Xenar's are best.

    The IIIc/C models have interchangable front componant lens but can be a bit confusing except for the 50mm..

    My personal favorite is the IIa..
     
  6. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,983
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you wear glasses, you might find the viewfinder in the IIIc/C a real advantage.
     
  7. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

    Messages:
    385
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If you don't need it to be folding/compact, then you might want to consider the IIIs. The IIIs is a full-sized and the lenses are truly interchangeable. However, I have a IIIc because I value these cameras for compactness and portability.
     
  8. elekm

    elekm Member

    Messages:
    2,059
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey (
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    The knob wind Retina II is a good camera and prone to fewer problems because it doesn't have the shutter cocking rack of the later cameras. The Retina II requires you to tension the shutter separately.

    However, as long as you find one in good shape, these can be on your list:

    - Retina IIa: The lever-wind camera is small and has a great f/2.0 lens, although single-coated, I believe.

    - Retina IIc/IIC: Has the slightly slower f/2.8 Xenon/Heligon and lacks a meter. I sort of like this model.

    - Retina IIIc/IIIC: Integrated uncoupled selenium meter with the excellent f/2.0 Xenon/Heligon. The large "C" models have frame lines for the auxiliary telephoto and wide angle lenses and larger viewfinders.

    - Retina IIS: Often overlooked, this is a smallish non-folding rangefinder with a very nice f/2.8 Xenar lens and coupled selenium meter.

    If you're good at guessing distances, you could go for one of earlier folding cameras. You should know that the older cameras offered many different lenses and shutter combos. And you should also expect that all of these cameras might require some level of service from routine to total overhauls.
     
  9. JPD

    JPD Member

    Messages:
    859
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sweden
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    As you are in Europe, I would strongly recommend the Retina IIc with Rodenstock Heligon 2,8/50.

    I have found the Heligon 2,8/50 to be sharper than the Schneider Xenon and the 2/50 Heligon on the IIIc. I've had a couple of Retinas with these lenses and always found that the 2,8 Heligon is the sharpest.

    My favorite Retinas at the moment are the IIc and Ib (with 2,8/50 Xenar, but without rangefinder).
     
  10. jmccl@yahoo.com

    jmccl@yahoo.com Member

    Messages:
    84
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Location:
    Tampa Bay, F
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I like the compactness of my 1a

    I like the compactness of my 1a. No meter. No range finder prism. Just a tiny view finder. So it is smaller than the II and the III and it fits in my pants pocket. Opinions - we all have ours. Get one and enjoy it.

    Jim