Kodak Retina II

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by jcorll, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. jcorll

    jcorll Member

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    Western PA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Recently, my grandparents were cleaning out one of their many (junk filled) closets. In one of them, was a Kodak Retina IIa that my grandfather bought while in Germany in 1946.
    I believe it is 35mm. It has an original leather case, the camera itself is in great condition. it comes with a grab-bag of different filters and stepup rings. It also has a camera mounted flash on it. I don't think it attaches to a hotshoe, it doesn't look like a coldshoe either. The flash itself is a long cylindrical flash with the flash on one side of it. The flashbulbs are blue.

    He wanted to keep the camera and accessories, but asked me if I could do a little more research on it.
    A couple questions came to mind while looking at the camera.

    1. Would something like this be worth much?
    2. Does anybody know what quality of pictures this takes?

    The lens and camera body are in great condition.
    Any information on this neat find, would be helpful! Thank you!
     
  2. rawhead

    rawhead Member

    Messages:
    570
    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
  3. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,127
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2005
    Location:
    Live Free or
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Retinas have quite a following, and can take very good pictures as they have pretty decent Schneider or Rodenstock lenses. The usual f/2 lens is pretty fast too, for the times they were made.
    Retina II's and III's have coupled rangefinders. They are worth $50.00 - 100 USD depending on condition and the exact model, though sometimes you can find them for a good bit less.

    I have found that they don't take non-use too well, so I'd recommend a CLA before trying to use it seriously. The bad news is that the CLA will likely cost more than the camera's low resale value, but it will be a good an reliable user afterward, and will add to the camera's value
    An excellent source of information about them is Chris Sherlock's site at http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~Srawhiti/index.html

    I recently had one of my II's CLA'd at Zack's camera repair in Providence RI. They did a fantastic job.
     
  4. elekm

    elekm Member

    Messages:
    2,058
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey (
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    First, can you clarify whether it's a Retina II (as the title indicates) or a Retina IIa (as the text indicates)?

    Next, is this the model with lever wind? If so, then it's a IIa. Prices on the IIa had been reasonably high several years ago (About $100), but have fallen as of late (about $50). However, I haven't looked at them in the past month or so, so it's possible they are back up again.

    The flash attachment has almost no value. If the filters are Kodak-branded filters or Walz-branded filters, they have some value -- maybe $5-$10 each. If they are Series V, then they have minimal value (less than $5).

    Next, if the camera has been sitting for decades, it likely would need to be serviced. While cosmetic condition tells a bit, what is equally important is whether the shutter fires at all speeds; whether the viewfinder is clear or cloudy, whether the camera focuses smoothly and whether the rangefinder is accurate.
     
  5. John Hermanson

    John Hermanson Member

    Messages:
    306
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    Huntington,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    A Retina IIa was my first camera, first class German construction. Great lens (for it's time). Rangefinder image a little dim (45 years ago, I put a piece of yellow wratten filter over the rf window). John
     
  6. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,785
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    a - read the manual and exercise the lens a bit (http://rawhiti.tripod.com/retina2type011instructionmanual.html)
    b - take some pictures of your grandparents with it, the pictures will have special value and they may be pleasantly surprised with the quality of that camera

    They'll love you for it (well, love you even more for it).

    I still use my Retina II and Retina III.
     
  7. oscroft

    oscroft Member

    Messages:
    58
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Location:
    Liverpool (U
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I've got both of the IIa versions - they came with different lenses for the US and European markets.

    As far as I can tell, there's no discernible difference between the two lenses - they're both superb. I love using them, and get great results.

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,005
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have the same one. I did not know that there were any differences in lens quality.
     
  9. JPD

    JPD Member

    Messages:
    822
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sweden
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    There's another IIa (type 150) made between 1939-41 with knob wind. If it really is a IIa, and his grandfather bought it in 1946, it must be it. Only 5107 examples of this model was made.

    It was sold with f:3,5 Ektar, f:2,8 Xenon and f:2 Xenon.

    The Xenon lenses differed from the post-war versions. The 2,8 Xenon is actually a Xenar with an extra element (the front element "split" in two).
     

    Attached Files:

  10. Zuikopath

    Zuikopath Member

    Messages:
    77
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Location:
    England
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I have a Retina 118 and Retina IIa and love them both but don't shoot them often.

    I have read that some users actually prefer the F3.5 lens over the F2 version (mines an F2...:sad:)
     
  11. jcorll

    jcorll Member

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Location:
    Western PA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thank you Zuidopath for the bump on this.

    I forgot I wrote this. :tongue:
    It is a Retina II. NOT a IIa. And I believe a CLA is in order for it. When testing the shutter, even when i change the speed, they all sound the same. I need to get one of those neat shutter testers. :smile:
    I haven't used it in months, but have been keeping it clean and dry.

    Thanks guys. (and/or gals)
     
  12. JPD

    JPD Member

    Messages:
    822
    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2007
    Location:
    Sweden
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Yeah, it's worth it since it belonged to your grandfather, and it's a fun and nice picture taker.

    I have film in three Retinas at the moment. :smile:
     
  13. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

    Messages:
    832
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Latte Land,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Good morning, jcorll;

    JPD has probably the most appropriate insight on this for you. Noting that the Kodak Retina II is a camera that is associated with your grandfather, get it cleaned, lubricated, and adjusted to fully restore it to normal operation. Then use that very camera to take some photographs of your grandparents. Some "formal" posed photographs, of course, but also some that show them in settings where they are doing things they enjoy; with their hobbies, their pets, their car, in the kitchen, for example. Do it soon, while you still can. Have some nice size prints made and put them into albums. Present one to your grandparents, one to your parents, and keep one for yourself.

    That camera can be a way to help strengthen the relationships in your family, to promote some nice discussion, and to create some great memories. Just do it now, while everyone is here. You may be surprised at how fast things can change, and you can never get them back.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2010
  14. Kiron Kid

    Kiron Kid Member

    Messages:
    437
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2005
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have the Retina III model with three Shneider lenses. Haven't gotten around to using it yet. :-(
     
  15. John Hermanson

    John Hermanson Member

    Messages:
    306
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Location:
    Huntington,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Shutter speeds 60 and up are likely to sound very similar. A camera this age which has not been used in a long time, may end up with oil on the shutter blades. Fire the shutter at speeds ranging from 1 second and 1/30th to see how they sound. Fire 1/15th over and over to see if the click - click is the same from one to the next. John
     
  16. wb7ptr

    wb7ptr Member

    Messages:
    1
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Note from a professional photographer. I've been doing film photography since the 1950's and digital since about ten years ago. The blue colored flash bulbs provided the bluish light needed by outdoor type film for the right color balance when using flash indoors. That camera has NO flash mount that I've seen and you have to guess or measure the distance ... it has no focus metering. I'm still exploring mine which I bought earlier this evening, but I've been told it was very high quality for it's day and capable of professional quality images in the hands of a professional or advanced photographer. Have fun with it. I'm not sure on the pricing of it, but new they were quite expensive. Mine is from the 1930s which is older than I thought it was.
     
  17. dmschnute

    dmschnute Subscriber

    Messages:
    21
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2009
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    It folds into such a nice package! IMO, no other 35-mm camera equals it for hiking or backpacking. My only gripe was the lack of a bright-frame finder and the tendency for the metal bezel to scratch eyeglasses when attempting to compensate for the same.