Kodak Retina IIa Folder

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by cliveh, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I have recently acquired a Kodak Retina IIa Folder with a Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 2/50 mm. I have never used one of these before and wondered if anyone familiar with this camera could give me any tips or advice. I must admit I like the design and am looking forward to putting a film through it.
     
  2. jcoldslabs

    jcoldslabs Member

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    I have my grandfather's Retina II from 1940 with the f/2 Xenon and it is a great camera. I have a lot of fun with it. I think you'll enjoy yours. It's a bit slow to use compared to modern cameras, but that's part of the charm, I think. Here's a shot I took with it to test the rangefinder's accuracy at close distances. It worked better than expected after all these years:


    [​IMG]

    Jonathan
     
  3. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    In their day a superb bit of equipment and still is providing:- So long as the shutter works accurately and there is no sloppiness in the folding mechanism. The lens isn't scratched or has fungus, and finally the rangefinder (if it is a model with one) works, you have a lovely piece of lightweight kit. The Xenon lens was a beauty! Being all mechanical most of the faults if there are any can be sorted out or made to work in a reasonable fashion.
     
  4. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

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    I have later Retinas with similar lenses which are excellent. The wind-on like all Retinas has a cocking rack and pinion which is the most fragile part of the camera, so treat the wind with respect,

    lots of info here

    http://retinarescue.com/retinauser.html

    otherwise good shooting!
     
  5. momus

    momus Member

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    Great lens on your camera. I had one, and regret selling it. The viewfinders tend to be cloudy, and as mentioned, you should be careful not to use too much force when advancing the film. Nice shooters, although my favorite is the Ia w/ either a Xenar or Ektar lens.
     
  6. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    Around Halloween I saw a leaf hanging on a web.

    I thought it was a unique situation as if catching a falling leaf in mid-air... Nicely done.
     
  7. leicarfcam

    leicarfcam Member

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    This finder does not use a half mirror. Instead it uses a browned glass which can be cleaned without rubbing off the brown. I've restored several IIa rangefinders to clean bright view.
     
  8. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

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    My grandmother gave me one and it worked for a bit and then something between the rangefinder and focusing ring broke mysteriously. I'd love to get a tutorial on fixing rangefinders. Same thing happened to my Yashica Electro
     
  9. jcoldslabs

    jcoldslabs Member

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    Thanks, Bill. I saw another one in the neighborhood a couple of weeks ago and shot it with my Rolleiflex. I'll be curious to see how it compares. In this recent case it was very windy and I had a heck of a time keeping the leaf focused and centered as it bounced around. We'll see.

    Jonathan
     
  10. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    The retina iia is a lovely camera. I have one but I am backlogged on cameras to take out right now.
    As above, be careful with the film advance. Also make sure the lens is set to infiniti before closing, and be gentle when opening and closing the camera.
     
  11. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Thanks guys, very useful info.
     
  12. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    I have the later version of the retina II. The wind on is just a knob, and you have to cock the shutter separately, so there is no delicate rack and pinion
    but this makes it slower to operate.

    Retina-ii-2-_zpsa68126c7.jpg
     
  13. mnemosyne

    mnemosyne Subscriber

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    A very fine camera, the f2 lenses (Schneider Xenon or Rodenstock Rodagon) are quite good for their time. As others have suggested, treat the winding mechanism with respect and care. Operate it slowly, steadily and never force it. At the end of the stroke you will have to overcome a small resistance, when the shutter is cocked, that is normal. The frame counter will count backwards and the winding lever will be blocked when it indicates "frame 1". You can only wind again after resetting the frame counter. Leave the film unwound/shutter uncocked when you put away the camera. I recommend getting a PDF manual from butkus.org to get accustomed with the operation.
     
  14. John Earley

    John Earley Member

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    I have a nearly mint lllC that i bought last summer but haven't used much. I hope to have more time for it soon. A quirky little camera but they produce very nice images.
     
  15. elekm

    elekm Member

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    If you ever remove the frame counter dial, be careful with the counter spring that is in there. It breaks very easily, and then the frame counter will no longer work unless you find another spring. Micro-Tools used to sell this spring - not sure if they still do.

    The lens is single coated, so be mindful of where light sources sit.

    The Xenon lens is excellent.

    The body is a bit small, and with the lens door open, there isn't much room for your right hand to grasp the camera. This is always an issue with lens doors that open side to side rather than top to bottom. All Retinas open side to side.

    The Retina IIa lever wind (there was a Retina IIa knob wind) is among the most popular of the Retinas and considered by many to be the last of the true folding Retinas. Personally, I find them all very interesting.
     
  16. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Thanks again guys for all the advice. My Retina IIa arrived this morning and it is a beautiful little camera in almost pristne condition. It was a nice day and so I loaded it with FP4, set the shutter to 1/100 and aperture to f8 and went for a walk. I could actually fit it in my pocket still in it's case. I only took one picture, but time will tell.