Retina IIC (Big C)

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by cliveh, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I quite like the look and design of this camera and am thinking about getting one. Can anyone give me some advice about the good or bad points of this camera?
     
  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Good points: incredible optics, lots of accessories available, compact and quiet... almost silent.

    Bad points: accessory lenses incredibly difficult to use, winding rack can be a weak link.

    While the "big C" is gnerally considered the best, consider a "small C" if you want to pay a erasonable price. Also consider a III and get a meter too.
     
  3. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    p.s. The "count down" exposure counter and the interlocks can take a little getting-used-to but isn't really a practical problem.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2012
  4. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    My Uncle gave me a IIIc, a few years ago. I love it. No issues, even after sitting since the 60's. I don't shoot 35mm often, but this camera is always staring at me...
     
  5. Whiteymorange

    Whiteymorange Member

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    I had one and traded it away a few years ago. I now wish that I hadn't done that. These are wonderful cameras. The usual complaints about Retina are the fiddly character of the film advance and the fact that the front element of the lens is what changes if you want to use on a different focal length. The cost and trouble of finding someone to work on them is significant, so I wouldn't get one that is nice looking but has problems. The lenses for the Retina Reflex (just the Reflex, not the later versions with numbers after the name) will fit, but you can't close the camera with anything but the original 50 MM. The f2 lens is very sharp, and I haven't really seen much difference, other than that extra half-stop of speed, in the f2.8.

    Sometimes you find Retinas in antique shops that are supposedly broken, when all they need is to have the film counter reset, but that doesn't happen as much anymore. The cost and trouble of finding someone to work on them is significant, so I wouldn't get one that is nice looking but has problems. They were very expensive cameras in their day, and sometimes have been well cared for and then put away as part of an estate, but the fact that the shutter is so intricately connected within the body makes them a nightmare to clean and lubricate unless you are very well versed in how they work.
     
  6. Chrismat

    Chrismat Subscriber

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    Retinas are great cameras. If you decide to get one and it needs a cla (most do) Chris Sherlock http://retinarescue.com is the man. Nice guy and great service.
     
  7. Alan W

    Alan W Subscriber

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    The viewfinder is dim if you're used to a modern rangefinder(I can only compare it to the finder in the bessa r).Both my retinas had murky viewfinders,but that was the only downside for me.The folding,extremely sharp 50mm lens I found perfect for any occasion,and it's small enough to fit in a jeans pocket.
     
  8. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    As noted, they are great cameras, but the shutter cocking and release mechanism can be troublesome. If the seller can't prove a recent CLA, I'd plan on having that done before you try to use it (and factor that into what you budget).
     
  9. Pumalite

    Pumalite Subscriber

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    I've have a Retina IIIc for years and love it. Small, extremely sharp lens. No problems.
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The "Big C" Retinas have viewfinders that are considerably bigger and brighter than the "little c" Retinas.

    And are correspondingly more expensive when you find one.

    By the way, the IIC (or IIc) and IIIC or (IIIc) Retinas are, IMHO, some of the best looking cameras around.
     
  11. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

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    I have a IIc. Used to have a IIIc as well but it was a dog (only mine - not a comment on IIIc's generally). Here's a few insights.

    The cocking rack. This is a well known point of failure. Once the rack and pinion is worn and a tooth jumps its repair time. Very easy to replace. You can still get racks here http://www.micro-tools.de/en/Camera-Parts/Kodak/ but they are relatively soft metal, although do work OK.

    Lenses. The IIc (& C) has a 2.8 lens, the IIIc has a 2.0 lens. It is said they are the same with just diaphragm restrictions, but I don't know for sure. Forget using different focal length lenses. They are a PITA to use. Just find instructions and read how you have to transfer distance scales. Not worth it. If you want to shoot other than 50mm use a different camera. You can't shut a retina anyway with a different lens on.

    Rangefinder. The big Cs have much larger viewfinders than small c's, but otherwise same camera. Only you can say if the extra cost is worth it. They all take great pictures.

    Shutters. Seem to be fairly notorious for the usual sticking shutter syndrome. Its a syncro-compur so all usual info applies. You can get into the front fairly easily and a quick and dirty fix is to flush out with solvent and then re-oil gently with tiny amounts of watch oil. It worked on mine and still going strong >2 years later, but a full dismantle and CLA is the ultimate solution. I also have a Retina IIIS and this went on its holidays to Chris Sherlock in NZ a year or two back becaus the string broke. (not a problem on IIc and IIIc). Finally the Reflex lenses do NOT fit the C's or c's, but DO fit the IIIS - which is a non-folder built on a IIIC body - different animal, but a fine rangefinder.

    II or III? Same lens sharpness - do you really need 2.0 over 2.8? the III has a meter, but seriously, is a 60 year old meter worth using over sunny 16?

    If you see one a good price, its worth getting. Put functionality over appearance and you'll have some fun.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 30, 2012
  12. kanzlr

    kanzlr Subscriber

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    +1 on Chris Sherlock, he CLAd my IIc and it is like new.
    The IIc has a smaller, dimmer viewfinder than the IIIC, but it is still a superb camera, small, great built, superb lens (mine has the Rodenstock, but the Schneider should be similar). I love it as a travel camera.

    The buttom wind lever is convinient, the EV setting is, to me, the most intuitive way to do it.
     
  13. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Thanks guys, very informative.
     
  14. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Finder on IIIC (large C) is much better if you wear glasses.
     
  15. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    The IIIC was my first 35mm, my aunts gave it to me for high school graduation in 1966. Still have mine, meter still works, optics were very good for the time. After moving to SLR the next year I found that the swithing from a Pentex and Konica T to the III took a little getting us, film winder on the bottom, setting the expousre using the interlocking EV scale takes a moment to remember what to and the steps, same for rewinding and loading film. The viewfinder is good. I have both the 35mm and 85 lens, but have not used them in decades, just a wast time, very slow and heavy. What I do like about the IIIC, other than an emotional attachment, is that it folds up and fits in my 4X5 bag. If you want a folder the IIIC is ok, but if just want an odd rangfinder look at at the IIIS.