Kodak Retina IIc: Flashes?
*So I posted this originally in the 35mm forum*
I just purchased a Retina IIc about a couple of weeks ago. I am currently brainstorming a photo project which will involve indoors portraiture. Here are my obstacles:
1. It's been years since I've done portraits and I've only used continuous lighting.
2. I know absolutely nothing about flashes.
3. I'm on a budget for the next month or two.
This is where I am currently:
1. I am about to purchase a meter for both ambient and flash lighting,
2. two stands with two flash shoe mount brackets and two silver and white umbrellas,
3. a large softbox with a speedring
So here is what I have been trying to figure out over the past week:
1. What sort of flash can my camera take on it's hotshoe?
2. How can a fire multiple (3) flashes at once? I read something about a remote receiver (or something along those lines) that can be used to trigger multiple off-camera flashes.
3. Should a use continuous lighting in conjunction with flashes, or will flashes (no more than 3) be enough on their own?
On top of the three questions above, would anyone be able to give me an general tips for shooting portraits with film? I sew often and I'm pretty crafty, so I figure I can make backdrops, light blockers and reflectors on my own. i appreciate any help anyone can provide. I'm anxious to start mastering lighting techniques so that I can get started on my project!
*Photo does not belong to me
Your camera does not have a hotshoe. That is a cold shoe. It simply holds the flash in place.
On the outer barrel of the lens should be a 'PC' connector. This will look like a small round nub with a metal outer barrel and a hole in the middle. You will need to connect a flash to this for sync. And you will need to make certain that the flash sync lever (green??) is set to X, for electronic flash.
One nice thing about your camera is that it has a leaf shutter. This will sync up to 1/500 speed, nice for fill and balancing ambient light.
When I have done multi-flash work with old leaf shutters, I found the best thing was to use a small cheap flash on the camera connected to the PC terminal as a trigger for the other flashes. You will find that many flashes and accessories are hotshoe only, no PC cord. There are PC to hotshoe adapters available with cords- you plug in the cord and mount the adapter's hotshoe block in your cold shoe.
The Strobist site is a good place to learn tons about the kind of work you want to do.
Dan gave useful advice while I was typing. Good point about synching with light from a small on-camera flash; I should know, having three bare-bulb light-triggered units.
1. The accessory shoe of the RetinaII is a "cold" shoe: as you can see on the photo that you supplied, there is no electrical contact.
2. Checking my Retina IIa, above and to the left of the lens (looking at the camera front side) there is a small green lever with two positions: M and X. Use X for electronic flash.
3. Below and to the left of the lens (looking at the camera front side) there is a coaxial contact, pointing downwards, that seems to match the (standard) coaxial cable of my vivitar283.
If I had to do what you plan, I would wait for an occasion to buy on the auction site an Y junction and two long cables for the two flashes. Rather than embark into wireless, seems not consistent with the vintage of the Retina. But that's your choice.
Check with a simple one-flash setup that the sync contact of the Retina is functional, before purchasing fancy equipment.
You do not have to use continuous lighting to take the picture. But so-called pilot lights, located near the flash tube of each unit, help to judge the lighting balance. There are no Polaroid backs for the Retina
Dan Daniel: Thank you for all of the info. I had a feeling that it was indeed not a hotshoe, but someone else said it was so I was really confused. What you wrote has definitely clarified a lot of things for me.
Oy vey! I've already caught enough heat for using a Holga, cut me some slack!
Vintage aspect aside, would you recommend using the Y junction and cables or going wireless for a novice?
I will definitely start off with one flash before adding more.
Thank you for being very helpful.
Originally Posted by bernard_L
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You must have bought your kodak Retina IIc at about the same time as me. Re portraits, do you really want to use flash? I would suggest with a camera like this you may get a more natural effect by placing your subject next to a window and using a reflector (a white card or bed sheet).
“The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”