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  1. #1
    Jack Savage's Avatar
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    Newb to Analog - seeking information on the Retina iii C (Big C)

    I've recently inherited several cameras from my Dad. The easiest one to use, is the Canonette. But by FAR, the hardest one to use, is the Retinna iiiC "Big C", I have no idea what I am doing here! LOL

    I have a few specific questions about things that I'm having trouble with. Everything else, I think I'd doing swell on; I think!

    First thing; how on earth do you TAKE a photo? There are so many buttons! This is not a camera you can just set on a table & click! There goes the shutter. I got a general idea, but...not so sure if I'm right.

    Second thing; sometimes, I can actually get the shutter to go. But usually, when I take a photo, the camera just sits there. No "click!" noise, no sound of the film rolling up inside the body, no whirring and buzzing noises from the inside. Nothing. I've lost just about every roll of film I've shot so far...because I can take 3 photos, and then, on the 4th photo, the camera just STOPS. What on earth am I doing? I'm so worried I broke the poor thing, but every-time I re-load the camera, boom! It'll take photos again. I know a very accommodating gentleman who fixes cameras in our area, and I have no fear should I break my camera in some way as he can fix ANYTHING so at least that's a perk - being in the business for 70 years gives the guy a really great rep.

    Third thing. Can someone humor my dad? He gave this thing to me after his father passed away, and unfortunately, after Grandpa went, so did ALL of the information on our various parts. The camera & it's parts are not for sell -- it's an heirloom ! -- but Dad really wants to know how much our thing costs as a "set", he needs peace of mind and I cannot find a way to find out how much this runs for all together. Help?!

    We have-

    a leather bag, a leather strap in a round leather case
    a hard case that the camera slips into, which has another leather strap and a little "flap" that goes over the top of the camera
    the body, a 50mm lens, a 30mm lens, a 4-80mm lens, and I think Dad said he has a 25mm lens somehwhere, but don't quote me on that, I don't really know.
    Plastic bubbles for the lenses - 1 BIG one, and 1 small one.
    several "jump" rings, glass filters, and some sort of thick, orange glass - round, cracked with age now, but very dense and honey colored.
    a metal bit for the smaller lens; it has a flare on the end. What is this?!
    a very old, very unusable flash box & moth-eaten coil
    several pamphlets & some sort of "guide" setting thing -- it spins around and tells you what sorts of settings to use in specific conditions.
    a cute little plastic case for the lens filters & other bits & bobbles, like the jump-ring things.

    How on earth would I find out how much that is worth? Dad really wants to know, and I don't know what to tell him. Ebay never has all of those things for sell all at once, and locally, no one knows what a Retina is, other than my repair man, but he isn't buying and I'm not selling. Can any of you give me a rough guess of what this is all worth all together? I'm in America, by the way...

    I've heard such AMAZING things about the Retina cameras, so much so that I'm not even thinking about getting another DSLR (I sold my one and only one to help me and my wife move.) I'm so excited about learning about film that I'm seriously thinking about devoting myself to learning HOW to use analog, and I don't plan on it being an easy thing to do so I'm guessing I'll be at this for many years to come. But if I don't get into DSLRs anytime soon, please help me God, I wanna learn everything I can about film - LOL!

    Can anyone point me in the right direction, as to finding photos done with the Retina iiiC? Specifically photos that have used the 4-80mm lens, and the 35mm lens as well. Got any names you can drop my way? We live next to an awesome bookstore, and I'd really like to look up photographers who shoot with this beautiful analog baby.

    If I can think of any other questions, I will let you know.

    Otherwise, thank GOD for this forum!
    Last edited by Jack Savage; 12-09-2012 at 08:58 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    In 2012, I lost everything to debt, including my only camera - a DSLR. My father-in-law gave me 3 analog cameras, and I have no idea what to do or how to use them. I am dying to find out how to use this new medium, so I am seeking any and all information I can get my hands on as a student and a novice in this strange new media. I need to know everything; and so I will. I am so happy I found this forum where I can learn a new skill. Everything is very exciting!

  2. #2

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    Find a local Camera Club, there is a good one in Chicago but I stopped being a member a few years ago
    http://www.chicagophotographic.org/indexmain.shtml.
    There are still people alive who used these camers and shoud be able to help you. I't really just a matter of understanding the era and 'fingering' out the camera, some of your problems may be from the camera not working. I'm near Chicago, PM if in the area.-Dick

  3. #3
    Jack Savage's Avatar
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    I'm in-transit right now, but thank you kindly for the offer, Dick! (You wouldn't happen to be married to one Barbara, would you? I had a very dear friend when I was growing up, who was married, and both where splendid artists; they used to live off-the-grid in Walla Walla WA, but we lost touch.)


    I've been looking up so much information about everything I can find, really, I think I need to step back before I can attempt to pick apart what's going on with this here camera. This hobby has so many numbers, so seemingly random to me; and abbreviations, and just general words I'm not sure I understand.

    After everything went wrong with me and my family, I was worried I'd never have anything to dream about and that I'd not pick up any hobbies again. That's what I get for being a downer. This is not an easy hobby -- is it?!

    About the repairs...or possible repairs...Thinking I should look up the wonderful gentleman down the road. HIGHLY recommend him.

    I won't be in the Bay Area long, (in Oakland, California for 2 more months,) but if you need ANY analog camera work done, or lens work, or anything, look up "iCamera" (avoid Looking Glass Photo all together, I can't say I recommend them at their prices,) the fixer-uper gentleman at iCamera has been doing his work for at least 70 years, and he's very accommodating, and from what I can tell, cheap -- at least, he's used to some slight (refined) haggling if you're fair enough.

    I don't think I can fix the camera up if it's something internal. Might take a walk later.
    In 2012, I lost everything to debt, including my only camera - a DSLR. My father-in-law gave me 3 analog cameras, and I have no idea what to do or how to use them. I am dying to find out how to use this new medium, so I am seeking any and all information I can get my hands on as a student and a novice in this strange new media. I need to know everything; and so I will. I am so happy I found this forum where I can learn a new skill. Everything is very exciting!

  4. #4
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    Here is a good start with retina. The good news with analog is that you can pick up a good, functional camera from the 70'-90's for very little so even if you can't get these beasts running, analog (contrary to popular opinion) can be much less expensive than digital.
    Your first 10,000 pictures are the worst - HCB

    www.markjamesfisher.com

  5. #5
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  6. #6
    Jack Savage's Avatar
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    Wonderful! You guys are giving me some homework today. Fantastic news is, thanks to everyone's advice & the links from you lot, I've got most of the camera working now -- wow, that took pretty much no effort at all. Whatta relief!

    Hopefully the last repair is just as easy. I gotta lube up the bits on the inside, where the lens attaches. I'll keep you posted. Wow, I feel GREAT about myself right now, I'm fixing a camera that's older than me, and I've done swell so far! Dad will be overjoyed to hear about this! I gotta text him!!

    Also, I'm happy I'm a tech-kinda guy who enjoys puzzles...all of those years playing video games musta paid off...? I felt a little bit like I was playing Tetris at first, and then I looked at a few of those manuals & Chris's website and 2 + 2 got put together, and the puzzle made MUCH more sense. This is SO MUCH FUN. It took me so long to reply because I was trying to be really careful with everything..haha..I've been away from the desk coz I was tink'erin.
    In 2012, I lost everything to debt, including my only camera - a DSLR. My father-in-law gave me 3 analog cameras, and I have no idea what to do or how to use them. I am dying to find out how to use this new medium, so I am seeking any and all information I can get my hands on as a student and a novice in this strange new media. I need to know everything; and so I will. I am so happy I found this forum where I can learn a new skill. Everything is very exciting!

  7. #7

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    The IIIC (Big C) is distinguished by a large viewfinder that has framelines for the 35mm, 50mm and 80mm lenses.

    If there is just one set of framelines, then it's a IIIc (small C). Excellent camera, excellent lens.

    I haven't looked at prices for these for years. IIIC used to go for about $225, while the IIIc went for about $165.

    Leather cases generally have no value. The auxiliary lenses probably are worth about $25 each.

    Filter rings, etc., are worth a few dollars unless they're original Kodak Retina-branded items with cases.

    Moth-eaten items -- well, I was trying to think of something humorous. Obviously, no value. In fact, I would toss anything moth-eaten.

    Good luck. This can be an excellent camera.

    A photo taken with a Retina IIIc (small c):


  8. #8
    Jack Savage's Avatar
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    The moth eaten thingy has been a running joke in the family for YEARS! Ha! Dad jokes that he's gonna make that flash bulb work somehow, but I'm not even kidding, he makes things explode, so...noooooo! ha!

    I can easily use all of the lenses that I own right now. ^^ And I looked at the brand on the top of the camera - the C is written with a capitol letter, not a lower case one. But I pretty much knew it was a iiiC because that 80mm lens works great!


    This is the first photo I've ever seen before, that was taken with a Retina. Oh my gosh. That's outstanding! You've gotta be kidding me! Holy! That's such an inspiration, I'm sure you know where I am at right now, someone like me has never shot analog before, let alone a Retina. Gooosh!

    You shouldn't be surprised that even though I've still yet to take a photo (gotta get repairs done on Friday when I've got a bit of cash - ) the Retina is my favorite camera out of my mangy lot so far. When I had digital cameras, they just felt like equipment. Am I mad for thinking this camera is quickly becoming a friend? It has such personality!

    Granted, I have this feeling that my camera's kinda a b@tch, hahaha, coz she is not telling me any of her secrets easily. I am suffering so bad trying to get information! I am a fool for God, and art is just the only thing helping me get through this Dark Night of The Soul. I've never held a camera like this before. What a spunky little thing. I can't believe the quality of your photograph - to think, I have that potential with me here on my desk!!!
    In 2012, I lost everything to debt, including my only camera - a DSLR. My father-in-law gave me 3 analog cameras, and I have no idea what to do or how to use them. I am dying to find out how to use this new medium, so I am seeking any and all information I can get my hands on as a student and a novice in this strange new media. I need to know everything; and so I will. I am so happy I found this forum where I can learn a new skill. Everything is very exciting!

  9. #9
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    Retinas are terrific cameras. You got lucky with a terrific gift there. Congrats. Now you'll just have to take some photos of your own and post them here so we can see what you're doing with it.

    That "friend" factor is one reason why so many of us here keep using our analog film gear - the quirks and personality make the camera someone to interact with instead of just something to use.

  10. #10

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    I was building a nice Retina collection, although there are so many models and variations within each model that it made it impractical (financially) to continue. Plus, I started in with Zeiss Ikon, and that took me down a different path entirely.


    The Retinas are on the second shelf and a few more on the bottom shelf.



    I've sold several of the cameras seen here. Still have all of the Retinas and a couple more, too.

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