Help: What model Kodak Retina to buy?? (rangefinder model)
I was at a photographic convention lately and some people there were carrying a Kodak Retina Rangefinder model. I want to get me one (if reasonably priced). But since I have no experience with these models - and they said not all models or lenses are as good - I would like to ask for your input.
What model should I get (I want a rangefinder) and what lens? Please your expert advise.
Bert from Holland
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Bert from Holland
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Look for a IIc or IIIc and plan on getting it overhauled. It has the best normal lens, and don't waste too much effort with the accessory lenses... they really are just too difficult to use.
Last edited by BrianShaw; 07-13-2013 at 11:33 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I have both those cameras and they are great, but if you don't mind scale focusing for less money you could get something like the Retina 1b.
Try to get your hands on one if you can to see how the ergonomics work for you. They are great cameras but can be a little quirky to use. I got lucky and picked up a cheap IIIc. After seeing much acclaim about the IIa I had a chance to handle on. It turns out I found it more awkward to hold and decided to stick with the larger IIIc. Thats a personal decision though.
Either model - with any glass variation (though I'd look for a Xenon or Heligon) - can be an excellent user. Everything being equal, I'd buy the camera that was in the best condition.
Last edited by Brian Legge; 07-13-2013 at 12:48 PM. Click to view previous post history.
The two best models would be a IIa fixed lens 50mm f/2 Xenon lens or a IIIc/C with 50mm f/2 Xenon. The Xenar 50mm f/2.8 of the IIc is a fine lens but the Xenar's are best.
The IIIc/C models have interchangable front componant lens but can be a bit confusing except for the 50mm..
My personal favorite is the IIa..
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If you wear glasses, you might find the viewfinder in the IIIc/C a real advantage.
"Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer
If you don't need it to be folding/compact, then you might want to consider the IIIs. The IIIs is a full-sized and the lenses are truly interchangeable. However, I have a IIIc because I value these cameras for compactness and portability.
The knob wind Retina II is a good camera and prone to fewer problems because it doesn't have the shutter cocking rack of the later cameras. The Retina II requires you to tension the shutter separately.
However, as long as you find one in good shape, these can be on your list:
- Retina IIa: The lever-wind camera is small and has a great f/2.0 lens, although single-coated, I believe.
- Retina IIc/IIC: Has the slightly slower f/2.8 Xenon/Heligon and lacks a meter. I sort of like this model.
- Retina IIIc/IIIC: Integrated uncoupled selenium meter with the excellent f/2.0 Xenon/Heligon. The large "C" models have frame lines for the auxiliary telephoto and wide angle lenses and larger viewfinders.
- Retina IIS: Often overlooked, this is a smallish non-folding rangefinder with a very nice f/2.8 Xenar lens and coupled selenium meter.
If you're good at guessing distances, you could go for one of earlier folding cameras. You should know that the older cameras offered many different lenses and shutter combos. And you should also expect that all of these cameras might require some level of service from routine to total overhauls.
As you are in Europe, I would strongly recommend the Retina IIc with Rodenstock Heligon 2,8/50.
I have found the Heligon 2,8/50 to be sharper than the Schneider Xenon and the 2/50 Heligon on the IIIc. I've had a couple of Retinas with these lenses and always found that the 2,8 Heligon is the sharpest.
My favorite Retinas at the moment are the IIc and Ib (with 2,8/50 Xenar, but without rangefinder).
I like the compactness of my 1a
I like the compactness of my 1a. No meter. No range finder prism. Just a tiny view finder. So it is smaller than the II and the III and it fits in my pants pocket. Opinions - we all have ours. Get one and enjoy it.