Kodak Retina IIIS
Anyone using Kodak Retina IIIS ? or know much about them ?
Great camera. Often overlooked as others fawn over Leica, Canon, Nikon and Contax.
A bit heavy but very well built. It offers either Schneider-Kreuznach or Rodenstock interchangeable lenses mated to a Synchro Compur leaf shutter.
It has a very good coupled rangefinder, auto-switching of frame lines, automatic parallax correction and a coupled selenium meter. The viewfinder is excellent. Beats that two-window Leica LTM approach by a wide margin.
The usual problems: sticky shutter and self-timer, possibly dead meter and dirty and/or out-of-calibration viewfinder/rangefinder system.
Two weak points: The cocking rack that can be damaged by a heavy-handed user and the string -- which can break or become disconnected -- that handles the coupling between the meter and the shutter/aperture.
It's a very well made camera. It's also somewhat heavy. And there are only a limited number of lenses available. It's old school. No ASPH-hoohah or multi-matrix multi-mode anything.
Great camera, if you take the time.
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Great cameras. I have a bunch of Retina rangefinders and Retina Reflexes, in various states of repair. I've have searched for a IIIS that I can afford and have had little luck getting one that works. All of the Retinas are difficult and expensive to have fixed if they are in bad shape, wonderful to use if they work well.
I feel that the 111S is the best by far of the Retinas. Often overlooked in favour of the 111C or other folding Retinas, so they can be had for a less inflated price, If you can do without the folding function, these are the way to go. They have proper interchangeable lenses, the same ones as the later Retina Reflexes, and are just very pretty cameras. I have a couple of bodies, and a few lenses for them. The 50's include the Xenar, 1.9 Xenon and the Rodenstock Ysarex. Can't really pick between the two 50mm 2.8's, but the Xenon is a great lens, just a bit big on these cameras. I also have a 28, 35, 90, 135 and 200mm lenses, which are also adapted to fit on my Bessamatics.
As Mike says, the only real problem is sticky shutters (same as any leaf shutter) especially on the low speeds. THe 111s is not plagued by unreliability like the Reflex cameras, so should be very useable. One thing of note though, like all the later Retinas, the shutter locks when the counter reaches 0, not a fault, just Kodak trying to stop people getting that extra couple of shots out of the Kodachrome!
There is also the IIS which is a bit smaller and lighter than IIIS and is equipped with a fixed 45mm/2.8 Xenar lens. Both are wonderful cameras.
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I used a kit for quite a while. and generally agree to what others have answered.
Other drawbacks for me are ergonomics, lack of lenses wider than 28mm and a lackluster (Schneider) 85mm.
It looks really fantastic, though! :-)
Compared to, say, a Leica, it is much more fiddly and slower to use, but the results (apart from the 85mm) can be excellent.
I still have one, which I may put on the classifieds soon...
M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa
Very pretty camera. I wish I could find a set. I have the IIIc with the Xenar f/2
" A loving and caring heart is the beginning of all knowledge " ~ Thomas Carlyle ~
yes, I have a IIIS and it gets used from time to time, usually with the 28mm F4. Don't like the 135mm - can't get on with the tiny frame area. The 28mm supposedly needs a separate viewfinder, but I find that the whole viewfinder area is good enough - i.e. including what you can see outside the 35mm frame lines.
Mine went on its holidays to NZ for re-stringing. The super-bright viewfinder when it came back was a revelation - I thought it was already clean, but it obviously wasn't.
I had used it with a broken string -its not a show stopper - the meter needle still works, and a little sticker set-up to sunny 16 and +/- stops was fine, but eventually the shutter stuck, so a CLA was what it got.
I agree, its heavy, but useable. A great camera for taking to Goodwood revival (google it) where most people take on a period (50-60's) theme!
Great camera! I use mine all the time; in fact, it gets more use than my Nikon FM2 or my Nikon D300. I have the full suite of lenses for the IIIS.
If you need repairs for your Retina, try Chris: