I promised you, my dear readers: this would be the last Retina test. Actually it had been there for a bit of time and waited for his chance to be used. The Retina IIa is one of the most sought after on the market and in fact, I struggled just to find a copy in good condition at a reasonable price. The reasons are soon said: small, handy, but at the same time, equipped with a rangefinder and especially, the prestigious and fast Schneider Kreuznach lens Xenon 50mm f/2.
Okay, do not say I did not warn you! Most of my purchases in recent months has focused on Kodak Retina and Retinette cameras. As a result, even my shots and post on this blog … reflect this trend. This time, however, let’s consider one of the “Top” models of the range: the Retina IIIc (Typ 021 Ausf I). Laboriously, and after a long search, I managed to win one at an affordable price. In fact, many collectors and enthusiasts, eagerly, are grabbing these jewels of photography, conyinuosly raising the prices. Indeed, the aesthetics, the level of construction and the photographic performance, give their holder the feeling of holding in your hands something really valuable.
Once again, on this blog, it is the turn of a Kodak Retinette. This time, it is the IIA model (Typ 036), produced in the 1959/60 biennium. It differs from the (virtually) contemporary IA model especially for the presence of the coupled exposure meter and the ingenious method indicating the depth of field similar, if not practically equal, to the one present on the IIB model. To tell the truth, the numbering of the various Retinette models is rather convoluted and I myself still constantly confused between a model and another. So I recommend you consult this Camerapedia page to get a better idea. However, whatever the denomination, each Retinette model I used has always lived up to the hype, back home photographs very well exposed and sharp, thanks to the excellent Reomar, both in the Schneider Kreuznach (IIB versions and IIA), or Rodenstock (IB) versions.
Walking along the Via Appia Antica, in Rome, it’s like taking a leap into the past. Nearby, the modern city with all its noise and its concrete while before our eyes they lie green fields, luxury villas half-hidden among the ancient trees and above all, to the sides of the old road (often with the original flooring), construction of the Roman era, statues, temples and votive plaques. That alone could be enough to bring the visitor back in time more than twenty centuries but, sometimes, you can do amazing meetings, which return a scenario worthy of those immortalized by landscape painters of the nineteenth century.
This time I want to talk a little about the Kodak Retina II (Typ 011). A camera (for the era in which it was built) high performance. Indeed, it was equipped with a coupled rangefinder and a Schneider Kreuznach Xenon 50 mm f/2 lens. What makes a bit special the copy in my possession is a small white triangle (which means not coated) between marks that identify the lens and which is present only in a small number of copies, produced in Germany during 1948 for the domestic market. Of course this is only a little curiosity that adds nothing to the value of the camera itself, if not from the historical point of view.
Since I started (again) to deal with analog photography, I discovered that there are many enthusiasts who use and collect eagerly Retina cameras and Retinette produced (in numerous models and variants) by Kodak Nagel in Germany from the thirties to the late sixty. At the beginning I did not give much weight to the thing: I was attracted more by other types of cameras, but then some “virtual” friends have strongly advised me to try them. I must also say that my “family camera”, the one with which my father photographed my childhood … was a Retinette Ia!