Kodak Retina Automatic III

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by gabor_szabo|3, Apr 18, 2010.

  1. Many thanks to Pnet member Ed Birch for this honey of a rangefinder. Part of a generous trade/swap this past winter, the Kodak Automatic III finally got some real exercise with film .
    Outfitted with a nice 45/2.8 Schneider Retina-Xenar , this handsome RF provides shutter-priority automatic exposure. The bottom-mounted thumb lever film advance is smooth, the viewfinder and RF patch are bright and clear, and a focus assist knob on the edge of the lens barrel makes focusing a breeze.
    My only complaint is the shutter release button positioned to the right of the lens. I feel it takes too much effort to depress and contributes to camera shake ( noticeable at 1/30th sec ).
    All of the photos posted below were from an outdated roll of Portra 160 NC . All exposures were made with the camera's autoexposure mode. Manual override is possible, but this specimen suffers from sticky iris in manual mode. I cannot seem to get the iris to close down when selecting small f/stops. It works fine, apparently, when left in "A", however.
  2. I started the roll at Newark's Branch Brook Park with cherry blossoms in full bloom, my twins seen enjoying the Springtime foliage.
    Next are several shots around the neighborhood in Oradell, NJ. Metering accuracy was better than expected for these photos bathed in morning sunlight. Very little if any level tweaks were necessary when scanning the negs.
    Lastly we have a few shots I took while exploring the Van Buskirk Island and old Hackensack Water Works facility. The friendly chap, Reuven, was kind enough to pose for a few snaps with the Kodak and my other rangefinders I had with me. We discussed Hackensack River habitat and kayaking possibilities in this area.
    More photos from this place to follow (Yashica GSN, Pentax SV, V'lander Prominet).
    Again, thanks, Ed Birch, for this swell Retina !
  3. That's a very tidy Retina, Gabor, and you've posted some really nice photographs. The muted colour from the Portra is very pleasant; I particularly like the first pic of the twins and the portrait of Reuven, and the one of the old brick factory is a strong image. Good lens, and the exposures look perfect. I'd agree about the face-mounted shutter release; I have a couple of Agfa Optimas from this era and they have the same un-ergonomic system. There's just no way to squeeze gently, you have to push down, inviting camera-shake. Thanks for the post.
  4. Gabor, these are really nice shots, all of them. The Retina Automatic is a pretty neat camera with a very nice lens and, combined with some good film like the Portra you selected, can produce outstanding results. I had the same feeling about the shutter release, although on one of the examples I had, the shutter release had a lot of resistance and it felt as though I was going to break it. Your Retina Automatic obviously works quite well in your gifted hands. Thanks for a great post and presentation!
  5. The muted colour from the Portra is very pleasant​
    At first, I was tempted to punch up the blacks and red saturation while P-shopping these and other negs. I like NC's qualities of being gentle on skin tones and very forgiving with exposures (as far as color negative films go ).
    I have enough of this stuff to last me through early summer. At 50-cents a roll for slightly-expired 36-exp rolls, who can complain ?
  6. Great Shots Gabor I loved them all especialyl the houses. I really liked the one with the Geese in the front! I liked the Chrch steeple too.. I liked them all. I don't know this model personally, but I mentioned the later Voigtländer models also sport a front shutter release that's an invitation to camdera shake.. what were they thinking... Similar Vintage is the Contafley Super B. I was making a similar experiment on shutter priority. I need to develop the film. I'm surprised your aperture works correctly in Auto, but hangs in manual?!? Hmmh?? My Super B has a problem in manual.. I washed the F-Stops off the dial
    while cleaning when I first got it back in 1988. I hope my Auto results are consistent enough to continue using the camera!
    Thanks for Posting! Looking forward to other RF results soon!
  7. Hey Gabor. So glad the camera is working so well for you. I've put the "trade items to good use, and thanks again fro evrey thing. The shots are great.
  8. Nice "color purple" shots. Great color and obviously a capable shooter (you and the camera).
  9. Interesting camera and pics, Gabor! The portraits are a delight. The lens looks fairly free from distortion. At fifty cents a roll that film is a real bargain. My monitor does show a slight magenta cast running through them, though. It should be easy enough to dial out.
  10. Gabor, I love the color of the Portra 160 NC. Enjoyable series all around.
    I was in Branchbrook Park on Sunday with my Rolleiflex, I shot a roll of Porta 160 VC and some TriX 320. The Portra shots should be ready tomorrow.
  11. Louis, yeah, I agree with your observation of the magenta tinge. Maybe this is what JDM was referring to with his "color purple" comment ?
    I just Spyder-ed my monitor the other day, too. My eyes/brain register a range of colors depending on my mood, lack of sleep, or amount of caffeine & other alkaloids. I've always been accused of preferring prints that lean heavily on the warm side. Maybe it's some psychological defense against years of dealing with an acquaintance who was notorious for his reverence of cyan-hued prints.
    One thing that is bugging me when it comes to magenta is my old D70s. No matter how I set WB ( Pre-set or otherwise), shadows on a white background ( as in product shots of antiques and photo equipment ) are always red/magenta. Granted, the camera is almost a Senior Citizen and closing in on 6-digit shutter actuation....
  12. Hi Gabor, I recently was given a Retina Automatic III from my grandmother. It was my grandfathers and he took really good care of it. I've taken a few rolls of film but haven't seem to get the hang of it quite yet. I'm new to photography and that could be the problem since I'm not quite understanding focusing it and it's other features. A few of the shots I've taken have come out great but mostly they're blurry. I was wondering if you had any tips for me on how to get clearer forcused shots. Any tip would help at this point. I just really wish to take some good photos with it like my grandfater did at one point. Thank you so much. -Krista
  13. I just got a Kodak Retina Automatic 3. I have yet to put film in it but I did have it CLA'd by Chicago Camera. I just sent an email to Krista asking if she is still using hers. She did not get a response in 3 years, guys. Not fair.

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