Kodak Retina IIIc

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by alfonsomartinez, Jan 26, 2021.

  1. So, if I am shooting two shots of the same scene using the camera's exposure meter and another using a light meter. Where I expect one meter or the other to indicate the de facto standard.

    If the camera's exposure meter is functioning as "kmac' stated: "The light meter has been designed and factory adjusted for that camera alone, the 111c, with all variables taken into consideration. It may not read exactly the same as other meters simply because it's designed for that one camera and hand-held meters might meter for different angles."

    So if the camera's meter is working, the images should be spot on while the images from the light meter should not as precise. And vice-versa, if the light meter is more correct.

    I will shoot some scenes manually setting the shutter and aperture for additional tests for comparison.

    So shooting +1 would not be best at this time since I am trying to establish the camera's baseline and determine what would be the best methods to employ henceforth.
  2. AJG


    Correct exposure is correct exposure, regardless of the camera you are using. Older selenium cell meters definitely have issues in low light because they simply aren't as sensitive as more modern CdS or silicon blue cell meters. Many meters aren't linear in their response to light either--they may be fine in bright light and inaccurate in lower light conditions or vice versa. If you have a reliable handheld meter then compare it against the Retina and see what you get. As for the camera itself, it is possible that shutter speeds will run a bit slow, especially if the camera hasn't been used in a long time. F/stop settings should be pretty accurate, however. A roll of slide film under differing conditions should tell you what you need to know.
    alfonsomartinez likes this.
  3. Well, in practice you may get slightly different readings, let's just put it that way. Studying the negs or slides from a film test is best way to go.

    The 111c meter is made for "averaging" out the bright and dark areas of the scene. It's not a super sensitive meter but when it was new it did give reasonably accurate "EV" readings to go by. There's two red arrows on the light meter dial, one for "Door Closed" and one for "Door Open". If the needle doesn't move very far in low light, the door is then meant to be opened and you read from the "Door Open" arrow, that's the one that leads from the black "honeycomb" symbol. The "Door Closed" symbol is the red rectangle with a red circle in it. That circle represents the tiny hole in the actual door, that light passes through and activates the meter for bright light conditions such as bright sunny days with no cloud cover, or very few clouds.
    alfonsomartinez likes this.
  4. Come on guys.
    It's a wide-coverage reflective meter stuck to the top of the camera. Even if it was working like new; how accurate do you think it could be? And compared to what?
    Yet another wideangle reflective meter that's going to be affected by subject reflectivity and by stray light getting onto its sensor?

    Let's get real here.
    alfonsomartinez likes this.
  5. What a sweet camera. Best luck with it, I look forward to seeing some photos shot with this!
  6. Well, my dad took all the family photos on Kodachrome with a Retina IIIc, using the built in meter. His hit rate on exposures was probably better than 90%. Meters designed for typical subjects can work just fine with typical subjects. Night shots and unusual situations with a selenium meter? All bets are off.
    alfonsomartinez and AJG like this.
  7. I'm not saying it's useless Conrad, but OTOH it's no Sekonic L358 either.

    Sometimes 'near enough is good enough' and IMO that's what the aim of using a meter like this should be.

    From past experience with 50+ year old selenium meters, just getting a needle deflection is a stroke of luck.
    ] and Bettendorf like this.
  8. Agreed. And also with Conrad's last two sentences. This is what I was implying by suggesting he run a roll of C-41 through in a variety of exposures and see where you stand.
    ] likes this.
  9. The intention is to determine if the use of the camera's exposure meter is viable for use by matching it to the light meter. If the camera's meter is functional but it is consistently off by the same close range...then I can use the camera's meter with some measure of confidence by always offsetting by the same discovered settings. Then monitor the meter's performance by seeing the scans later.

    I am amazed that the photoelectric meter is functioning after 67 years--awesome engineering for sure! I have seen many listings for Retina IIIc's where they state the meter is inoperative. So thank you all for your comments--you guys are a great source of information and ideas!
    johnfantastic, ] and Bettendorf like this.
  10. The Retina is a straightforward design and any good repair shop should be able to do a competent CLA. Be sure to specify a full cleaning/then relubrication of the shutter and a thorough cleaning of the RF/VF optics.
    alfonsomartinez likes this.
  11. alfonsomartinez said:
    The scans won't be of much help, after the digital conversion by the scanner's software. The traditional way of assessing negatives is to use a lightbox and a loupe, a procedure that is still totally relevant today.
    Bettendorf and alfonsomartinez like this.
  12. ]


    Agree with this. I love folding Retinas, and use a 1b scale focus model. Mine makes superb images, and has for the last 26 or 27 years since I bought mine for $60. Never had a repair or CLA yet either. Still works well today.
  13. Forgot, I did a brief writeup on mine, with a drawing for the special wrench required to remove the shutter- Retina IIIc

    There's a reference to my links page, but if I ever had one, I don't anymore. I don't consider these easy to work on, at least not the body, and I'd never give one to a tech for a CLA that didn't already have experience with them.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2021
  14. As I wait for my new film to arrive, the Schneider Kreuznach Retina-Longar-Xenon C f:4/80mm lens had a lot of internal dust and "spots".


    It was quickly disassembled (in the front two-thirds) and the lenses cleaned up quite nicely. However, I need to gain access past the spring-loaded section of the lens mount. Does anyone have the specs on doing that? Do I just remove the three screws that attach the small lens to the spring-loaded black section of the lens?

    Just curious if any one has cleaned up these type of lenses before...they are pretty easy to work on versus the more modern types.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2021
  15. Oooh! That's a big collection of 'ifs'.

    All the dead or dying selenium meters I've come acros have died in a non-linear way. The cell loses output with increasing light. In other words it stays reasonably accurate in low light, but gets more and more inaccurate at the top end of its range.

    So there's no single correction factor you can apply to a selenium meter that's gone off.
    Can't help you there. But Schneider lenses often have poor edge blackening - 'Schneideritis'. I've discovered that a permanent black felt-tip pen is perfect for retouching loose or incomplete edge-blacking.
    alfonsomartinez likes this.

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