Retina - strange, isn't it?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by vidom, Mar 7, 2006.

  1. No, there isn't anything strange about this Retina IIc, yet. As you may remember, I bought it, tried it, posted some results and was quite pleased with the performance of the Xenon lens. This is the camera:
    00FYAj-28648684.jpg
     
  2. The camera has interchangeable front elements so you can have different focal lengths. Optivally, that must be a compromise. I was curious how much this compromise influences the quality of the results. I was lucky to find a Retina Reflex that was cheap (because the owner thought it was broken) which came with the additional front elements that also fit the IIc. The 4/90 with its original shade and the 35/90 additional finder make this camera look like somthing from outer space, doesn't it?
    00FYB0-28648884.jpg
     
  3. By the way, those two small things next to the camera are the 2,8/50 front element and the 5,6/35 front element. Even without the shade, the 90 looks impressive on this small camera, doesn't it?
    00FYB6-28648984.jpg
     
  4. And here are the Retina twins. The Retina Reflex wasn't broken: the counter had counted down to "1" so the transport was blocked. I simply had to reset the counter to get it working again. I didn't even pay 50 Euro for the complete set including lenses, shades and some filters. The Retina Reflexes meter is still spot on after 50 years. Its a funny little camera.
    00FYBP-28649084.jpg
     
  5. Ergonomically, the IIc is a camera to be used with the 50mm lens exclusively. Only in real ermergencies the other lens elements should be used. The RF is only directly coupled with the normal lens; if you want to use a different focal length you have to meter, read the distance scale on top of the camera, turn the camera around and set the reading on one of three distance scales at the bottom side of the lens. One scale is for the 35, one for the 90 and the third for the 90 with a close-up lens that is needed if you want to shoot at distances smaller than 2m, which is the minimum setting for the 90. I did some test shots. The fist was made with the 50mm front elemet at f/5,6. The Xenon is a very fine lens indeed, perfectly usable today and on par with the best lenses at it's time.
    00FYBj-28649584.jpg
     
  6. Ergonomically, the IIc is a camera to be used with the 50mm lens exclusively. Only in real ermergencies the other lens elements should be used. The RF is only directly coupled with the normal lens; if you want to use a different focal length you have to meter, read the distance scale on top of the camera, turn the camera around and set the reading on one of three distance scales at the bottom side of the lens. One scale is for the 35, one for the 90 and the third for the 90 with a close-up lens that is needed if you want to shoot at distances smaller than 2m, which is the minimum setting for the 90. I did some test shots. The first was made with the 50mm front element at f/5,6. The Xenon is a very fine lens indeed, perfectly usable today and on par with the best lenses at it's time.
    00FYBo-28649684.jpg
     
  7. Excellent presentation.
     
  8. Sorry, I posted the last one twice. I took the next one with the Xenon-Curtar. This is a very, very small thing... Anyway, it takes 6 elements in front of the shutter to make the Xenon a 9 element 5,6/35mm wide angle lens (you can also have a 9 Element 35mm lens from Leica, but that would be the old Summicron design, a little faster a lens than the Curtar!), so some loss in contrast was to be expected. As can be seen on the negative, the picture is less contrasty than the one made with the 50mm front element, but it is not as bad as I thought it would be. It is surprisingly sharp from f/8 on. You wont't see differences in contrast on the pictures that come with this post as I levelled contrast digitally.
    00FYCI-28649884.jpg
     
  9. Now for the last one. The Longar is some chunk of glass. It is a 6-element design like the Curtar, but it took a little more glass to prevent it from vignetting. So we have a total of 9 elements to get a 4/90 (my Contax Triotar 4/90 performs better and has only three elements!). It is relatively sharp if you ever succeed in hitting the correct focus setting, but you must never use it wide open. Performance from f/8 is nearly satisfactory, but lots of contrast get lost on the way through all this glass. You can compensate this digitally - like I did here - or printing b/w, but shooting colour with this lens (which I didn't and won't try) can't be much fun unless you want it flat.
    00FYCk-28650384.jpg
     
  10. Peter, there is indeed something very strange about your IIc, at least in this forum:

    Its a good camera.

    It was expensive.

    It isn't Japanese.

    It really is a classic.

    And it was made before 1970.

    So it doesn't really fit in this forum.

    Keep this up and you just might inspire me to have my IB (capital B) revived.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  11. Indeed, a nice presentation. I am often embarassed to mention this (but I will, here)... I am a Retina user. It is one of my favorite cameras.

    Mine is a IIIc and I have the accessory lenses, also. I agree that they are of limited utility. They sure beat having no focal length options, but they sure are a pain in the neck to use. I overhauled shutter and body - a well adjusted Retina is quite smooth to use.

    One question, however... did you mis-type, Peter: my Longar is 80mm, not 90.
     
  12. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    These Retinas are such beautiful cameras. That first pic of above is of a Retina IIIc not a IIc. I may be wrong but I have almost an entire series I am restoring for a collector and the IIc doesn't have the diamond shaped rangefinder window as the one in your pic has but the IIIc does.

    Anyway if anyone is interested in buying beautiful Retinas in great shape I know someone that will be selling a bunch of em soon. If you're interested, E-mail me I can put you in touch with the person.
     
  13. opc

    opc

    The IIIc has a meter. Otherwise it is identical to the IIc.
     
  14. Very nice, informative presentation. My IIc looks terrible, but works great. It has the diamond shaped rangefinder window.
     
  15. I think maybe my little IIIc could be my best shooter. Anyway I am very well pleased with the results that I have received from it.

    http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=560870

    a few shots
     
  16. @ Brian: Sure, the Longar is an 80mm lens, not a 90mm. Sorry. I start getting confused with short tele focal lengths with all my 50's RF-Cameras: It's 100mm with the Voigtlander Prominent, 90mm with Leica and the Ambi Silette, 85mm with Contax and 80mm with the Retina.
     
  17. paul ron

    paul ron NYC

    Ah the meter, yes I missed that. I am looking at my IIc adn it has a square rangefinder window, must be a later model?

    Still it's a great camera and they work great. The interlocs tend make people think their cameras are broken but once you know what to look for and how to set the counter, it's great.

    What are the real collectors models, the ones to look for? I have no idea what they are worth, I just work on em and really never got into Retinas as a serious collector. Any ideas what to look for and what makes one worth more?
     
  18. The one for the collectors is the III (captital) C. It is a IIIc with frames for 35, 50 and 80 mm in the viewfinder so you don't need an external finder for the additional focal lengths. Check Stephen Gandy's Cameraquest Site for a nice review. I second his opinion that there is much undeserved hype about the IIIC. For me as a collector/user (with emphasis on "user") the Retina II are better because a 50 year old selenium meter's days are counted even if it works when you acquire the camera. As long as you don't need the additional focal lengths a IIa may be the best choice because it is even smaller and has a f/2 lens (OTOH if I wanted a folder with a nice non-interchangeable f/2 lens I'd have a Vitessa).
     
  19. Retina II and IIa each fit in my hip pocket, and have fast, decently sharp lenses. I saw a photo of Ruth Orkin in Italy about the time she took that highly poster-published photo of her friend walking down the street. In the photo of her, Ms. Orkin had a Retina hanging arond her neck. Now, I'm not saying she ...
     
  20. The camera pictured is definitely a IIc. Not only did the IIIc have a light meter, had a f2.0 lens, whereas the IIc has the same lens mechanically limited to f2.8. All of the Retina's are pretty terrific. The IIIC (big C) is the pick of the litter because it has a very nice viewfinder.
     
  21. I just won a IIa "by accident" and I don't know what to do with it. Too many cameras, esp. 35. Not pretty enuff for display.
     

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