Walkabout with the Kodak Retina IIF

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by a_arun, May 4, 2015.

  1. I was out walking/photographing when I came across a flea market and to my delight there was a table selling old cameras. Among other stuff which I had no way of testing, there was a Kodak Retina IIF in its brown leather ‘never ready’ case. I could see the front element was clear, the camera looked good, the shutter fired and sounded accurate, the rangefinder appeared to work – to cut a long story short the camera followed me home.
    Sadly there was no exposed film inside, but the camera itself worked fine. It’s made very differently from my other cameras – for example there are no light seals – everything fits so crisply there’s no _need_ for foam. The mechanics are very different too – it’s hard to get used to the winder on the bottom, and the shutter on the front plate. That said, folks probably shot a lot less back then!
    The selenium meter still responds to light, though it’s off. Strangely it appears to underexpose (not overexpose like I would have expected it to). The rangefinder was a bit dim, which I could improve by pasting a dot of insulating tape in the center. The shutter works fine, but the springs sound ‘tired’ when trying the longer exposures.
    Someone put a lot of thought designing the viewfinder – through the viewfinder I can see the meter and centering notch, and also the shutter speed and aperture on the lens barrel!
    They say a picture is worth a thousand words so I will cut to a picture of the camera - and my light meter :)
    Here are some images from Chicago (all exposures on Kodak T-Max 100). Metered using the “light meter” app on android, in reflective mode. The mix of old camera, modern emulsion and smartphone worked surprisingly well!
  2. [​IMG]
    Chicago skyline seen from the walkway, Millennium Park.
  3. Bean there, done that.

  4. A few from near the river...
    Now why did he have to put his name on the building?
  5. I saw many nice bikes parked along the roads, certainly more than in other cities...
  6. Ever wonder how that old, wonderful Schneider Kreuznach 45mm f/2.8 lens will render out-of-date Velvia 100? Wonder no more:
  7. A final one - to show how the lens renders fine detail.
    Well mostly because I can't believe spring really is here.
  8. That's all folks. I shot many more images in Chicago, but on digital.
    I would use my film gear more but for the fact that quality of output isn't amenable to serious use, mainly because of a single weak link in the chain - scanning.
    The cold hard fact is that if there was a decent scanning service at an affordable cost I would use a lot more film - as I suspect would many others.
  9. Wonderfully crisp, especially appreciate the B&W pics. I like the rigid Retinas, some think that the Retina line expired with the last folder, but the rigid cameras are a better bet in my opinion.
    Like all Retinas, the optics are first class as shown by the sharpness in your images. Glad to see the Bean back,and I really like your take on it, particularly that first one. One would imagine that this sculpture is popular with photographers :)
  10. SCL


    Nice camera, nice shots.
  11. These are both enjoyable and excellent. Thanks for sharing!
    How did you digitize these by the way? Commercial service or yourself? Locally I found a place that develops C-41 and scans at 2000x3000 for about $8 per roll (24 or 36). It's good enough for "proofing" and most web uses. The downside is that turnaround is very slow, and sometimes scanning is botched; the guy is cooperative and will re-scan without complaint, but it's another 2 weeks, and I'd rather he just do it right the first pass and save us both time. When done right however, the results are quite good.
  12. Nice shots. I like the metallic look in them. Thank you for sharing and see you around Chicago.
  13. Nice results. I must use my IIF more often.
  14. Tack-sharp, nice angles, great tones. A nice lens, that Retina-Xenar, as you've shown. If you're seriously into film, you'll just have to spend the bucks and get your own scanner. Besides giving you the control over your images, scanning's a lot of fun. Thanks for an interesting post.
  15. Excellent pics of my hometown. Nice find that Retina.
  16. I've been out of town for few days, so this is a nice thread come back to.
    I learned long ago to never underestimate the capabilities of a Retina.
    The reflections in the "Been there, done that" trio really caught my eye with regards for composition. The snow scene reminds me of drinking that second cup of coffee before heading outdoors in the Winter.
  17. Great photos, with a really great eye. I enjoy taking B&W shots around downtown, there are so many perspectives and fascinating views. The older I get, the more I seem to like SK lenses too. Never owned a Kodak, but now I think I know which might be my first! Also, I agree with you on scanning, I do it but the first parts of the process (actual digitizing and processing into a "raw" image file) are tedious. Turning the "raw" image into what you want is, as Mr. Drawbridge states, fun.
  18. Woww what a co-incidence. I saw this retro Android App and I so wanted That I rooted my phone in anticipation Flashing the ROM to get the free version the older (Gingerbread) costs so this is drastic. Haaa ! Loved your results The Retina series just blows you away with build quality. I might need to look closer at these non-folders. Very Nice post indeed!
  19. Hi all,
    Many thanks for the kind words.
    I used Ilford Lab (US) to scan my images (chose the medium option); and they used a Noritsu scanner judging from the folder names.
    In the past, I have done better scans using a Plustek Opticfilm 7200 that I owned (and sold- too slow) and Epson 4490. I recall getting usable results from 35mm on the 4490 but the recent scans I did (of the Velvia) left me underwhelmed.
    I plan to shoot a roll a month alongside the digital but struggling with how to scan it better. If I solve it I will post; perhaps a not-too-painful way of using a DSLR to digitize the film will give better results than scanning.
    I agree the Retina is very well built. There are some plastic parts (rewind knob); but it is 'crisply' made and everything is tightly assembled. And the lens is very good indeed. Some of the best $20 I spent :)
  20. I have a a guy who processes c41 and scans in the same day for standard sizes for film film cut down to 828 or 16 mm he will provide
    negatives and I digitalization them on my cannoscan. When he gets enough E6 he still des that until he uses up his chemicals.and only
    35 mm. But his product looks retry good to me. This is in Blacksburg Va. I just hope film gets more popular so he will find it worthwhile to

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