This is Dad’s Kodak Retina IIC, which he purchased used from his brother-in-law in the early 1960’s. He handed it down to me when I was a in my late teens, and it was my first 35m camera. That was a quite a step up from my trusty Instamatic. Dad and I both recall that photos from this Retina were impressively crisp and the colors bright.
The Retina IIC was produced by Kodak from 1954 to 1958 although the original Retina was first introduced in 1936. All of the Retinas were manufactured in Germany and the IIC was equipped with either a Rodenstock or a Schneider interchangeable 50mm f/2.8 lens and had shutter speeds up to 1/500 second. A true rangefinder, it sported a folding lens cover and a retractable lens, which created a very stylish but pocketable camera.
The IIC did not have a built-in meter so using an external light meter was recommended. However, if you did not have a meter, all was not lost. You could refer to the manual, where a handy 15×8 table gave you light values by film ASA, under four different light conditions, and for color vs. B&W films.
And accompanying that table was this advice:
The light value table is valid for the months from May to August between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Reduce the light value obtained by 1 during March, April, September and October, as well as between 9 a.m. And 11 a.m and between 4 and 6 p.m. Reduce the light value by 2 during the winter months of November to February.
The things we take for granted.
As you can see, this old girl is showing her age, and it’s in need of a thorough cleaning and reconditioning. That’s a project in itself, but I’ve been looking at some devoted Retina fans who offer that service. I’d sure love to run a roll of film through it one more time.