This is the Kodak Retina, type 117, which was produced in the former Nagel plant in prewar Germany for Kodak for only two years between 1936-38. This camera was well constructed and featured a die cast alloy chassis, black lacquer, real leather and nickel plated trim. Often overlooked, this camera is tremendously important because with this this first model Retina, Kodak introduced the “modern” 35mm roll film, which was cleverly designed to fit the Contax I and the Leica. (Prior to the introduction of this film, in order to use an early 1930’s 35mm camera, movie film had to be hand loaded into the proprietary film holders provided by various manufacturers for their cameras.) This new 35m film had a profound impact on camera design and all modern 35mm cameras still use this same film. For this reason the original black Retina was historically a very significant camera.
These photos were taken the Retina, which is fitted with a 3.5/5cm (50mm) Xenar lens. Film and processing was selected to simulate the original grainy look of early 1930's film. (Naturally a modern fine grain film has a much smoother appearance.)
The owner hails from New York and as is often the case, he was kind enough to share his photos with us. Copyright 2016 Ray Vickers. All rights reserved.