1937 BLACK KODAK RETINA I, CLA'd, Freshly Serviced!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use
Forget the socks... What he really wants for Christmas is a vintage camera.
This is the Retina I, type 119, which Kodak produced in the Nagel plant in prewar Germany for a short period between 1936-38. This Retina cameras used a newly introduced Kodak film, which was cleverly designed to fit the Retina, as well as Leica and Contax 35mm 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 Retinas are historically very significant cameras.
This 80 year old Retina is in excellent condition and works very well. These cameras were used quite intensively in Europe during WWII because of their compact size and excellent performance. The Retina was a good choice if you had to carry it for weeks or months at a time, over long distances and rough terrain. It also had the advantage of an extremely quiet, reliable Compur shutter which made it an excellent choice for covert use. Many collectors in Europe believe that these early Nagel Retina’s are at as important as the first Leica or Contax cameras because without the Kodak Retina and its universal film cassette, 35mm photography might not have developed into the major photographic format of the post-war years.)
This Retina has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. Everything works and it uses normal 35mm film. The quality Compur shutter works very well. All speeds (T, B & 1 sec.-1/300th) fire smoothly and appropriately. It’s worth mentioning that the shutter is complete with its original extra-long shutter release button. (It screws into the shutter at the point where you would normally mount a cable release.) This extra button makes it even easier to use the camera and it is often missing.
The camera has a nice technical detail in that focusing is achieved by moving the entire lens/shutter combination back and forth. This provides better lens performance (especially up close) than the more common “front cell focus” in which only the front element is turned in or out.
The lens is a sharp Schneider Xenar 3.5/50mm, a four element lens very similar in design and performance as a Zeiss Tessar. This lens is well respected for its excellent performance and lovely rendition. (I enjoy using classic cameras and I’ve found that the 3.5/50mm Xenar produces photos that are nearly identical to the 3.5/50mm Leitz Elmar on the Leica II.) The lens has been well protected and is clean and clear. There are no scratches, just the usual light cleaning marks (but you’ll need a magnifier to see them). There are no separated elements, fungus or other problems and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and B&W films.
It comes complete with a used brown leather camera case.
All in all, a significant, enjoyable classic camera. Perfect for photographers with a historical interest or WWII reenactors. Load it with your favorite film and have fun shooting your favorite haunts with this 80 year old veteran.