F. and S. Marriott 140 Newbegin, Hornsea, England, HU18 1PB

May 2010. Stephanie died peacefully on 19th April after a short stay in hospital. She had been suffering from acute cervical cancer. Fred will continue to run the business to the best of his ability. The web site is slowly getting under control again as he tries to take over some of Stephanie's responsibilities, and learns some of the mysteries of Dreamweaver.

Pieces An on-line look at cameras etc. by Stephanie Marriott


Retina I Type 117

Retina I Type 119

Retina II Type 122

Retina I Type 141

Retina IIa (1939)

Retina Ia and IIa

Retina Ib Type 018

Retina IIc Type 020

Retina IIIc

Retina IB Type 019

Retina IIC

Retina IIIC

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June 2000

The Kodak Retina cameras are surely one of the most avidly collected of all system cameras. The Retina name was applied to several different lines of camera, including folding 35 mm. cameras, rigid 35 mm. cameras and reflex 35 mm. cameras. I have restricted myself to the folding 35 mm. cameras here. Detail variants exist for some models, which I have not described. Retina cameras were the product of the former Nagel camera works in Germany, and models are frequently identified by "type number", e.g. type 117. Folding Retina cameras were in production from 1934 until 1954, and over half a million cameras were made. An additional small batch of IIIC models was completed in recent years, using remaining spare parts.

The first Retina, the Retina type 117, established the basic design for future Retina folding cameras. It was supplied with a Schneider Xenar f/3.5 50 mm. lens in a Compur shutter. The camera has an optical viewfinder and there is separately-operated double exposure prevention interlock. The top plate is in black enamel.

A similar, but slightly improved version, came out in 1935. This was the type 118, with automatic double exposure prevention interlock.

The "modern" style Retina appeared in 1936 (type 119). This features a redesigned top plate, with the film counter incorporated into the same pressing with the viewfinder. This model is seen with the Kodak Ektar lens, or the Compur Rapid shutter, as alternatives. Also in 1936, a "de lux" version was obtainable (type 126), with a chromed finish in place of the black enamel. A Compur Rapid shutter was standard, and Xenar, Ektar, or the f/3.5 Carl Zeiss Tessar lenses, were available.

The Retina II was first introduced in 1936 (type 122). The first model has separate rangefinder and viewfinder eyepieces, but the basic camera design is retained. A Compur Rapid shutter is used, with f/3.5 Ektar, f/2.8 Xenar, or f/2 Xenon lenses available.

A cheaper version of the Retina I appeared in 1937 (type 141), with Compur or Compur Rapid shutter and Ektar or Xenar f/3.5 lens. The film counting dial is of a different design.

A further change was made to the top plate and film counter of the Retina II for 1937 (type 142).

In 1938 the Retina I was available in black enamel finish (type 143). This was possibly a cheaper version of the camera.

In 1939 another redesign of the top plate and film counter appeared (type 148). The top plate is all chrome. Another version (type 149) has the viewfinder/film counter pressing chromed, with the rest of the metal in black enamel.

The Retina II was redesigned in 1939, with the viewfinder and rangefinder eyepieces combined. This camera appears to have been designated in some markets as the "IIa", but should not be confused with the post-war camera of that name.

Production resumed after the war, with minor variations occuring up to the introduction of the Ia and IIa in 1951. The Retina I (type 010) follows the style of the pre-war camera, with chrome top plate, Compur Rapid shutter, and Ektar, Xenar, or Rodenstock Ysar f/3.5 lenses. The Retina II (type 011) is similar to the pre-war camera, with Compur Rapid shutter and f/2 Xenon or Rodenstock Heligon lenses.

In 1949 the Retina I (type 013) saw the introduction of the full-width top plate, and the "streamlined" trim on the shutter front. The f/2.8 Xenar became available about this time. The Retina II (type 014) also featured the trim on the shutter front.

In 1951 lever-wind was added to the camera, to give the Retina Ia (type 015) and the Retina IIa (type 016). Both cameras started using the Synchro-Compur shutter as soon as it was available.

A major redesign appeared in 1954 with the introduction of the Retina b and c models.

The Retina Ib (type 018) was the basic model, without the rangefinder. It came with the f/2.8 Xenar and Synchro-Compur shutter.

The Retina IIc (type 020) uses the same body and front, but incorporates the coupled rangefinder.

The Retina IIIc has in addition a built-in uncoupled exposure meter. The remarkable feature of both the IIc and the IIIc is their provision for changing the lens focal length. Both Rodenstock and Schneider developed special lens equipment for these cameras, said to be amongst the finest lenses ever made, which provide converters to change the focal length to 35 mm. or 80 mm. from the standard 50 mm. The lens systems are not interchangeable, however - if the basic lens is Schneider, then the converters must be Schneider also. The basic lens in the Retina IIc is a 50 mm. f/2.8, in the Retina IIIc it is a 50 mm. f/2. The viewfinder shows the field of view of the 50 mm. standard lens. A supplementary viewfinder is required for the converter lenses.

In 1957 the Retina IB (type 019) was introduced. This follows the design of the Ib, but has a built-in ncoupled exposure meter. The viewfinder is of the "bright-line" type.

In 1958 the final versions of the production cameras appeared.

The Retina IIC (type 029) now has the brightline viewfinder, with fields of view for the 35 mm., 50 mm., and 80 mm. focal lengths.

The Retina IIIC (type 028) also now has the brightline multi-focal-length viewfinder.

In the 1980s a small final batch of Retina IIIC cameras was assembled from remaining spare parts. These cameras incorporate a later version of the exposure meter, with provision for more sensitive emulsions, and are the most sought-after models of these popular and successful cameras.

A wide range of accessories was produced for the Retina cameras, including close-up filters and copying stands.

Other Information

Kodak Retina I and II advertisement (1939)

Other Retina Advertising (1960, 1961 and 1962)

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