Kodak Retina: An Antique Find

The Kodak Retina 1a is very compact and so tiny it can fit in your pocket.

The Kodak Retina 1a is very compact and so tiny it can fit in your pocket.

A few months ago my dad found a guy that was selling a handful of really old cameras. He bought the lot and included was a super cute compact Kodak Retina Ia. This little guy dates back to 1951! The glass was clean and relatively dust free. This model is a folder camera which means that it has some bellows that pull out with the lens. The addition of a flash sync slot and a winder instead of a knob made this model a bit more modern than the ones before it. I was surprised at how great of a condition it was in, aside from a little mold on the front leather the insides were extremely clean. Someone definitely loved this, enough to even engrave their name on it!

Front view, closed.

Front view, closed.

Open

Open

Lens close up

Lens close up

Top view, open

Top view, open

You can get these pretty cheap off of eBay for around $30-$50 in working condition. I looked on Etsy and someone is trying to sell one on there for $400 – don’t buy that. This camera takes 35mm film, we used Tri-X b&w. The following photos are taken by Andrew on a shoot I did a few months back. He used the Sunny 16 Rule since there is no light meter and we didn’t have an external one handy.

If you have this camera and want to use the Sunny 16 rule, check out these charts I found on Google Images. *If you made any of them, please let me know so I can give you credit!

images sunny16Now let’s get to the photos…I was impressed with the glass! The images are sharp and aside from minor exposure corrections are just as they are from the scanner.

Sister

Sister

Loafer

Loafer

Twins

Twins

Me!

Me!

Trees

Trees

Sister

Sister

Find more of Andrew’s work on his website.

Want to see the actual color shoot were the twins were dressed up in the woods? Click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Kodak Retina: An Antique Find

  1. That’s got to be the NICEST personal engraving I’ve seen on any classic camera. Most just have a social security number clumsily carved into the bottom or back of the top plate. Such engravings decrease the monetary value of any camera for a collector unless there is a famous name. This Louis guy is worth doing some research on. Not only did he do a beautiful job engraving his name, he chose to do so front and center on the camera, adding a lot of unique character to it. I personally would pay more for this Retina if given the choice between it and another of similar quality for that alone!

    I’m quite a fan of Retina series cameras. They are branded Kodak but are high quality German cameras from the design to the build quality to the lens performance.

    The Voigtlander VC II is a spectacular little clip-on LED meter for cameras like these that I also recommend if you find yourself wanting to use a Retina in less even lighting situations.

    • I’ll look into it! I googled his name when I first got it and couldn’t find anything…I’ll try again. It’s a great little find and it still amazes me how great of condition it remained in. As always, thanks for the well thought out commentary πŸ™‚

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