Kodak Retina IIa Type 016 (1951)

 Kodak Retina IIa Type 016

    The Kodak Retina IIa is a German folding rangefinder camera produced from 1951-1954 in Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany by Nagel-Werke (for Kodak Aktiengesellschaft). It takes standard 135 cassettes, which were originally pioneered with the first Retina camera. The Retina series proved very popular, as these cameras are exceedingly well made and stellar performers.

    The entirety of the camera is made of machined or stamped metal. The entirety of the Retina series is made to a very high standard-- common in almost all German-made cameras. the bellows, in particular, is very strong and pliable and appears that it will be that way for years to come.

    The lens on the Retina IIa is the Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 50mm f/2 or the Rodenstock Heligon. Both lenses are absolutely superb and have immense resolving power with high contrast. This is mounted in a Synchro-Compur shutter, with speeds of 1s to 1/500s and Bulb. This shutter is automatically cocked when the film is wound, which also prevents double exposures. This shutter also has a Prontor-Compur (PC) port on the bottom for flash synch, in which the sync speed is selected between X and M with a green lever on the top of the shutter.

    Rangefinder and viewfinder windows are coupled and combined, and the rangefinder is easier to use than the contemporary Argus C4. though it is a little bit smaller. The lens itself is focused with a knurled tab on the shutter barrel. 

    Since the Retinas are folding cameras, this means that they are very compact. The camera is expanded with a button on the base of the camera, and collapse with the two silver buttons on the top and bottom of the front standard. 

    The camera is opened with a silver lever on the side of the camera. The back swings open and film loaded. The back is closed and the film advanced without firing the shutter with the small button next to the winding lever. Once the frame counter is set, photos may be taken. Film is wound on with the ergonomic lever on the top of the camera and rewinding is achieved by just pulling up partially and rotating the knob on the top.

    I adore the Retina IIa-- it is small enough to fit in the front pocket of my jeans and it takes professional-quality photos in that small package. Many consider the IIa to be the best iteration of the Retina series, and I can see why that is the case. 

The Retina, Folded.

Sample Images (Compressed, pardon quality)


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