Kodak Retinette

Kodak Retinette – early run of the first non folder?

I have two reference books that I look up old cameras in. One tells me that the first Retinette of 1952 was a folding camera (Focal Press “cameras of 1963”), the other “McKeown’s Cameras 1997/1998” states: Retinette cameras: A series of low priced 35mm cameras made in Germany by Kodak A.G. from 1939 to 1967. I am inclined to trust the latter.

Kodak Retinette – the top plate

The next problem I have is trying to identify which model I have. It is certainly not a folder, so my conclusion is that it is an original, first of the rigid bodies – a Retinette (Type 022)? If anyone knows any different, please let me know! It has the Compur-Rapid shutter, that seems good at all speeds. It has the Schneider Reomar f3.5 45mm lens, and it matched the illustration in the book, except that shows a PC socket to the top left of the lens (when looking at the front of the camera) mine does not have this. Does this mean it’s early in it’s production run and it was added to later ones, I think I may have read that somewhere!? To look at these illustrations in the book, it looks like a Retinette F, but that has the wrong shutter/lens combination! (Type 022/7).

Anyway whichever model it is – encouraged by the results of my massively out of date cheap colour film from 1999 used to test the Ricoh, I decided to run a roll through. As before, I was surprised by the results from the films performance and with a little help from photoshop, and some basic colour balance/levels, got a few good results.

I am not familiar with this type and age of camera, and I think that the sometimes-poor focus is down to me. It appears that I am not that good at guessing closer focus. When I was on, I was on, like the second world war memorial seat – sharp and good. The flowers had depth so I could get away with those, but other closer shots, not so good. Again, I used the sunny 16 rule, and assumed the 200 ISO film was 100.

I took a couple of distance shots on infinity and these too are more than soft – I might run another film through to see if I can improve my technique, or I might move on – time will tell!

2 thoughts on “Kodak Retinette

  1. Chris Sherlock is the go-to guy for Retina and Retinette questions. His page on the Retinette shows your id to be correct given the location of the flash connection on the shutter (https://retinarescue.com/retinettetype022variations.html)
    If your focus is off at infinity, then it will not be correct in any closer distance. That is pretty easy to correct. The usual method is to place a piece of ground glass or Scotch Magic tape at the film plane with the back open and the shutter held open with the B or T setting. Use a loupe to view the image on the ground glass with the aperture wide open and turn the front lens until the focus is sharp on a distant target. Then loosen the little set screws on the rim of the front lens so that you can turn the rim without changing the position of the lens. Set the focus mark so that it is aligned with the infinity mark on the focus scale and tighten the set screws. If your focus is good at infinity it will be good at all distances. The problem with focus misalignment often results from a previous user disassembling the lens for cleaning and then not properly setting the focus on reassembly.


    1. Hi Mike, Nice to hear from you again, I trust you are well! Thanks for the link, looks like my powers of deduction are better than my attempts at being a human rangefinder! Your comments about the focus are of course spot on – if it’s out on infinity, it will be out all the way through. I think I shall have a go at the calibration you suggest, by coincidence I’ve just been given an Ihagee WLF as used on an Exa cameras and that will make an ideal ground glass to focus on. If successful I think I might try some B/W next time. I just have a feeling it might render tones well – we’ll see – all the best Andy


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