Friday, January 4, 2013

Spotlight: Kodak Retina iiic

The Retina iiic was introduced to me by my former boss/mentor, Tom Foley. Despite the fact that it bears the Kodak name, it's actually an excellent little German rangefinder camera. The iiic is quite compact, yet very powerful and versatile at the same time.  The lens is a beautiful 1:2 50mm Schneider-Kreuznach, capable of producing some very sharp, crisp images. The lens is also removable, allowing for an 80mm or 35mm lens to take its place. 
Top View
The iiic offers some unique features that are worth mentioning. For starters, the camera has a cool system of selecting your aperture and shutter speed. Once you determine the correct exposure using the built in match-needle selenium cell light meter, that set exposure becomes locked. So let's say the correct exposure for a certain subject was f8 at 1/125th. If you then change the aperture to f5.6, the shutter-speed will change with it to 1/250th. If you change the aperture to f11, the shutter-speed becomes 1/60th. Either way you turn the dial, the exposure stays the same. This way, you can change the aperture or shutter-speed quickly and not have to worry about changing the other setting. Of course, you can over-ride this feature any time by pushing on a lever.

Another odd feature about the iiic is that the film advance lever is on the underside of the camera, unlike every other camera every made, which has the lever on the top. Why the manufacturers did this, I don't know, but it takes a little getting used to.
With the door closed

Now, as Tom likes to remind me, my Retina iiic is a "piece of shit". See, Tom owns a Retina iiiC (big C). The iiiC is a bit rarer than the iiic, and is arguably better. The iiiC viewfinder screen has markings for where the 35mm, 50mm, and 80mm lenses cut off. My iiic's viewfinder is only meant for the 50mm lens. The iiiC viewfinder is also a little brighter. The iiic's light meter, however, is adjustable for both bright and dim situations. So which is better? Answer: No one cares. Well, maybe Tom cares. 

Anyway, here are some shots I've taken with my Kodak Retina iiic. I've only put one roll through the camera so far, but I hope to do more in the near future. Thanks for reading and enjoy!