Kodak Retina and Retinette Cameras
35mm cameras produced by Kodak AG in Germany, the folding Retinas and Retinettes are very neat and compact, still very usable, though the small viewfinder on the earlier models may be found to be restrictive by some. As the line progressed into the '60s the cameras became rather larger as the folding feature was dropped for the, then fashionable, "chunkier" look. Many of the cameras feature an unusual lever-wind fitted under the right-hand end of the camera. This is not a problem in use once you get the feel for it, especially in portrait format. Many of the later Retinas feature a shutter release on the front of the camera. Whilst I find this a little unusual and marginally inconvenient, I can imagine someone with smaller hands finding it very easy to use. The model types that appear adjacent to these cameras' descriptions refer to the factory designation for that camera and are a useful way of differentiating, for example, between one Retina I and another.
Between 1936 and 1940, each model Retina I was available in two variants, black "Modell I schwarz" and chrome "Modell I verchromt". Hence the Types 119 and 126 are very simiar, as are the 141 and 143, and the 148 and 149. The black models have a piece of leather under the film rewind knob, so the two screws for an accessory shoe, often seen fitted on the chrome models, are not available.
Many Retinas produced in the late 1940's and early 1950's were available with both coated and uncoated lenses, though not necessarily at the same time. Coated Schneider lenses incorporate a red triangle in the data on the bezel at the front of the lens, Rodenstock lenses having a red letter "A".
It may be of interest to note that the 135 cassette as used by all 35mm cameras today was actually introduced by Kodak with the original Retina in 1934. Prior to that different makes of camera used individual loading techniques, some of which involved re-loading a cassette or the camera in the darkroom.
Copies of "The Retina Guide" (1965 edition), "The Retina Reflex Guide" (1970 edition) and "The Retinette Guide" (1965 edition) can be found in the manuals-section.
Many Retinettes closely followed the design of the Retina of the day, though less well specified. No Retinettes have a rangefinder. Having said that, the later model Retinettes are often as well or better-specified than some Retinas of a few years previous and are very capable of taking excellent photographs. Many Retina accessories are also suitable for the Retinettes, there was even a close-up rangefinder available for use with the "N"-series close-up lenses.