Wednesday, December 09, 2015

New Acquisition! The Classic Retina Automatic III

Last week I was downtown, checking out Antelope Antiques on Liberty.  The store usually has some cameras for sale, and every once in a while I find  something there that I buy.  The Kodak cameras I usually see are Ponies, ugly as sin Kodak 35s, and Brownies of some sort.  This time, I found a Kodak Retina Automatic III.  I have owned or handled a bunch of Retinas over the years, and still have a Retina IIa, a solid, wonderful 35mm camera.  The Retina Automatic III (1961-1963) features a 45mm f/2.8 Schneider Xenar lens, shutter-priority automation controlled by a Gossen selenium meter, as well as manual control. Shutter speeds are B, 1/30-1/500 sec. There is PC- flash sync, a cold shoe, and a pretty nice coupled rangefinder. The camera has lots of chrome, and is a typical late 1950s to early 60s build.  The film advance is on the bottom, making it quite easy to use.  I put a roll of Svema FN64 in it, and did some test shots around campus in A mode, to see what kind of automated exposure I was getting.  After I developed the film, it was clear that the metering is likely off, as the shots taken in full sun were badly overexposed.  I'll shoot another roll under full manual using an external meter and see how things turn out.
The camera is quite easy to use, and feels pretty good in the hands.  This particular example is in like-new condition, and I suspect being kept in the leather case all these years was one reason.  I doubt the original owner used it much, judging by the pristine condition.

A few examples from the test roll:

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