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Kodak, Retina Reflex III, 35mm SLR camera, c1961

German made 35mm Single lens reflex. This was nearly the end of the Retina series started by the Retina model 117 of 1935, which started the 35mm cassette revolution. The mechanism which drives it all is very intricate, unlike a lot of its contemporaries, Kodak chose the synchro Compur for the shutter, since this is mounted ahead of the reflex mirror a second shutter or capping plate is required at the focal plane to protect the film during composition. It is therefore rather too complicated for its own good, although the Retina fans would disagree with me on that I dare say. The main advantage of this approach is that the shutter is synchronised with flash at all speeds. The film advance lever is fitted to the bottom of the right hand side, the drive train to cock the shutter is a real cross country exercise as it winds it way through the camera to the Compur. It is, however , beautifully made and (it has to be said) quite handsome. When it arrived the slow speeds were sticky, as suspected - just a clean sorted this one out.

Sadly a gear tooth has subsequently broken away from the cocking rack pinion, and the old girl is now dead, unless a donor wreck turns up.

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Kodak, Retina Reflex III, 35mm SLR camera, c1961

Click picture for cutaway picture 

You wouldn't believe what happens to fire the thing...

Act 1. Advance and Cock
As the film advance lever is moved, the capping plate closes, just after it seats - the mirror starts to come down from its 'at rest' (retracted) position - at the same time the Compur shutter is both opened and cocked whilst the aperture is opened to allow a bright image through the prism, as an aside the flash contact is broken (otherwise the flash would go off if fitted, because the Compur is open).

Act 2. Exposure
Depress the release... Clap! The Compur slams shut and the aperture leaves spring back to their designated stop, at this time the flash contact is remade (but not fired) - just in case the flash is fitted. Clang! The mirror retracts against the stop, followed immediately by the capping plate which comes to rest against its own stop which is neatly arranged to fire the Compur, and therefore the flash, if used. Chkkk! The process is complete before you can register all the different noises from inside. At the end of the picture taking experience the mirror remains up, which serves as a very obvious reminder that the camera is not wound on!

During strip down the opportunity to do a cutaway illustration was taken - so now you can see inside the camera as well, by clicking on the image of the camera, above. Should you wish to copy this into your own site , feel free, but please credit the Living Image Camera Museum, and a link would be nice too!

Click on "this camera's gallery" button, below, to see sample images.

Body No.EK814951
Shutter, Synchro Compur, speeds B, 1, 2, 4, 8, 15, 30, 60, 125, 250 & 500th
Lens, Schneider Kreuznach Xenon 50mm f/1.9, No. 11 219 985
Condition, 5F

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