Kodak Retina Ib – 018
Still within the Retina I realm, Kodak introduced the Ib (018) in 1954. In the tried and true Kodak tradition, three years later they’d added two other cameras under the same name, the [019-1] and the [019-2]. As I always wonder, did they have a rationale behind it, or were they doing it in jest?
Here we deal with the early version. Still part of the Retina I group but differs from its predecessors.
The body is a klapp style, but it looks like a proper monoblock viewfinder camera once you ignore the front cover flap. It does have bellows, but not visible from the outside, only seen from inside the body. So it is neither here nor there. The winder is at the bottom, taking finger gymnastics gold to operate. A Lever winder is meant for consecutive fast shooting; but not at this configuration. The back opening is unlike the previous Retinas; here, the unlock lever is on the bottom, kind of a wing nut, like the German cameras of that time.
A step up from the legacy Retina I’s is the winding and film transport. Here the winding lever cocks the shutter (already available in the Retina Ia), and moves the frame counter. In earlier Retinas, the film perforations moved the frame counter. Nevertheless, the infamous trigger override button is still present, located within the frame counter semi-circle window. If the film does not wind or the shutter is stuck, press this button and hope for the best. At the back, by the viewer, there is a slider that releases the frame counter, which works in tandem with the override button. It feels this was a half-baked product that was rushed to market.
This model offers the usual shutter speed and aperture selectors, with an extra feature. You may set a shutter and aperture combination, and while changing the shutter speed, the aperture compensates to keep the light value constant. Synch lever selects between X and M, and also activates the self-timer, marked as V. The lens front element is detachable, though I have no reference to matching lenses. Perhaps there was an idea that did not mature. There is a bayonet mount around the front element housing; I assume it is for add-on lenses or accessories, not sure which.
The lens housing is a solid, machined body, unlike earlier Retinas, where housing was made of pressed sheet metal.
Last, for newcomers to this model: to fold back the front cover, the distance dial needs to be set to infinity. This sets back the protruding lens, keeping the camera within its modest size. Early Retinas have tiny mushroom-head points at the support arms that may need more than reasonable force to cave in. It is not the case here, having larger and smoother pressing buttons.
|Model||Retina Ib |
|Weight||590 gr, Body with lens|
|Class average weight||592 gr, Body with lens|
|Lens mount||Fixed lens|
|Winder||Lever at bottom|