Hasselblad V-system 500C – Classic Modular SLR

Hasselblad V-system 500C – Classic Modular SLR

Business is war, this simple truth I am sure you have heard and agree with it. Especially today’s large enterprises, their lawsuits based on patents, designs, or copyrights etc., basically are happening every minute. What if I tell you there were two industry-leading companies, their targeted customers were basically the same. They not only had NO vicious competition, also based only on a verbal gentlemen’s agreement, reached consent that never produced the opponent’s similar products. You must think it is a fairy tale. But this incredible verbal agreement was really happened in the camera history!

The story took place in 1954, when two camera manufacturers’ bosses met at the Photokina in Cologne. One was the founder of F & H (now known as Rollei) called Reinhold Heidecke, and the other one was the boss from Hasselblad, Victor Hasselblad. After the Photokina, Victor invited Reinhold to visit his camera factory located in Sweden. Subsequently, in 1955, Reinhold Heidecke visited the Hasselblad factory located in Gothenburg; Victor also offered Reinhold hospitality in Råö.

In Råö, each of them was holding their own manufactured camera to take pictures for each other and share ideas and experiences. Reinhold, of course, was holding a Rolleiflex TLR (if you are interested in Rolleiflex history, please read the article “I am a TWIN”), Victor was using his company SLR – Hasselblad 1000F. During their conversation, these two gentlemen made a verbal agreement. Victor promised that Hasselblad would not enter the TLR market; And Reinhold Heidecke also said Rollei would not launch medium-format SLR cameras. This gentlemen’s agreement lasted until 1960, the year of Reinhold Heidecke died. Therefore, since 1960, Rollei started to develop medium-format SLR and introduced its first 6X6 SLR camera in 1966 – Rolleiflex SL66. Because of this agreement, Rollei missed the golden period to enter the SLR market, indirectly helped Hasselblad to achieve the leadership position in medium-format SLR market.

Hasselblad & Rolleiflex – Competition between Gentlemen

Hasselblad & Rolleiflex – Competition between Gentlemen

Of course, lacking of competition from Rollei was not the major reason drove Hasselblad’s success. In fact, Hasselblad’s success is the result of at least three generations of effort, with a lot of important business decisions formed, which also contains ANOTHER gentlemen’s agreement legend. Victor’s Grandfather Arvid Viktor Hasselblad (Hasselblad founder’s son), who established the Hasselblad photographic division within the company and thought that the division would not be profitable for the company. But the fate brought him met George Eastman (the company’s founder of Kodak) during his honeymoon in England. Soon after that, George found Kodak company, and formed a business partnership with Arvid Viktor. They made a handshake agreement (Yes! only handshake, and they did not sign documents), which Hasselblad began importing Kodak products as the sole Swedish distributor in 1888. This is definitely a win-win situation. Kodak could open up oversea markets, while Hasselblad could establish capital and accumulate experience through selling Kodak photographic products. Victor’s father (Karl Erik Hasselblad) passed away in 1942. Victor, who had great interest in bird photography, took over the family business. In 1948, Victor Hasselblad developed the world’s first commercial available module SLR – Hasselblad 1600F (N.B. The first camera manufactured by Victor Hasselblad camera was Aerial HK-7 (1941), which was used in the Swedish military planes during the World War II).

Hasselblad & Kodak – Fate pulled them together

Hasselblad & Kodak – Fate pulled them together

Hasselblad 1600F was then improved to 1000F, and in 1957 was replaced by 500C. Hasselblad 500C is really the cornerstone of Hasselblad. Since then, V-system is established, which is the design has been in use for over forty years. The success of 500C, has been favored by NASA. Hasselblad was requested by NASA to develop some cameras (e.g. 500EL/M) for their Apollo Program missions, so that Hasselblad fame. However, the first handheld space camera was definitely not produced by Hasselblad. The story behinds the first handheld space camera will be introduced in this blog in another article.

Business decisions influence the company’s fate, however, product quality is still the most major reason drives photographic product’s success. Hasselblad camera has advanced technology, its modular concept brings flexibility and operational precision to the users. All those reasons have made Hasselblad cameras to become one of the most preferred photographic tools around the world.

Hasselblad 500C

Hasselblad 500C

Modular Camera – Lens, body, viewfinder, and film magazine all can be changed to fit the photographer’s needs

Modular Camera – Lens, body, viewfinder, and film magazine all can be changed to fit the photographer’s needs

Here are some of the photos taken by Hasselblad 500C for your reference. B&W film is Kodak TMAX100;Color negative is Kodak Ektar 100. Location: Gruyere, Switzerland.

Camera: Hasselblad 500C; B&W film: Kodak TMAX100; Location: Gruyere, Switzerland

Camera: Hasselblad 500C; B&W film: Kodak TMAX100; Location: Gruyere, Switzerland

Camera: Hasselblad 500C; B&W film: Kodak TMAX100; Location: Gruyere, Switzerland

Camera: Hasselblad 500C; B&W film: Kodak TMAX100; Location: Gruyere, Switzerland

Camera: Hasselblad 500C; B&W film: Kodak TMAX100; Location: Gruyere, Switzerland

Camera: Hasselblad 500C; B&W film: Kodak TMAX100; Location: Gruyere, Switzerland; Model: Lu

Camera: Hasselblad 500C; B&W film: Kodak TMAX100; Location: Gruyere, Switzerland

Camera: Hasselblad 500C; B&W film: Kodak TMAX100; Location: Gruyere, Switzerland: Model: Lu

Camera: Hasselblad 500C; Color film: Kodak Ektar100; Location: Gruyere, Switzerland

Camera: Hasselblad 500C; Color film: Kodak Ektar100; Location: Gruyere, Switzerland; Model: Lu

Camera: Hasselblad 500C; Color film: Kodak Ektar100; Location: Gruyere, Switzerland

Camera: Hasselblad 500C; Color film: Kodak Ektar100; Location: Gruyere, Switzerland

Details of the Camera:

Camera model – Hasselblad 500C (Date Code: CR 34854)

Type – Modular SLR

Year built – 1958

Lens – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm f2.8 (SN: 5251438)

Shutter – Front leaf-shutter (Compur)

Shutter speed – 1 sec to 1/500 sec, B

Made in Sweden

Hasselblad 500C (1958)

Hasselblad 500C (1958)

One of my motivations to maintain this blog is hoping to connect different camera collectors from different countries.

Mickey from Canada is one of my most respected camera collectors. He has huge knowledge in camera and photography history. I enjoy reading his comments so much.

Here I would like to share his feedback of my last article “I am a “Twin” – Original Rolleiflex K1 (1929)“. Enjoy!

“Wu and Lu.

What an interesting, informative, well illustrated and attractive post.
You really do delve deeply into all there is to know about an individual camera.

My little addendum is about battlefield cameras. It may be apocryphal but I have no reason to doubt its veracity.

The Kodak Medalist was introduced in 1941 to replace the heavy, bulky, complicated, slow to use Graphic/Graflex type folding press cameras. It took 620 film giving 6 or 8 exposures as well as dry plate, sheet films, film pack. However, I shall not go into all of its many features and attributes.

Regarding battlefield usage I have heard several versions of how photographers were able to fend off attacking enemy soldiers by swinging this almost 3 pound camera at them and killing or disabling them. The photographers were then able to go about their business with their undamaged camera.

I would like to attach a photo of my Medalist I but don’t know how. (E.WU: Thanks Mickey for sending me these pics via email)

Kodak Medalist I

Kodak Medalist I

Kodak Medalist I

Kodak Medalist I

Kodak Medalist I

Kodak Medalist I

I have just spent several happy hours going through your extraordinary site. I am not finished yet.
Thank you for sharing it with us.

Mickey”

Try to imagine you are a battlefield frontline photographer and taking picture in the trenches. In addition to thinking of how to photograph the enemies, what else would you think? Would you want to design a camera that can help you to save your life? It is said that in 1916, Reinhold Heidecke really had this idea while he was in the trenches. He believed that a periscopic approach to focusing and taking photos can reduce risk to the photographer from sniper fire. In 1920, he and his business partner, Paul Franke founded “Franke & Heidecke” (F & H – now known as Rollei) camera company, and the idea from the trenches achieved out. In 1929 F&H developed and marketed the classic camera­ – Original Rolleiflex (or called Rolleiflex I type K1)!

Original Rolleiflex (1929) - The idea from the trenches

Original Rolleiflex (1929) – The idea from the trenches

The appearance of some products has a kind of magic, you love them at first sight. In the history of camera, of course, there have been these breathtaking products. Personal point of view, a camera has a pair of big lenses, upright-shaped design, users have to bow to focus, is definitely my first choice – this kind of camera called TLR. TLR (Twin-Lens Reflex camera), actually refers to a camera has two lenses, one is for view-finding and focusing (finder lens), another one is for projection of the image to the film (taking lens). This design existed as early as the end of the nineteenth century, probably the 1880s. But the Original Rolleiflex is really the first TLR changed the history of photography!

What makes the Original Rolleiflex different from the other early TLRs? 2 major factors: Lightweight and bright viewfinder. The early TLRs are not using roll film, so they are more cumbersome. In addition, most of the early TLRs’ viewfinders are not bright enough. F & H one-off to get rid of these two major drawbacks, also play to the advantage of TLR design, such as quiet shutter and shooting stability, coupled with a very attractive 6cm x 6cm (6×6) square image formats. All these reasons made the Original Rolleiflex became the darling of the professional and amateur photographers. Afterwards, F & H has introduced many different improved versions of Rolleiflex. Rolleiflex started to occupy a large part of the camera market share, and became the synonym of TLR! Other manufacturers seeing the Rolleiflex success, whether in Europe, the United States or Asia, one after another rushed to plagiarize or imitate the design of the Rolleiflex, launched some similar TLRs, let Twin-Lens Reflex camera popular more than thirty years!

Original Rolleiflex (1929) – The pioneer of roll-film TLRs

Original Rolleiflex (1929) – The pioneer of roll-film TLRs

Some people they mixed up TLR and Stereo camera (which is used for shooting 3D images), as both of them are equipped with two lenses. However, as described above, TLR has only one image taking lens, so it is absolutely shot no stereoscopic images. Having said that, the Original Rolleiflex viewfinder system was really taken from its stereo camera brother – “Heidoscop”. Heidoscop was produced ~4 years earlier (1924) than Rolleiflex K1. F & H directly applied the 6×6 Heidoscop viewfinder to the Original Rolleiflex, so it laid the classic Rolleiflex photography format.

Original Rolleiflex has four different sub-versions (excluding prototype Model 610), available in different size of the lens aperture and the camera back design. Model 611 / Model 612 are the two earliest models without hinged back. Model 613 and Model 614 are the later sub-versions with the hinged back design. Furthermore, Model 612 / Model 614 are equipped with a larger aperture f/3.8 lens (p.s. Model 611 / Model 613 are equipped with f/4.5 lens), so the launch prices of 612 / 614 are also higher. Among these 4 models, the Model 612 is the rarest. According to the reported information, only 820 sets of Model 612 were produced.

The above pictures are showing my collection Original Rolleiflex Model 612, the appearance and function are almost perfect. Such a wonderful camera, of course, I cannot make it only sitting on the display. Here are some of the pictures taken by this classic and rare camera.

"A corner"; Film: Fujifilm instax mini; Camera: Original Rolleiflex (1929)

A corner“; Film: Fujifilm instax mini; Camera: Original Rolleiflex (1929)

 

"Out the window"; Film: Fujifilm instax mini; Camera: Original Rolleiflex (1929)

Out the window“; Film: Fujifilm instax mini; Camera: Original Rolleiflex (1929)

 

"On the Sofa"; Film: Fujifilm instax mini; Camera: Original Rolleiflex (1929)

On the Sofa“; Film: Fujifilm instax mini; Camera: Original Rolleiflex (1929)

 

You might find it very strange, why my sample images are all in rectangular shape but not in 6×6 square format? Because I was using my old trick, using Fujifilm instax mini film to test this camera, which was introduced in my last article: Kodak Petite (I have received a number of questions from the readers asked about how to use Fujifilm instax mini film in those old cameras. I’m very sorry, I have not yet collated relevant teaching, but I promise that one day I would mention the method in this blog…).

 

Details of the Camera:

Camera model – Original Rolleiflex (Rolleiflex I type K1) – Model 612 (SN: 41652)

Type –TLR (Twin-Lens Reflex)

Year built – 1929

Taking Lens – Zeiss Tessar f/3.8; 7.5cm (SN: 1051762; Filter size 28.5mm);

Finder lens – Heidoscop Anastigmat f/3.1; 7.5cm

Shutter – Compur

Shutter speed – 1sec to 1/300 sec, T & B

Total quantity built: 820 (Model 612)

Made in Germany

Kodak Petite (1929)

Regardless of which era, camera manufacturers are keen on expanding the user base, hope that their products reach the hands of every home. Traditionally, photography-related products most are male-oriented; therefore many camera manufacturers are competing to expand the female market. Let’s take “mirrorless camera” as example, Panasonic introduced the world’s first m43 camera G1 in 2008, the advertisement in Japan was positioning the product in favor of female users. In fact, this is not new, as early as almost one hundred years ago, Kodak has targeted the female market, launched a camera which is specifically for the ladies – the Kodak Petite.

To produce a camera for ladies, manufacturers have to take some efforts on color and pattern. The trick now, most of them change the camera’s color to pink or with some cartoon characters printed on, such as Hello Kitty or Disney characters. But this would never be the strategy in 1929; because the women could enjoy photography in 1920s were ladylike or wealthy ladies. Therefore, the appearance of the camera must be able to express elegant feeling. Kodak Petite can certainly do this, palm-sized camera covered with simple motif of patterns. The folding bellow part is a touch of gray. The delicate impression makes you love this camera at first sight. Really, I first saw this camera in Norway Oslo film museum; I knew I had to have this camera in my collection.

This Kodak Petite is being displayed in Oslo Film Museum

This Kodak Petite is being displayed in Oslo Film Museum

According to the advertisement of Kodak in 1930, Kodak Petite was Paris-inspired. The color mentioned above is just one of the series. The Petite was available in blue, green, grey, lavender, and old rose. The folding bellow part was also with matching color.

I very much admire Kodak in that era, because of their innovative spirit and willingness of achieving the ultimate. The product line was very broad, with continuous improvements and new features. Based on the Kodak Petite, the company decided to introduce the camera gift box sets called “Kodak Ensemble” and “Kodak Coquette” during the holiday seasons. In addition to the elegant Kodak Petite, there were also a mirror, a compact and a lipstick in the box! Yes! A mirror and some cosmetics (supplier: House of Tre-Jur) were bundled in a camera gift box! You may feel that this is very strange, but try to imagine in the old days, taking pictures was not easy. The girls hoped makeup before shooting, it absolutely makes sense.

Kodak Ensemble

Kodak Ensemble

If you look closely, you will find that there is a metal-made pen at the front of the camera. Obviously, this can not be a stylus for touchscreen. In fact, it is used to enter notes on the film. To do it, you have to use a special film called autographic film (A-127 film for Kodak Petite). Autographic film consisted of a tissue-like carbon paper sandwiched between the film and the paper backing. When shooting, open the small window at the back of the camera, the photographer can then “write” something, such as time, location, date. After development, the information will appear in the photo edge. It is a very smart design, can be said that the original version of the exif record!

Kodak Petite (1929) - Back

Kodak Petite (1929) – Back

Autographic film window

Autographic film window

Regarding the functions of this camera, it can be said is extremely simple. Only “I” or “T” shutter speed can be selected. “I” means “Instant shutter” provides around 1/30s exposure time. “T” for “Time”, keeps the shutter open until the shutter release is pressed again, it is used for longer exposure. In addition, Kodak Petite has four different aperture size selections (about f/8, f/16, f/32 and f/64), the largest one is numbered as “1”, and “4” is the smallest.

"I" or "T" shutter

“I” or “T” shutter

4 different aperture size selections

4 different aperture size selections

Finally I met “her” in a camera market in Paris, and the condition is good. So now “she” is a member of my collections.

Kodak Petite (1929)

Kodak Petite (1929)

Owning the camera is not difficult, but it is not simple if you want to revive it. Firstly, there are some small pinholes in the corners of the folds of the bellow, must be patched. In addition, the 127 format film has long been discontinued by Kodak in 1995 (for those who are interested in different film specifications, please visit here), need to find another film instead. I am not going to explain how to deal with those difficulties in this article, let’s enjoy the photos taken by the camera which is full of feminine!

Mask - Kodak Petite + Fujifilm instax mini film

“Mask” – Kodak Petite + Fujifilm instax mini film

"Window" - Kodak Petite + Fujifilm instax mini film

“Window” – Kodak Petite + Fujifilm instax mini film

"Desk" - Kodak Petite + Fujifilm instax mini film

“Desk” – Kodak Petite + Fujifilm instax mini film

"Red" - Kodak Petite + Sensor from Olympus EPL-1

“Red” – Kodak Petite + Sensor from Olympus EPL-1

Details of the Camera:

Camera model – Kodak Petite

Type – Folding viewfinder

Year built – ca.1929

Lens – simple meniscus lens

Shutter – Rotary shutter

Shutter speed – “I” or “T”

Made in USA

We are NOT only interested in PHOTOGRAPHY, we love TRAVEL TOO!

http://walltravel.wordpress.com/

WaLL Travel blog by Wu + Lu

Our first stop is Venice, Italy!! (It is written in Chinese, but trust me… Google translate can help!)

Somebodies claimed, after 50 years … Venice Island will quietly sink into the sea…

Venice, Italy

Please click the link: http://walltravel.wordpress.com to visit!

Ihagee Kine Exakta (1936)

My collection – Ihagee Kine Exakta (1936) – the first 35mm SLR in the world!

Different camera collectors have different preferences and directions. Some collectors like to acquire selected brands (e.g. Leica, Olympus, Nikon etc…), some of them are only collecting several specific types (e.g. Single Lens Reflex (SLR), folding, rangefinder (RF), instant etc…). However, collecting “landmark cameras” is one of the major directions of almost all the collectors. “Landmark camera” that represented the first of the a new breed whose design concept would last and influence other cameras for sometimes. Therefore, such cameras are eminently collectible.

Collectors have frequently debated “the first 35mm SLR” this honor should go to the Soviet Union’s “Cnopm” (meaning “Sport”) or German Ihagee Kine Exakta.

Let’s us talk about “Cnopm” first, it is a 35mm SLR produced by GOMZ (now called LOMO). Special 35mm cassettes are used (not standard 135 cassette created by Kodak) for 50 exposures. Around 16000 “Cnopm” cameras were manufactured. This is ALMOST the first 35mm SLR camera: the concept prototype model was introduced in 1934, but unfortunately it did not in production until 1937.

Soviet Union's "Cnopm" - ALMOST the first 35mm SLR camera

Soviet Union’s “Cnopm” – ALMOST the first 35mm SLR camera

Picture source: http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A4%D0%B0%D0%B9%D0%BB:Cnopm_img_0822.jpg

Therefore, Cnopm CANNOT be claimed as the first 35mm SLR, because another 35mm SLR was already in the market in 1936. It is the German Ihagee Kine Exakta. Ihagee Kamerawerk Steenbergen & Co (located in Dresden) introduced the first 127 film SLR in 1933 and just in three years, they manufactured a first 35mm SLR – Kine Exakta too.

Kine Exakta is not only the first 35mm SLR, somebodies also claimed that it is the first system SLR, and the first interchangeable lens SLR with bayonet lens mount. The folding viewfinder is fixed waist-level type (with a magnifier on the top), as pentaprism had not yet been invented in 1936. (N.B. The first SLR with pentaprism eye-level viewfinder is Zeiss Ikon Contax S, produced in 1949).

Fixed waist-level viewfinder of Kine Exakta

Fixed waist-level viewfinder of Kine Exakta

Kine Exakta is equipped with many interesting features, e.g. there is a “film cutter” inside of the camera. That means, if you want to develop the exposed frames of film before you finish the whole roll, you can simply use the cutter to separate the exposed and the non-exposed. Then you can take the exposed film out from the camera in a darkroom to develop it.

Film cutter of Kine Exakta

Film cutter of Kine Exakta

Furthermore, it has a left-handed film advance lever and shutter release, which is different from most of the other cameras. Also unique, the range of shutter speeds on the Kine Exakta is running from 12 sec to 1/1000 sec, with delayed action on 14 of the speeds! It is absolutely a remarkable mechanical shutter.

Left-handed film advance lever

Left-handed film advance lever

Shutter speed dial

Shutter speed dial

Kine Exakta has several sub-versions. Only Kine Exakta version 1 (only 1400 pieces produced) has round magnifier, all the other versions are equipped with rectangular magnifiers.

Kine Exakta with round magnifier

This Kine Exakta is being displayed in TSD – Technische Sammlungen Dresden (Technology Collections Dreden)

As the circular magnifier covered only the central part of the viewed images, many of the round magnifiers were changed by the manufacturer and replaced with the rectangular ones within a few months of production. Therefore Kine Exakta version 1 with round magnifier is very rare (and expensive) now, and the only difference between version 1 and version 2 is only the shape of the magnifier.

My collection (shown on the top of this article) is the Kine Exakta version 2.1 (according to the Aguila and Rouah book 2003 classification) mounted with the Carl Zeiss Jena (CZJ) 5cm/f2.8 Tessar lens. The camera is very solid, but quite heavy. Because of the fixed waist-level viewfinder, it is not very convenient to use. However, I really love its mechanical part!

Here are some of the pictures taken by this amazing camera, while we were traveling in her motherland (Dresden), Berlin, and Dornach:

Dornach, Switzerland - Film: TMax100

Dornach Goetheanum, Switzerland – Film: TMax100

Jewish Museum Berlin - Film: TMax100

Jewish Museum Berlin – Film: TMax100

Displays of Technische Sammlungen Dresden (TSD) - Film: TMax100

Displays of Technische Sammlungen Dresden (TSD) – Film: TMax100

Technische Sammlungen Dresden (TSD) - Film: TMax100

Technische Sammlungen Dresden (TSD) – Film: TMax100

Lu in Dresden - Film: TMax100

Lu in Dresden – Film: TMax100

Details of the Camera:

Camera model – Kine Exakta I (version 2.1)

Year built – 1936-1937

Lens mount – Ihagee bayonet (Exakta bayonet)

Lens – Carl zeiss Jena (CZJ) 5cm/f2.8 Tessar

Shutter – Textile focal plane shutter

Shutter speed – 12 sec to 1/1000 sec

Total quantity built: 13200 (version 2.1)

Made in Germany

Carl Zeiss Jena (CZJ) 5cm lens

Carl Zeiss Jena (CZJ) 5cm lens

bayonet lens mount of Kine Exakta

bayonet lens mount of Kine Exakta

Do you want to attend one of the largest photo fairs in The world? Today and tomorrow (June 2 & 3 2012), there is the 49th international Photo Fair in Bièvres, France. Bièvres Photo Fair is a major photographic event and camera market every year. Over 300 exhibitors, 100 artists, and 15000 visitors are attending this event. Last year I was there, and brought several old cameras, e.g. Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta C (example shots), Polaroid SONAR SX-70 (Introduction) etc…

Some information of the 49th International Photo Fair:
Dates: 2012 June 2nd from 2 to 9 PM; June 3rd from 7 AM to 6 PM
Location: Place de la Mairie, Bièvres (Essonne), France
How to go: 12 km south of Paris, reached though N118 RER C: Bièvres stop

For more information, please visit their official website:
http://www.foirephoto-bievre.com

Posted: June 2, 2012 in WaLL News!
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

At 11:30 on the morning of May 29, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mt Everest, 29,028 feet above sea level, the highest spot on earth!!

The Ascent of Everest

The Ascent of Everest

It is the picture (source) of the Tenzing Norgay on the top of Mt Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary was the photographer.

If you are familiar with luxury watches (sorry I am not…), you must know it is the story behind the Rolex Explorer I – the first watch reached the highest mountain in the world, Mt Everest.
To my surprise, not so many people care or ask about which camera was used for this difficult task in 1953. What camera in 1953 was able to function well to capture this wonderful image at the highest spot on earth. The answer is here: Kodak Retina type 118 (RETINA 118). Retina 118 was produced in 1935-1936 and was the successor of Retina 117, which was introduced in my last article [Link].  Retina 118 is very similar to Retina 117,  except the rewind clutch lever was moved from film knob to the back of the top cover, and the film sprocket shaft extends across camera body. According to the record, only 9144 pieces of Retina 118 were produced.

Back of Kodak Retina type 118

Back of Kodak Retina type 118

You may question about why Sir Edmund Hillary had to use a 1935 camera to finish a 1953 Mt Everest expedition.  Obviously, Kodak was NOT the sponsor of their task. Sir Edmund bought his Retina 118 from a second hand shop and did some minor modifications, e.g. adding a small extension that was attached to the film advance lever. This allowed the operation of the film advance with heavy gloves. Now the camera was on display at an Auckland Museum.

My collection, Retina 118, is equipped with Xenar lens and Compur shutter.
It is a very compact and durable camera, so good for travel (if you don’t mind it is just a viewfinder camera, with no light metering).

Kodak Retina type 118 (1935)

Kodak Retina type 118 (1935)

Here I shared some of my photos, which were taken by this legendary camera during last Christmas…

Heidelberg Castle - Film: TMax100

Heidelberg Castle – Film: TMax100

^ This picture was taken under heavy rain in German Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle - Double Exposure - Film: TMax100

Heidelberg Castle – Double Exposure – Film: TMax100

^ Retina has no double exposure prevention system, you can  use it to create creative double exposure images

Heidelberg Christmas Market - Film: TMax100 - Model: Lu

Heidelberg Christmas Market – Film: TMax100 – Model: Lu

^ Do you like the bokeh of this  f3.5 Schneider Kreuznach Xenar Lens

Inside of Basel Munster - Film: TMax100

Inside of Basel Munster – Film: TMax100

^ Inside of the Basel Munster in Switzerland, 4s exposure time 

Details of the Camera:

Camera model – Retina type 118

Year built – 1935-1936

Lens – f3.5 Schneider Kreuznach Xenar (SN: 815333)

Shutter – Compur

Shutter speed – T, B, 1sec to 1/300 sec

Total quantity built: 9,144

Made in Germany

Retina type 117

Last time, we introduce the history of roll films developed by Kodak [link]. Up till now, 135 format is still the most popular film size format and is defined as the standard.

For this article, we would like to talk about the 135 roll film old friend:   Kodak Retina (Type 117), product of 1934-1935!

The Retina cameras were manufactured at Kodak A.G. in what had previously been the Dr. August Nagel Camerawerk factory (acquired by George Eastman, owner of Kodak in 1932) in Stuttgart, Germany. The first Retina camera, Retina type 117, was introduced in the summer of 1934 along with a new 35mm film Daylight Loading Cartridge (DLC). Therefore, Retina 117 is the world’s first camera to use 135 DLC film after it was created by Kodak.

Since then, Leica and Contax fans stopped to use the special hand-loaded-in-the-darkroom cassettes, and most of the 35mm cameras use the same 135 DLC cartridges, even currently.

The Retina type 117 was replaced by the Retina type 118 within a year, the total production number is around 60,000.

Kodak Retina type 117 - folded front

Kodak Retina type 117 – folded front

Kodak Retina type 117 - folded side

Kodak Retina type 117 – folded side

Kodak Retina type 117 - folded back

Kodak Retina type 117 – folded back

Kodak Retina type 117 - bottom

Kodak Retina type 117 – bottom

Kodak Retina 117 DoF scale

Kodak Retina 117 DoF scale

Retina 117 unfolded

Retina 117 unfolded

Kodak Retina 117 - Lens and Shutter

Kodak Retina 117 – Lens and Shutter

Kodak Retina 117 unfolded - side

Kodak Retina 117 unfolded – side view

Kodak Retina type 117 unfolded - side view

Kodak Retina type 117 unfolded – side view

Details of the Camera:

Camera model – Retina type 117

Year built – 1934-1935

Lens – f3.5 Schneider Kreuznach Xenar (SN: 706994)

Shutter – Compur

Shutter speed – T, B, 1sec to 1/300 sec

Total quantity built: ~ 60,000

Made in Germany

Kodak Roll Film + Kodak Retina 118

I think no one would doubt how much Eastman Kodak Co. (Kodak) contributed to the whole “Roll Film” development. It is so sad that this 131-year-old photographic pioneer Kodak was headed for bankruptcy recently.

Talk back to the focus of this blog article – “Roll Film”. 135 and 120 are the 2 most common formats nowadays. In fact, started from 1895, close to 40 different formats of roll films were developed. Here is a table to summarize the Kodak roll film sizes in the order they were introduced:

Number Dates Picture Size (inches)
101 1895 – Jul 1956 3.5 x 3.5
102 1895 – Sept 1933 1.5 x 2
103 1897 – Mar 1949 4 x 5
104 1897 – Mar 1949 5 x 4
105 1897 – Mar 1949 2.25 x 3.25
106 1898 – 1924 3.5 x 3.5
107 1898 – 1924 3.5 x 4.25
108 1898 – Oct 1929 4.25 x 3.25
109 1898 – 1924 4 x 5
110 1898 – Oct 1929 5 x 4
111 1898 – no date listed 6.25 x 4.75
112 1898 – 1924 7 x 5
113 1898 – no date listed 9 x  12 cm
114 1898 – no date listed 12 x 9 cm
115 1898 Mar 1949 7 x 5
116 1899 – 1984 2.5 x 4.25
117 1900 – Jul 1949 2.25 x 2.25
118 1900 – Aug 1961 3.25 x 4.25
119 1900 – Jul 1940 2.25 x 4.25
120 (220) 1901 (1965)  –   2.25 x 3.25
121 1902 – Nov 1941 1.625 x 2.5
122 1903 – Apr 1971 3.25 x 5.5
123 1904 – Mar 1949 4 x 5
124 1905 – Aug 1961 3.25 x 4.25
125 1905 – Mar 1949 3.25 x 5.5
126 1906 – Mar 1949 4.25 x 6.5
127 1912 – Jul 1995 1.625 x 2.5
128 1913 – Nov 1941 2.25 x 1.5
129 1913 – Jan 1951 3 x 2
130 1916 – Aug 1961 2.875 x 4.875
616 1931 – May 1984 2.5 x 4.25
620 1931 – Jul 1995 2.25 x 3.25
135 1934 –   24 x 36 mm
828 1935 – May 1984 28 x 40 mm
No. 35 1916 – Jan 1933 32 x 44 mm
(This special roll film for the smaller Premo camera used un-perforated 35mm film)
126 1963 – Dec 1999 28 x 28 mm
110 1972 – 13 x 17 mm
Disc 1982 – 1999 8 x 10 mm
APS 1996 – 16.7 x 30.2 mm

Source: T. Gustavson (2009) Camera. Published by: Sterling Innovation