Posts Tagged ‘kodak retina’

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