Kodak Retina IIF

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The Retina IIF, made by Kodak AG between 1964 and 1967[1] in Germany, is a 35mm rangefinder camera.


The IIF is an upgrade of the Retina IF, which featured no rangefinder, only dots for gauging distances based on the height of people and objects. As one of the later Retinas, it is a successor to the other non-folding German-made Retinas (including the "Retina Automatic" series) and a close cousin to the Retinettes, with which it shared parts of its chassis. It was in fact the last of the real, well-made Retinas: afterwards, Kodak AG made two plastic-bodied viewfinder cameras, the S1 and S2, which are in no way comparable to their predecessors. While not as upscale as earlier folding Retina cameras such as the IIIC (all of which generally featured interchangeable lenses), the IIF is a fairly full-featured and compact model, especially compared to the Retinettes.

Physical Description

The shutter release is on the front near the lens, just above the socket for the cable release and the self-timer. A depth-of-field scale is displayed around the focusing ring on the front of the lens body. The rewind knob doubles as a rudimentary film-type reminder (with settings for black and white, daylight color and indoor color), and is recessed into the top plate of the camera. It is accessed by holding the camera upside-down, turning it counter-clockwise via the knurled ring on top of it and allowing it to fall out.

The camera has the particularly deluxe feature of an AG-1-sized flashholder built in to the top plate. There is also a PC socket for external flash, as well as a cold shoe for a flash or other accessory. The flashholder is covered by the camera's nameplate when not in use, but a catch on the back of the camera allows it to spring up. This catch also releases the spent bulb. The inside of the nameplate features two flexible sheet-metal mirrors that bend forward to be a rudimentary reflector for the miniature flashbulb. A PX-13 battery was fitted in the base to fire the bulb.

The film advance is single stroke, mounted (as on many German and Japanese cameras of the time) on the bottom plate, with a roughly-knurled end so that one finger can easily advance it while holding the camera normally. The manually-set exposure counter, the rewind-release button and the catch for the camera back are also on the bottom.

The camera serial number is located in front of the cold shoe on top of the camera, and the lens serial number is found on the front of the lens body. On the reverse of the camera, the words "Kodak Retina Camera" are elaborately embossed.

Focusing and Optics

The lens is fixed: a Schneider-Kreuznach "Retina-Xenar" f:2.8 45mm. This is a wider lens than the 50mm that is often used as a "normal" lens for 35mm, but in fact 45mm is mathematically closer to a true "normal" lens for the frame size, as it is closer to the field of view of the human eye. Anecdotally, it is close enough to 50mm that one might not notice the difference off-hand.

The camera has a coupled rangefinder and a selenium cell light meter, like the Automatic III. There a bright frame in the viewfinder, with marks to correct for closeup parallax error. The rangefinder and meter are also lit by the same window: the rangefinder is a coincident image design, with a smallish spot in the center of the frame.


The camera has a Compur shutter with speeds of 1 second through 1/500 of a second and bulb exposure. This shutter can only be cocked by the film advance lever; double exposure can only be achieved by pressing the rewind-release button and holding it down while advancing the lever, thus disengaging the film from the advance mechanism while the lever is pulled. As this is particularly difficult to do while keeping the camera steady on a tripod, it is probable that double exposures were low on the designers' list of priorities.

The current shutter speed can also be read directly off the selector through the viewfinder, though it is unknown whether this was intentional. Given that this was a feature on the Retina Reflex VI, on which a special window and a specially-designed pentaprism displayed the aperture ring in the viewfinder, it does seem probable that it was intentional here as well.


The meter is a battery-less selenium cell. The meter needle is coupled to the aperture, film speed and shutter speed, so that when the exposure is correctly set for the light level, the needle will hover between two marks in the bottom of the viewfinder frame. It is common for the selenium cell to be dead on surviving examples; the lifespan of selenium photoelectric elements is variable and limited. Examples which are not dead may or may not be accurate, and should be checked against another meter before one trusts their readings.


The Retina IIF had the designation type 047. According to the manual, two setups for closeup photography were available, as well as a rubber lens hood to prevent lens flare and a kit for afocal photography through a microscope.


While not by any means one of the folding or reflex Retinas, all of which are highly desirable on the antique market, the IIF is a rather nice rangefinder for the period, with good ergonomics (unless the photographer finds the rough surface of the advance lever tip irritating), a bright rangefinder and vintage appeal. If the meter works, nothing prevents a casual photographer from achieving professional results with this camera, and an expert will find it easy enough to use in manual mode.


  • Type: 35mm rangefinder camera
  • Lens: Retina-Xenar 45mm f/2.8
  • Shutter: Compur, 1-1/500 + B, with flash sync, cable release and self-timer
  • Film speed range: 12-1250 ASA
  • Diaphragm: f/2.8 continuously adjustable to f/22, one stop markings
  • Viewfinder: Eye level finder, bright frame
  • Focusing: Coincident image coupled rangefinder focusing, 1 meter to infinity.
  • Exposure: Needle-centering/manual
  • Metering: Selenium cell, non-TTL
  • Film Loading: Manual
  • Film Transport: Single stroke lever advance (on base)
  • Flash: AG-1 miniature flashbulb in integrated flashholder, PC socket
  • Tripod Socket: Standard socket
  • Filters: Series VI / 32mm screw-in