Kodak Retina I

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The Kodak Retina I is a vertical spring folder for 135 format. It was designed by Dr. August Nagel who was the founder of the August Nagel Camera Works; he sold his firm to Eastman Kodak in 1932, and its name changed to Kodak AG.

The original Kodak Retina (type 117) is a historically significant camera, because Kodak introduced the now ubiquitous daylight-loading 135 cartridge for this camera (earlier 35mm cameras required 35mm cine film to be manually spooled into proprietary cassettes). The design of the Retina borrowed significantly from the 127-film Vollenda which had been manufactured by Nagel before its takeover by Kodak.

The Retina I cameras differ from the Retina II and III models in that they use scale focusing, rather than using a rangefinder. The later Retina models are among the archetypal rangefinder cameras, and Kodak introduced the Retinette name for the corresponding viewfinder cameras.

The eventual triumph of the 135 format owed much to the acceptance of the Retina as a compact, precision 35mm camera, as well as to the success of lower-priced alternatives such as those manufactured by Argus.

The following is a list of Retina I cameras produced from 1934 to 1940/1941? and 1945 to 1950.

  • Type 117 Retina - 1934 to 1935
  • Type 118 Retina - 1935 to 1936
  • Type 119 Retina I - 1936 to 1938[1]
  • Type 126 Retina I - 1936 to 1937
  • Type 141 Retina I - 1937 to 1939[1]
  • Type 143 Retina I - 1938 to 1939
  • Type 148 Retina I - 1939 to 1940[1]
  • Type 149 Retina I - 1939 to 1940
  • Type 167 Retina I - 1940 - ? 1941
  • Kodak AG stopped camera production in the summer of 1941. Plant was requisitioned by German government to make time-fuses.
  • First camera parts for post-war production manufactured in July 1945.
  • Type 010 Retina I - November 1945 to June 1949
  • Type 013 Retina I - August 1949 to December 1950


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Between 1936 and '40, the Retina was always available in two forms; 'Modell I schwartz', with black-painted body trim, and 'Modell I verchromt', with chrome-plated trim. Thus the 119 and 126 are otherwise identical, and were available concurrently, as were the 141 and 143, and the 148 and 149: see the pictures.


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