The post-war rangefinder Kodak Retinas continued with models very similar to the pre-war Kodak Retina II type 150, but gradually new features such as lever winders, light meters and interchangeable lenses were introduced.
Kodak Retina II
The first post-war rangefinder Kodak Retina II was quite similar to the earlier type 150 (even though that model was called the IIa). The main difference was that the top housing was built in one piece, instead of the screwed-on front and top coverings of the type 150. The frame counter was moved slightly and the wheel to adjust it could now be found at the back of the camera, instead of at the front corner beneath the wind knob.
A 1946 Kodak Retina II type 011 with rare Kodak Ektar 47mm f/2 lens. This lens was made by Kodak in the USA, as opposed to slower Ektars on other Kodak Retinas, which were rebranded Schneider Xenar lenses. The L within a circle means the lens was 'luminized', the term used at the time by Kodak for coated lenses. The lens serial # starting with EO indicates that the lens was made in 1946. This was the only Kodak Retina model that was available with this particular Ektar lens.
Top view of a Kodak Retina II type 011 with Kodak Ektar 47mm f/2 lens. This example had aperture and shutter blades were so greasy the shutter did not fire. Also, the focus did not work, which turned out to be due to the helicoid not being properly connected to the focus ring. Not too hard to fix, although adjusting the focus properly is a bit of a pain, as one needs to remove the shutter to adjust it and reassemble to test it.
Version of the Kodak Retina II type 011 with Retina Xenon 50mm f/2 lens. Based on the lens serial number this example was produced around June 1948, two years later than the example above but other than the lens identical.
To complete the set, here is the version with uncoated Rodenstock Heligon 50mm f/2 lens. This example has a little cap on the shutter release button, which suggests it is probably gone missing from the other two examples above, as these don't have one.
Kodak Retina II
This last version of the Kodak Retina II was quite similar to the earlier types 150 and 011, but had a film reminder dial under the rewind knob, similar to the Kodak Retina I type 013. It still featured the little wheel at the back to set the frame counter. It no longer had a depth of field dial at the base of the camera, but had markings on the shutter instead. Later production models also have the redesigned shutter face also found on later Kodak Retina Ia and IIa models.
A 1949 Kodak Retina II type 014 with Xenon f/2 lens and featuring the new shutter face design.
Top view of Kodak Retina II type 014 showing the characteristic film reminder dial beneath the rewind knob.
Kodak Retina IIa
This is the first Kodak Retina rangefinder with a wind lever, and the only one on which the winder was mounted on top of the camera. Only its sister model the Kodak Retina Ia also had a top mounted wind lever. The frame counter was integrated with the wind lever. Even though this model had a top housing very similar to the earlier Kodak Retina rangefinders, it featured a newly designed shutter housing, like on the Kodak Retina Ia.
From this model onwards, new models also had new model designations, so it was no longer necessary to refer to the model type number to distinguish them.
A Kodak Retina IIa with wind lever. This one has a Rodenstock Heligon f/2 lens, a less common lens compared to the Schneider f/2 Xenon.
Top view of the same Kodak Retina II showing the top mounted wind lever with integrated frame counter, as well as a new style rewind knob. Early production models still had the old style rewind knob with separate film reminder.
Kodak Retina IIc
This is next model folding rangefinder Kodak Retina, note there was never a Kodak Retina IIB. It featured the new body design introduced with the Kodak Retina Ib and IB models. The most important new feature, however, was the possibility to use additional lenses. Appropriately named wide angle 35mm Curtar and telephoto 80mm Longar lenses were available that could be mounted instead of the standard 50mm Xenon lens. However, technically these were not true interchangeable lenses as only the front unit of the lens was changed. Hence, these lenses were only useable on cameras with a compatible rear lens unit, i.e., the Kodak Retina IIc, IIC, IIIc, IIIC and first Reflex models. Even more so, the lenses also had to be from the same manufacturer. So the 35mm Heligon by Rodenstock could not be used on the model with a Schneider standard lens. Note also that lenses from the Kodak Retina IIIS and later Kodak Retina Reflex models cannot be used on this camera.
The lenses were quite cumbersome to use, as their focussing system was far from straightforward. One would have to focus using the rangefinder, read the distance on the distance scale, turn over the camera and find the focus scale for the appropriate lens (35 or 80 mm), then adjust the focus to match the number on that scale.
In addition, the minimum focus distance of the 80mm lens was quite long, 6.5 feet or 2m. A dioptre lens, the T1, was available for closer focussing from 3.5-6 feet, for which the focussing scale was different again.
A Kodak Retina IIc under repair, as the winding mechanism does not properly cock the shutter. Note the new lens base for interchangeable lenses. The standard lens can be removed by twisting it CCW until the little tab on the right of the lens is opposite the red dot on the lens base.
Kodak Retina IIC
The improved 'big C' model of the IIc with brighter and bigger rangefinder. This was in fact the last model of the folding Kodak Retinas to be built.
Kodak Retina IIC with Rodenstock Kodak Retina-Heligon C 50mm f/2.8. The C indicated that this lens would take the interchangeable c lenses. However, as this was the Rodenstock version, it would not take the lenses from the Schneider version on the IIIC below.
Kodak Retina IIC with interchangeable Kodak Retina-Heligon A 80mm f/4 (left) and Kodak Retina-Heligon C 35mm f/5.6 (right).
Kodak Retina IIIc
The Kodak Retina IIIc is a Kodak Retina IIc with a light meter added. It featured the same interchangeable lens system, but had faster f/2 standard lenses compared to the f/2.8 lenses used on the Retina IIc. There were several cosmetic changes during production, early models had a chrome lens door frame, later models a black frame. Even later models no longer had a light meter cover, this model is known as the 'Ausf II', after the German word 'Ausfuhrung' (version).
A main production Kodak Retina IIIc Ausf I, indicated by the black lens door frame and light meter with flip-up cover. It has a Schneider Retina Xenon f/2 lens in Synchro-Compur shutter.
Kodak Retina IIIc Ausf II with Gossen lightmeter without flap.
Kodak Retina IIIC
The 'big C', the final folding Kodak Retina rangefinder with brighter and bigger rangefinder than the IIIc. It looks quite similar to the Kodak Retina IB but the windows are further apart. Together with the Kodak Retina IIC these were the last of the long succession of Kodak Retina folding cameras, of which over 1.6 million units were made. The Kodak Retina series continued with non-folding rigid lens mounts, but these never reached the popularity that the folding Kodak Retinas had.
Kodak Retina IIIC outfit with 35mm and 80mm lenses and the accessory 35-80mm viewfinder mounted on top.
Top view of Kodak Retina IIIC with 35mm (left) and 80mm (right) lenses mounted. Note the focus conversion scales to use the 50mm distance from the rangefinder with the 35 or 80mm lens.
Kodak Retina IIIC with Retina Stereo Attachment mounted. This accessory would mount onto the lens base with the standard lens in place and split the image in two by means of two prisms. This would result in two 24x18mm stereo images side by side on a single frame. This in contrast to most stereo cameras which would give two separate stereo frames. Therefore, stereo photos made with the Stereo Attachment could not be viewed with most stereo viewers, but Kodak did produce a dedicated viewer. The benefit of this arrangement was that one could take stereo photos as well as regular ones on the same film with a single camera.