Kodak Retina 1a

5 Frames with Kodak Retina Ia crossing the wild Carpathians

Winter of 2005 in Romania. Very cold, but not much snow, in fact less than expected. I was travelling on business, to some destination in the heart of Transylvania, W. of Romania. The train had to negotiate the narrow passes in order to cross the wild Carpathian mountains. Not an easy route, because the tracks are skimming the forests on each side of the railcar, the precipices are very often frightening to look at. A really interesting experience, to tell you the truth. Small train stations, some very old, like 80 yrs old or more. The railroad is quite all right, cars as well, but the train runs slower than usual, up in the mountains. The engine (or engines, for sometimes the train needs two, depending on the weather and the steepness of the climb) and cars are not state of the art, but they are comfortable and one can feel the safety is well taken into consideration.

5 Frames with the Kodak Retina 1a & Very Expired Ilford FP4

Word is, Folding Kodak Retinas are a lovely piece of kit, provided your winding mechanism isn’t broken. I had a beautiful Retina iia with a dodgy winder. F2 Schneider lens, nice clear rangefinder, I sent it to Dave, my camera wizard, full of hope. In the interim I bought a Retina ia as a possible donor. The difference between the two models were that the one lacked a rangefinder so had a smaller top section, and the lens was an f2.8, other than that the one and two were identical. They were manufactured side by side by the Nagel company in Stuttgart, Germany. Official lists state they were manufactured from 1951-54 but some people think it was as early as 1949. The build quality of both is superb and, while not cheap, they are still relatively inexpensive, for the time being. Well, my iia was unfixable, ok probably not unfixable per se but it needed hugely expensive professional help which made it unviable.

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