Traveling recently in Germany, I happened to visit a small village, right outside Würzburg. The village is called Giebelstadt, and no matter what the name implies, it’s a village not a town. Very nice, the type which you probably know now to be a model of German linearity and exactness. Almost every Sunday, during the summer, I was told this is held here, in the parking lot of a local Lidl supermarket. So I went, curious to see what this kind of a car boot sales will yield in terms of photographika, cameras and that sort of thing.
Not a lot, as it turned out, and I mean not a lot of good, usable, interesting cameras. I stumbled upon all sorts of Russian ones, which do not interest me (not anymore), some old 120 folders, used and abused, some point and shoot ones, plasticky nasty things. I thought this is a waste of time, when I came in front of a towel, laid down onto the concrete, with 2 cameras and some other non-related stuff. One of the cameras was a Kodak Retina. Aha !
Upon inspection, the camera presented itself as a Retina I, model 013. As I am very partial to 35mm folding Retinas, I immediately set my eyes on it. Shutter button stuck, cocking lever not locking, lens dirty, the entire exterior of the camera grimy and with tens of years dust layered hard onto the leatherette and top plate. I made an offer of 10 euro, accepted immediately (and graciously) by the old lady and I went on my way. Oh, one other thing: the camera stank of old tobacco, really stank. I put it in a ziplock bag.
The opening mechanism still works very well, upon pressing it the camera opens a good 2 cms. The top plate is covered in grime, all black and dirty. I tried to wipe it clean with a qtip, and it does clean very well though. The focusing wheel works like new, together with the advancing mechanism, the revert button for rewinding the film, and the frame counter. So all these work, although they need to be cleaned up and lubricated where needed.
The lens is a Schneider Kreuznach Retina Xenar, the 3.5/50mm one, in a Compur Rapid shutter. Speeds from B to 1 sec, up to 1/500 sec, aperture from 3.5 to 16. One thing I am glad is the lens came with an original Retina I filter, N-UV, in pristine condition. One can never have too many filters for one’s old cameras, I always say. A flash sync socket is affixed onto the lens housing. The shutter is armed via a lever, in manual mode, the film advance know is not linked to the shutter cocking mechanism.
The lens appeared initially dirty and possibly scratched, but upon close inspection, the lens is all right. Perhaps not the condition of its first day out of factory, but really clean considering how the camera looks like.
Both of the cocking lever and release mechanism were stuck, and I had to tinker with the internals of this camera in order to get it working proper. Now all speeds are correct (as far as I can tell), shutter cocks and fires all right. All there is to be done further is to take qtips and rags and bit by bit clean this entire thing, and of course, get rid of that horrid smell of old tobacco smoke. No troubles here, I expect.
Once this camera is CLA’d, I’ll take it for a walk, although with this furnace of a weather these days, I wonder if a stroll is recommended. At 40*C plus here, not much chance of standing in the sun. I guess we’ll see.