Germany 1934 – Folding – 35 mm – Rare.
The Retina was manufactured starting 1934 by Kodak A.G. in what had previously been the Dr. August Nagel Camerawerk factory in Stuttgart. The business had been purchased by Kodak in 1931. It was Kodak’s first in the long-lasting Retina camera series.
The Retina is the first 35 mm film camera produced under the Kodak brand, well before the first American-produced Kodak using 35 mm, the 35 Kodex 1 that was produced in 1938. It used the new Kodak’s “Daylight Loading cartridge” that was the first 35 mm film cartridge (that we still use today).
The German origins of the original Retinas probably account for their very high-quality design and durability. The design of the first version, with its large chrome knobs is somewhere between a folding camera and a compact, giving it a unique aspect that will be lost in the successive versions. The lens sits on a short bellow combined with a helical ramp to allow very precise and smooth focus.
The Retina series was extremely successful and popular, and continued until 1969 with a variety of bellows and non-bellows models for a total production of over three million units.