Christopher J Osborne

Kodak Retinette 1B

Kodak Retinette 1B with box and manual Kodak Retinette 1B light meter detail Kodak Retinette 1B lens detail
Kodak Retinette 1B wind-on lever on the bottom of the camera

The Kodak Retinette series was produced by Kodak AG (the German branch of the Kodak corporation) as a cheaper alternative to their Retina series of rangefinders. The 1B was produced from 1959 to 1963. It was a simple point and shoot camera with a 45mm f/2.8 lens with zone focusing, a 1/15-1/500th second shutter speed range and a built-in selenium cell light that was coupled to the shutter and aperture rings with a match needle system in the viewfinder. The 1A was the same design but without the light meter. The 1B and came in two versions. The earlier type 037 had a Pronto-LK shutter and the model name was written in a script typeface on the top plate. The later Type 045 change to a Prontor 500 LK shutter and added a hot-shoe and depth of field scale to the lens.

The Retinette was a pretty typical late 50s/early 60s starter camera, but despite it’s point-and-shoot pretensions, it was strewn with a rather confusing array of dials and levers that no doubt baffled many of it’s users. Although by the 1960s camera design was becoming more and more standardised, the Retinette shows that camera designers weren’t yet quite agreed on the best place for the main controls. On the Retinette the wind-on lever is unusually positioned on the bottom of the camera.

This particular example looks like it has hardly been used at all. It even came with the originally box and instruction manual.