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Retina IIa

Retina IIa

Style, film format Folding 35mm with coupled rangefinder

Lens, shutter Coated 50mm f/2.0 Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Xenon, Synchro-Compur

Photo quality Slightly below excellent

Ergonomics If only there were a little more room for your right hand

Many classic camera fans believe the Kodak Retina IIa is the best camera that came out of Kodak's German factory.

Certainly, it's a terrific camera with a great coated f/2.0 Xenon lens, a rangefinder and lever wind in a compact package. What more could the classic photographer want?

The postwar camera features an attractive satin chrome finish and trim offset by embossed black leather.

One of the great things about this camera is the top-mounted lever wind. It makes the camera much easier to use than the later models with the bottom-mounted film advance.

The lens Schneider-Kreuznach f/2.0 Xenon is set in a Synchro Compur shutter with user-selectable bulb or electronic flash synchronization.

The combination rangefinder/viewfinder window is easy to use, and images snap in and out of focus.

The only downside to this camera is that when it's opened, there isn't much room to grasp the camera with your right hand. Keeping it in the case seems to help, but that makes the camera bulkier too. This is an issue with most of the Retinas.

Regardless, this is an excellent camera, and it's easy to understand why the Retina IIa is so popular.