Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Tele-Xenar f:4/135mm lens

Started Feb 28, 2008 | Discussions
Olyinaz Veteran Member • Posts: 8,283
Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Tele-Xenar f:4/135mm lens

Retinas were high-end German range finder and SLR cameras marketed by Kodak. Most lenses were either Schneider-Kreuznach or Rodenstock (towards the 1960s Japanese firms began to make a few lenses for the series) and of course they're solid metal and lovely to behold. Well, I found an adapter that allows them to fit to Nikon (and thus 4/3rds) SLRs and I must say that they shoot as good as they look! Two examples, not too shabby for a 1960s vintage lens:

The second shot is wide open at f/4. The trees at the bottom of the frame are about 100 yards away (amazingly the lens has a minimum focus distance of 4 yards - jeepers, your portrait studio had better be big) and the mountains in focus at infinity are about 8 MILES away! Frankly, my new ED kit lens would do no better.

Here's what the lens looks like:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Schneider-Retina-Tele-Xenar-f-4-135mm-Lens-Works-Great_W0QQitemZ150220515594QQihZ005QQcategoryZ707QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

[sigh] Sorry for the horrendously long URL but the people who run this joint have put a block on TinyURL so...

Mine's in better shape than that one but since the cameras they're used on have become so obsolete they are often on eBay and often very cheap. And by the way the Retina cameras are simply lovely - works of engineering art.

Hey, it's all supposed to be fun right?

Cheers,
Oly

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(unknown member) Regular Member • Posts: 265
Re: Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Tele-Xenar f:4/135mm lens

The rocks sharpness is amazing. I suppose these lenses are expensive?

The url you sent is blocked...
--
http://www.photoartalbum.com

OP Olyinaz Veteran Member • Posts: 8,283
I edited the URL and hopefully it's working now

but really it's just an eBay page so anyone can do a search there.

To answer your question however - no - they're not expensive and that's the neat thing about it! The cameras have become so obscure (mostly only collectors trading them) that the lenses just don't trade for much. Optically I suspect they're on the same playing field as the equivalent Leica and Zeiss gear from the same time frame (the Retina system didn't really have any fast glass however and it was no where near as extensive) but pretty much no one wants them any more so...

I stumbled across them when I was looking for a vintage range finder to play with. The Kodak Retinas looked so nice and are often times found in excellent shape because doctors and lawyers etc. used to own them and often kept them in immaculate condition (as opposed to a pro who would use the gear until it's beat to death) so kind of became a fan of that line. Then I discovered that Kodak made a 126 film SLR that used the same lenses (go figure, it's called the Kodak Instamatic Reflex - an oxymoron if ever there were one) and also Bessamatic lenses are almost identical and well, one thing led to another after I discovered the Retina/Nikon adapter and here we are.

Here's an eBay auction with the three main lenses in the Retina group in one offering, all for a whopping ten bucks!

http://cgi.ebay.com/3-Excellent-Retina-IIIS-Lenses_W0QQitemZ170196991629QQihZ007QQcategoryZ30099QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

Some day my E-300 will be a door stop too I guess.

Best,
Oly

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(unknown member) Regular Member • Posts: 265
Re: I edited the URL and hopefully it's working now

Wow!

That's really interesting. Such a sharp lens for free!
I didn't understand what kind of adapter you used?
Is it the dandelion?
--
http://www.photoartalbum.com

Patrik Mächler Regular Member • Posts: 242
Source of adapter?

I have some of those lenses as well, can you tell me where you found the adapter?

Regards, Patrik

Phil Rose Veteran Member • Posts: 3,912
Just think what fun...

you'd have with THIS Retina lens! It's the Retina f/4.8 200 mm Schneider-Xenar-- at barely 4 inches long. You'll not likely find it for $10 since it's one of the rarest pieces of the Retina line--especially this black version-- and is highly valued by vintage camera collectors. The black Retina lenses were made expressly for the black version of the Retina Instamatic Reflex camera. Not sure what you find "oxymoronic" about the name, although the inherent film flatness problems of the Instamatic film cartridge made the Instamatic Reflexes perform somewhat below what was (theoretically) possible with the excellent optics. Ironically, the lenses might show quite a bit better if used on an Oly E-series body.

BTW, the Retina line of rangefinder and SLR cameras were not merely "marketed" by Eastman Kodak. They were made by the "Kodak AG-Dr. Nagel Werks" in Stuttgart, which was a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of Kodak since 1933.

Phil

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ajwh Contributing Member • Posts: 938
Brings back memories....

My first serious camera was a Retina Reflex S. I had the 50mm and tele lenses. Had it about 15 years, then the shutter went.

Took a lot of photos with it - mainly on Ektachrome. That's where I learnt how to get the exposure right!

One nice touch was that the shutter speed ring was round the lens mount, next to the aperture ring, and they were coupled. You set the exposure using a match-needle system, then you could shift the speed/aperture combination to what you wanted.
--
Andrew

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OP Olyinaz Veteran Member • Posts: 8,283
Yes, very ingenious setup!

It's too bad that so many of them have had their selenium meter go bad because I'd love to have one to shoot with. Still, they're lovely to behold - really well made.

Best,
Oly

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OP Olyinaz Veteran Member • Posts: 8,283
Patrik

FleaBay of course! Unfortunately the adapter is rather expensive given that it's rather complex (the aperture ring is in the adapter), but the one that's for sale on eBay looks to be well made and it's kept infinity focus with my lenses so...

Best,
Oly

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OP Olyinaz Veteran Member • Posts: 8,283
Re: Just think what fun...

Phil Rose wrote:

you'd have with THIS Retina lens! It's the Retina f/4.8 200 mm Schneider-Xenar-- at barely 4 inches long.

I'm stalking one as we speak! I just missed one recently because the bidding went too high for my tastes but it was MINT so I'm sort of regretting not simply paying what it took to win it.

The black Retina lenses were made expressly for
the black version of the Retina Instamatic Reflex camera. Not sure
what you find "oxymoronic" about the name,

My Retina Instamatic is the silver one (which I prefer) and my 50mm lens is from the Instamatic (no "Retina" on the lens). It's a really neat camera but what I find "oxymoronic" about it is having "Kodak Instamatic" and flash cubes in the same sentence as "high grade German SLR" - it's ridiculous! But it certainly is fun.

the inherent film flatness problems of the Instamatic film cartridge made the
Instamatic Reflexes perform somewhat below what was (theoretically)
possible with the excellent optics.

Exactly. There wasn't anything sup-par about the Olympus PEN line (especially the SLR) but there certainly was right from the get go with the 126 cartridge so why bother? I just don't understand it from a marketing perspective unless it was meant to be a "halo" product, but I do suppose that in its' day it was the smallest SLR other than the PEN and I suppose the Ricoh (the OM1 had yet to be introduced).

Ironically, the lenses might show quite a bit better if used on an Oly E-series body.

Well certainly that's true of mine I think.

Best,
Oly

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Perry Jacobs Regular Member • Posts: 438
Hah, I have one of these!

and had no idea what it was. It was given to me by a friend a few years ago, I googled, looked on eBay, but found no information. Now this thread, wonders never cease.

Well, I gotta get this thing, its a black version 200mm f4.8, on my e3.

Oly, would you be so kind to point to the retina to Nikon adapter and I will take it from there?

Thanks a bunch, Perry

Phil Rose wrote:

you'd have with THIS Retina lens! It's the Retina f/4.8 200 mm
Schneider-Xenar-- at barely 4 inches long. You'll not likely find it
for $10 since it's one of the rarest pieces of the Retina
line--especially this black version-- and is highly valued by vintage
camera collectors. The black Retina lenses were made expressly for
the black version of the Retina Instamatic Reflex camera. Not sure
what you find "oxymoronic" about the name, although the inherent film
flatness problems of the Instamatic film cartridge made the
Instamatic Reflexes perform somewhat below what was (theoretically)
possible with the excellent optics. Ironically, the lenses might show
quite a bit better if used on an Oly E-series body.

BTW, the Retina line of rangefinder and SLR cameras were not merely
"marketed" by Eastman Kodak. They were made by the "Kodak AG-Dr.
Nagel Werks" in Stuttgart, which was a wholly owned and operated
subsidiary of Kodak since 1933.

Phil

Allen Chernack
Allen Chernack Senior Member • Posts: 1,426
Retina

I still own my Retina Reflex II with the three lenses and some closeup attachments. It was my first SLR and I learned the basics with it. It now sits in a drawer. I keep thinking I'll buy a roll of film and see if it still takes good pictures.

Do you have link to the adapter for the Retina to 4/3?
--
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OP Olyinaz Veteran Member • Posts: 8,283
Retina adapter
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Olympus E-M1 II Canon EOS 77D Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 8mm 1:3.5 Fisheye +12 more
OP Olyinaz Veteran Member • Posts: 8,283
This thread shows the 50mm in action
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Allen Chernack
Allen Chernack Senior Member • Posts: 1,426
Re: Retina adapter

Sounds like two adapters are needed. One for Retina/Nikon then a Nikon/4/3 and you put them all together. Interesting but I think I'll just buy a roll of film.

I checked my drawer and I have the Retina S, the 50 mm and the 135 mm but no wide angle. I used it for around 15 years before I changed to a Minolta in around 1975.

Thanks for showing what you've done and reminding me how much I liked that old Retina.
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hwlee867
hwlee867 New Member • Posts: 9
Re: Just think what fun...

I just bought this lens from an estate sales. Besides the lens it self there are 3 small filters attached inside the bottom of the case.  One says IA with a lens, the other 2 has  no lens and no such markings other then Kodak Made in Germany. These all can be screwed in on the interior side of the lens.  Any idea what the current value of this lens?

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