If you have ever handled a Kodak Retina you will soon realize this ain’t your Grandma’s Kodak camera. Whats up with that ?
In 1932 Eastman Kodak realized that they needed to step up … so they did something about it … they hooked up with a German. In the 30’s kodak was making new “six” series cameras which still had the look of the previous camaras it was making in the 20’s … they soon found that could not compete with what was coming out of Europe in the higher end market. So, if you can’t beat them … get someone on your side who can.
Hmmm, those Germans … well it was one, Dr. Nagel. August Nagel founded Contessa, and co-founded Zeiss-Ikon, then split to make his own company. Nagel Camera Werkes was located in Stuttgard Germany. Dr. Nagel was into cameras that used rolled film … hmm. Eastman Kodak decided to buy his company to produce high precision 35mm roll film cameras.
Nagel was tasked with making a precision cameras equal to the other European cameras but at a lower price point. They started with some cameras that Nagel aready had on the market and were rebadged with the Kodak brand.
What Nagel developed in 1934 was to be known as the Retina. A bellows folder with cross-struts support, made of metal and designed to use Dr. Nagel’s daylight loading cartridge … a pre-loaded single use cartridge of 35mm format roll film … ummmm, that sounds familiar. This was a camera very unlike anything that Kodak had produced … as I mentioned at that beginning, you know this is a different animal as soon as you pick it up.
Nagel would go on to producing a number of various Retina models and other high precision cameras for Kodak. Dr. Nagel died in 1943, and Kodak AG continued to make his type of cameras after WWII all the way up to 1960.