Kodak Retina Type 117 – Operations

A reader of my post on the Kodak Retina Type 117  asked me to provide some instructions for how to use that camera. Usually in answer to this kind of requests I would send people over to Mike Butkus’ amazing collection of camera manuals. Unfortunatelly there is no manual for the Retina Type 117 in Mike Butkus’ library. So I’ll give you some instructions her and show how to load the camera with film, transport the film, and rewind after all exposures are done.

Controls on top

First of all let me describe the controlls on top of the camera. From left to right we’ve got

  • rewind knob
  • exposure counter
  • viewfinder
  • film transport lock
  • film transport knob with transport direction switch

All of the knobs are marked with an arrow indicating the direction you have to turn the knob.

Ok, so let’s start loading the camera. First of all take your film cartridge and fold about 5mm of the film like this:

Prepare the film

Now check the setup of the film transport. Inside the transport knob there is a switch to change the direction of the film transport. Make sure the switch is in position “A”. If the switch is in position “R”, turn it counter-clockwise into position “A”. In the end it should look like this:
Film direction switch - "A"

Finally check if you can turn the transport knob in the direction of the arrow (counter-clockwise). If the transport knob is locked, turn the small knob on it’s left about 2 or 3 mm in the direction of the arrow (clockwise). You will hear a “klick” when the transport unlocks. You should be able to turn the transport knob now.

Fine, now we are ready to put the film into the camera. So open the back,
Open the back

pull out the rewind knob and insert the film cartridge.
Insert the cartridge

Push the rewind knob back in and insert the fold we made at the beginning of the film into one of the slots of the transport drum:
Transport drum

Turn the transport knob and make sure the teeth of the little sprocket fit into the perforation of the film:
Match with the sprocket

Close the camera back and turn the transport knob until it locks. Release the transport (turn the little knob clockwise until it “klicks”) and turn the transport knob until it locks again. The film is now in position to take your first exposure. Finally turn the exposure counter counter-clockwise until the number “1” is oposite the counter mark, and you are ready for your first photograph.

When your film is full of amazing pictures, turn the transport direction switch to postion “R”
Transport direction - "R"

and turn the rewind knob clockwise as indicated by the arrow until the little transport lock knob stops spinning. Turn the rewind knob a few more times to pull the complete film inside the cartridge. Pull out the rewind knob, open the back, and remove the film cartridge.

That’s it for the moment. There are instructions for compur shutters on the net, so I will not cover the shutter here.

Enjoy your Retina and have fun!


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