The Kodak Retina 118

Maybe it’s my addiction to Antiques Roadshow. There’s just something about a nickel plated, black enameled camera that I just can’t resist.

I don’t want this to rehash everything that’s already been said in the past 80 years about the Kodak Retina 118. I just want to describe a special bond that can be made with the tools that one uses.

It’s seen better days. Sometimes the door jumps off the rails. Sometimes I forget that I already fired a shot, and forget to advance the film. Sometimes light manages to find its way in through a crack in the door. No holes in the bellows yet though.

Even for its faults, everything still moves and shimmies like it should. The film advance doesn’t have a clicking ratchet, it just rotates like butter. It doesn’t hold your hand and save you from making double exposures. It doesn’t remind you that you just took a shot.

This camera lived through a world war. I bought it from a seller in Europe. Probably countless family photos. Maybe it even got handed off to the grandkids to play with in the backyard. I think probably not on that last point.

Even with my lack of practice on this impossibly outdated machine, it yielded enough images in the first roll of film to endear itself to me. This is my 3rd nickel and enamel 35mm, and the one I was waiting for. If you need repairs, little Kodak, I’ll put you on the operating table and save you.

Kodak Retina 118, Ultrafine Xtreme 400, shot at 800 ISO, developed in XTOL.

Kodak Retina 118, Ultrafine Xtreme 400, shot at 800 ISO, developed in XTOL.

Kodak Retina 118, Ultrafine Xtreme 400, shot at 800 ISO, developed in XTOL.

Kodak Retina 118, Ultrafine Xtreme 400, shot at 800 ISO, developed in XTOL.

Kodak Retina 118, Ultrafine Xtreme 400, shot at 800 ISO, developed in XTOL.

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2 Comments

  1. Really nice results with your 118. There really is something magical about these wonderful old cameras! – Regards, Gareth W.

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