A lesson learned – and a guide for others

Over the last few days I’ve been refurbishing a Kodak Retina IIc 35mm rangefinder camera which I picked up as a non working model from eBay. Having stripped down the shutter and got it fully working, and then cleaned up the focus of its gummy grease, the last step in the process was to refit the shutter to the camera body and make sure the cocking mechanism was properly coupled to the film advance.

Fitting the shutter is a relatively straight forward operation. I refitted the paper washers on the back of the lens and fed it through the opening in the focus mount and attached the retaining ring on the back of the shutter. It was a bit fiddly trying to spin the retaining ring without the proper tool, but after a few minutes trying I managed to get the thread to catch and I could get it mostly tightened by finger before I used a lens spanner to finish it off.

With the lens attached I needed to get the coupling between the film advance lever and the shutter cocking ring right. I loosened the screws on the coupling gear cover on the front of the lens and tried moving the teeth on the cog until the registration was right. I’d read that this is a tricky operation and it’s important to use care so I was making sure I only moved the teeth one position at at time.

Unfortunately, although I was being as careful as I could, I apparently wasn’t careful enough 🙁

As I tried the film advance for the third or fourth time, the wind lever suddenly became tight, and before I knew it I’d managed to damage some teeth on the cocking rack!

Nobody likes to admit that they got it wrong, but I wanted to publish this just to emphasize how easy it is to do this damage. I thought I was being ultra careful, but the film advance tightened up almost before I could do anything about it and within a second the damage was done.

So I need to see it I can use existing rack (it’s possible I could clean the teeth up with a small file) or buy another Retina IIc with a hopefully good rack in.

I suppose at the end of the day I’m not too disappointed. I bought the camera as not working and it could have been a total write off; as it is I’ve learned a lot about the Retina and had some fun repairing the parts I did get working. If I get the film advance working I’ll publish another article about how I got on.


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