The orignal Kodak Retina (type 117) is a historically significant camera, because Kodak introduced the now ubiquitous daylight-loading 135 cartridge for this camera. (Earlier 35mm cameras required manually spooling bulk 35mm cine film into proprietary cassettes.) The design of the Retina borrowed significantly from the 127-film Vollenda which had been manufactured by the August Nagel Camera Works until its purchase and re-christening as Kodak AG.
The Retina I models are distinguished from the II and III series by being scale-focused, rather than using a rangefinder.
The eventual triumph of the 135 format owed much to the acceptance of the Retina as a compact, precision 35mm camera, as well as to the success of lower-priced alternatives such as those manufactured by Argus.
The following is a list of Retina I cameras produced from 1934 to 1940/1941? and 1945 to 1950.
- Typ 117 Retina - 1934 to 1935
- Typ 118 Retina - 1935 to 1936
- Typ 119 Retina I - 1936 to 1938
- Typ 126 Retina I - 1936 to 1937
- Typ 141 Retina I - 1937 to 1939
- Typ 143 Retina I - 1938 to 1939
- Typ 148 Retina I - 1939 to 1940
- Typ 149 Retina I - 1939 to 1940
- Typ 167 Retina I - 1940 - ? 1941
- Kodak AG stopped camera production in the summer of 1941. Plant was requisitioned by German government to make time-fuses.
- First camera parts for post-war production manufactured in July 1945.
- Typ 010 Retina I - November 1945 to June 1949
- Typ 013 Retina I - August 1949 to December 1950
- The Retina camera illustrated top right is a Typ 119 Retina I.
- The Retina camera illustrated bottom right is a late production Typ 148 Retina I.