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LC-A Big Book Chapter 70: The Kodak Retina Standardizes 135 Film Cartridges

The Retina was notable for a few reasons. Firstly it yielded excellent quality, which was rather unique compared to most of its mass-marketed cheap Kodak brothers. Secondly, it featured a compact fold-out lens mechanism. Thirdly and most importantly, it was the first camera to use the modern 135 film cartridge that is still in use today.

Only a few years after the introduction of the Leica, another important model in the history of compact cameras saw the light of day in Germany. The Kodak Retina was released in 1934. Even though it was a Kodak camera, and should therefore actually have come from America, this example of excellent optics was produced at “Nagel Camerawerk” in western Germany, a factory that Kodak had recently acquired. The Retina was notable for a few reasons. Firstly it yielded excellent quality, which was rather unique compared to most of its mass-marketed cheap Kodak brothers. Secondly, it featured a compact fold-out lens mechanism. Thirdly and most importantly, it was the first camera to use the modern 135 film cartridge that is still in use today. Before this, each manufacturer promoted its own cartridge format and it was only due to the wildly successful Retina that the current style of light and easy cartridges became the standard. Several models of the Retina series were produced until the late 1960s.

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This is the original article written in: English. It is also available in: Deutsch & Spanish.