The Retinas have their quirks, weirdnesses and sometimes questionable projects and materials, but they usually have very good optics from Schneider or Rodenstock and that's the key point. Some even have interchangeable lenses !
This extremely long series of cameras started in 1934 and ended in 1969, having dozens of models and sub-models, from folders to non-folders to SLR... They even made Retinas for Instamatic film cartridges !
The very last models were known as Retina S1 and S2 produced from 1966 to 1969 and both aren't folders and have a more "modern" looking. They are very "square looking" cameras and have fixed lenses and Albada-type visors, but no rangefinder.
There's only one type of lens, a Schneider-Kreuznach Reomar 45mm F2.8 coated triplet, attached to a very simple leaf shutter with 6 speeds (B and 1/30s to 1/250s) and a remote release socket.
The focus is done by estimation. No rangefinder.
It's a no-brainer camera. The top plate has a hot-shoe for electronic flash and a socket for flash cubes. At the bottom there is a battery compartment, but it's just for the flash cubes. The camera doesn't need batteries for operation.
The S1 (type 060) has no light meter but it has an interesting implementation of the sunny-16 rule for film exposure by setting the film sensitivity and adjusting the aperture and speed combination by "weather symbols". Clever and works extremely well in normal light conditions, but you can always use an external meter.
The S2 (type 061) has a coupled selenium light-meter and believe it or not, it even shows a needle with the usual +/- scale to check the correct exposure.
- Dirty inexpensive
- Large (but low contrast) viewfinder
- Well built
- No batteries needed
- Fun to use
- Incredibly, it can deliver very sharp images when stopped-down a little
- No filter thread
- No low speeds (1s to 1/15s)
- Very odd lens cap size
- No rangefinder
- Like most Retinas, not the best mechanics.
Retina S1 manual from Mike Butkus
and the S2 manual