My dad bought the camera in 1954 or 1955 while touring in Germany. As I recall, he told me he paid the equivalent of $250 for it, and with the exchange rate at the time, that was quite a deal compared with the cost at home, in the USA. Nevertheless, that's a huge chunk of change for "normal" people like my dad to spend back in 1955. But I also think that anyone buying a camera in 1955 was probably thinking this would be the "last camera they will ever need." How things change.
Anyway, the Kodak Retina IIIC was an awesome little 35mm camera for its day. Check out the images below. Wouldn't you agree?
The Retina IIIC featured a built-in lightmeter which was fairly unique at the time. Nearly unfathomable to shooters today, no batteries were needed to run the lightmeter or the camera! That's incredible. And it was nice and compact, with that little 50mm F2 Schneider lens that folded into the body. Again, I think this was pretty unusual at the time.
In 1968 I used Kodachrome with an ASA (ISO) of 25. And since I didn't own a tripod, this meant pictures needed a lot of light. Blurry or soft pictures were commonplace (for me) as very slow shutter speeds were required.
Looking at the scanned images now, I think the lens created lots of glare/flare when the sun was anywhere but behind you. The lens has none of the fancy surface coatings that today's optics have. A lens hood would have helped, but probably not solved the problem.
I was perfectly happy with the 50mm prime lens. I didn't know anything different. Today, with the range of lenses available to on my modern cameras, I feel quite spoiled.
I've been tempted to take this old gem on a trip or two, to shoot side-by-side with my digital camera. The IIIC mechanics seem to work just fine, though the lightmeter readings are a bit sketchy. I know that there are "apps" for smart phones that allow the phone to work as a lightmeter. On the other hand, it's getting more and more difficult to get film developed. I guess I just don't have the interest to go back to film. Digital is sooo easy.