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What have I gone and bought now?

Discussion in 'Classic Models & Marques' started by John Farrell, Nov 9, 2021.

  1. John Farrell

    John Farrell Well-Known Member


    This is a Kowaflex, from 1960 (some say 1959). It is the first in a long line of terrible 35mm SLR cameras from Kowa. Most were fixed lens, with a between the lens diaphragm shutter. Yes, I'm going to open it up, and try to get it going. It has previously been serviced - in October 1969, according to the label.
    zx9r and Catriona like this.
  2. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    I tried Kowa SE in the early 1970s. That was the version with the exposure meter cell in the corner of the name plate. It was very cheap (if I'd argued enough, I suspect the dealer would have paid me to take it away) and it worked for three or possibly four films before jamming solid. :(
    John Farrell likes this.
  3. John Farrell

    John Farrell Well-Known Member

    I tried to get a Kowa SE going, years ago - no success. I think I still have some parts of it somewhere. This one is slightly less complex - no instant return mirror or light meter. I have the one above in pieces now - the shutter needs an overhaul, and the timing of the mirror and the blanking plate behind it is out. Whether it will work again...
  4. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Kowa were an odd company. They started life as a textile factory and it's not entirely clear what got them into optics, originally via spectacle production. The only Kowa that earned real respect was the Kows Six - a 120 SLR which is best described as a Hasselblad with a fixed back. I used one for a couple of years and it seemed reliable. The focussing screen and lenses were good as well. The only problem was that it was really noisy and the work I was doing at the time called for something quieter, so I swapped it in for a Rolleiflex 3.5F and a TeleRollei - which were virtually silent.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2021
    John Farrell likes this.
  5. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Why do I like Mr Farrell so much?

    Hmm. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that he collects *different* odd junk to me so I get to see different weird old rubbish!
    (though the Ikonta 521/16 sat next to me as I type, while I finish the film in it when it was given to me, only really ticks one of those boxes)

    For some reason I'm unduly tempted by a 35mm SLR described as "terrible" - I think it's that love of the underdog thing.
    Zou, John Farrell and IvorETower like this.
  6. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Must confess to wanting to scratch the Kowa itch. I KNOW they're some way short of reliable, but I do like the look of them.
    John Farrell likes this.
  7. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    I think you can get cream for that these days, Nick!
    John Farrell likes this.
  8. John Farrell

    John Farrell Well-Known Member

    I have, briefly, owned another complete Kowa (the SE I mentioned above came to me dismantled). I bought an auction lot of cameras, which included a Kowa H. This was in beautiful condition, but every control was locked solid. I sold it as an ornament.

  9. John Farrell

    John Farrell Well-Known Member

    Found what the problem with the film capping plate was on the camera - a spring (red arrow) was on the wrong side of a post.

    Kowaflex mirror box.jpg

    The spring is supposed to look like this:

    I then opened up the shutter, to find a problem that I can't fix - and for which I don't have a spare. There is a post missing off part of the speed escapement. Again, where the post is supposed to be is arrowed.

    Last edited: Nov 11, 2021
    zx9r and daft_biker like this.
  10. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    That's a bugger. Looks as though you aren't the first to go in there, I bet the missing post is on their workbench... Maybe Chris Sherlock has some Kowa bits hiding behind all the Retinas?

    Well done in the cricket yesterday, BTW, top run chase there and a bit of redemption for Jimmy Neesham.
  11. John Farrell

    John Farrell Well-Known Member

    I checked my scrap cameras, and I have one with a seikosha shutter, so there may be some hope there. The Kowa shutter has odd scuff marks in places, and screws with stuffed heads, so someone has been fiddling. The main spring is in excellent condition, suggesting that the camera spent many years unused.
    This was the first of this model camera I had seen for sale here, but now there is another on the online auction. The seller is asking far more than it's worth.
  12. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Maybe that one works?
  13. John Farrell

    John Farrell Well-Known Member

    That's doubtful, unless it's been serviced recently - and it's too expensive.

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