Kowa lens performance

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by cevola_a, Jun 17, 1997.

  1. Does anyone know where I can go to check the performance of Kowa 6 lenses? I understand they were an optics company before they were a camera company. I have an 85mm and a 55mm lens , both in heavy chrome mounts. I was just curious about their relative performance and optic abilities in comparison to Hasselblad,Rollie and Bronica. Thanks in advance.
  2. Alfonso, I owned two Kowa bodies and the 55 85 110 150 250 all were the newer style black lens. I found that the 55 new style 67mm filter size and the 110 and the 250 were sharp, and had very good contrast.
    The 85 and the 150 were ok! but not great.


    If you do not know there were two styles of 55 and 150 the early lens were only in chrome and I think the filter size on them was 77mm. The only problem I had with my Kowa's was one time the 150mm lens jammed on the super 66 body. I had it repaired and that was the only problem I had with them in 8 years of use. Still sorry I got rid of the outfit, it was nice having all those lens. Bill
  3. Here's a couple of test reports from Modern Photography:
    (I've added their equivalent LP/M)
    November 1968 - Report on Kowa 6 and 85mm f/2.8
    Aperture Center Edge
    2.8 Acceptable (40) Acceptable (25)
    4 Good (65+) Acceptable (35)
    5.6 Very Good (80) Acceptable (35)
    8 Very Good (80) Acceptable (35)
    11 Excellent (85) Very Good (40+)
    16 Excellent (85) Very Good (40+)
    September 1971 - Report on 250mm f/5.6
    5.6 Excellent Good
    8 Excellent Acceptable
    11 Excellent Acceptable
    16 Excellent Acceptable
    22 Very Good Acceptable
    32 Good Good
    Their comment "Optically the lens is certainly one of the very best
    in this focal range for a 21/4 SLR."
    22 Good (65) Acceptable (35)
  4. I just bought a Kowa today and it beats my Holga all to pieces. If you can afford a Rollie, buy a Rollie. The "technical" qualities of cameras are a hangup that many people seem to have. I've seen awful pictures taken with 'Blads and I've seen beautiful pictures taken with Dianas -and vice - versa. The Kowa is a great camera if you don't abuse it. It's an EXCELLENT camera for those of us who know better than to pay for a name! */;o)
  5. Regarding Kowa Lens's: About 6 months ago I switched from a C330 system to a Kowa because I wanted to shoot with an SLR. The only problem with the Kowa lens's is they do not have the depth of focus of other cameras I have used. Where a Hasselblad 80mm has 4 foot depth of focus at f8 a Kowa 85mm has two foot depth of focus. This is especially noticible on the 55mm with is a wide angle. With this wide a lens you would expect to have a point and shoot at f8 but it is not so with the Kowa. However I am still glad I got the system because I use it for weddings and with the new fast films I can shoot at f11 and f16 most of the time with excelent, really quite excelent, results and for the money I spent on 2 camera bodies, 3 lenses, 2 backs, prisim finder and other extras I would have been lucky to buy one Hasselblad with an A12 back. So for me it is great.
  6. I would have you consider the age old method of checking the lenses
    yourself by photographing a newspaper page that is secured to an easel
    or wall, and is perfectly flat. Have the light source, plus or minus
    45 degrees from the lens (which is on the Kowa body), and use a fill
    light if you choose to. Determine exposure with an incident light
    meter reading, whether using flash or continuous light (daylight or
    tungsten). If daylight, do not be concerned with the 45 degrees. Use
    a lens shade! Camera is on a tripod, and you have focused and
    refocused. Use a fine grained film, and I would have you consider
    black and white for this project. I would also have the black and
    white film processed in D-76 or a similar developer. Not D-23. You
    need sharp edges on the grain. Using the timer on the Kowa in order
    to have the mirror up several seconds before the exposure to eliminate
    camera shake, make exposures at each of your f/stops, from full open,
    to fully closed. Process the negatives. Do not print. Study the
    negatives thoroughly. Remember that each and every lens is an
    individual. No two lenses are the same even if they are labeled such.
    Magazine tests are interesting reading but do not tell you what your
    lens in your possession can do. Now you have tested your lens in your
    environment on your camera body. You have done well.
  7. This thread is old, but I thought I should comment on Enoch Feroten's
    post above. A Kowa 85mm lens is going to have basically the same DOF
    as a Hassy 80(given the same aperture of course). If there are
    differences, than the DOF scales on one lens or both are wrong.
  8. I have owned a Kowa 6 for 6 years. I shoot with my friend who has a
    Hassy. I will put my prints up against his anytime. The Kowa lenses
    are superb. Don't be fooled by a name. Why pay a lot of money for a
    name when you can have so much more camera for so little. I shoot
    landscapes with my Kowa six outfit and when I'm at Yosemite and shoot
    scenes that include the cliffs, the trees way up on the tops of the
    cliffs are incredibly sharp. Very good contrast. And the color pallet
    is exceptional. I shoot Velvia and Provia and the colors rendition is
    excellent. If you find a Kowa outfit, buy it. They are getting harder
    to find now due to photographers discovering how good they are.
  9. I want to reiterate Wilson's statement. Depth of field is a function of focal length and format (image size). The only other variable is what the manufacturer considers to be acceptable limits to image quality.
    derek_green likes this.

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