This camera was not given to me, I did not buy it in Japan…shocking really as it is a Kowa. I don’t really remember buying it at all. But there it was on my “to try” shelf. It had been there for about a year. I think I left it there without really looking at it as I was sure the light meter wouldn’t work. I was sure the auto exposure wouldn’t work either, making it a manual camera only.
But it did work, even on auto.
You can find this camera very cheaply on eBay and other sites. It was produced from 1963 and as the stamp says, in Japan. Once I sat down and looked at this example carefully I couldn’t find a fault with it. Even the light seals were perfect. And here is the special thing…if you put your ear to the camera and press the shutter, you can hear a “chime” sound. I didn’t notice it at first, but then I read about it on this website and I had another listen. Sure enough there it was, like a clock or church bell. So I took the camera to Canterbury Cathedral.
Unfortunately, as I was walking around I bumped the camera and the back sprung open. This reviewer also had the same issue. I didn’t know when it had happened and thought the whole roll had fogged. So to finish the test I also took it to Headcorn Air Show and finished half a roll of an expired film there.
As it turned out many of the shots from the first roll were fine and the exposure choices were spot on. That is pretty amazing as this great review says it was the first camera with an electronic eye…and this one’s still works.
Using the Kowa was a delight. The viewfinder was super bright, the mechanics worked and the selenium cell powered everything perfectly. I tried the camera on both auto and manual mode. The only issue I had was the placement of the film speed dial. It is in the right hand thumb position on the back of the camera. That is usually where the wind on is. But on this camera the wind on is under the camera, so it is moved with the opposite thumb. That meant I naturally moved the film speed when I wanted to advance the film. The camera is slightly on the heavy side and there is no hot shoe. Those are my only niggles.
Keep or sell: no point in selling it just yet as they are super cheap. I might give it away or trade it with someone.
I knew I had left at least one SLR in Japan, but I didn’t know which one. I was happy to find it was the Olympus OM 30 with a 50mm lens. I used that one for most of my holiday, once I put in 5 batteries..yeap 5!
First I took it to the Kounosu Poppy Festival which had over 30 million poppies in bloom and a delicious Kakigori.
Then I took it to the Kawajima Rose Festival which has the longest rose tunnel in Japan. It really did get a flower workout.
After being in a suitcase for almost a year, you can see it still worked perfectly. I finished the film on the way to Champ Camera to get it developed.
It was nice having (almost) one camera to choose from for a while and it reminded me why Olympus was my first love.
I finished school a week ago and have been hanging around watching the world cup. I was planning on traveling around Japan, but England is doing surprisingly well, though I might have just jinxed tonight’s game. Well, yesterday was very rainy and there was flooding around Japan. So instead of going out walking and exploring I sat down at my computer and made a small photo book using iBook Author. It doesn’t have much text, mainly photos. It is already on iTunes and iBooks. You can find it here.
I decided to go to Hong Kong for Xmas. I have never been and always wanted to. It is so close to Japan, plus I have friends here with a vacant apartment for me to use. Thanks buddies. Anyway, one of them also likes film cameras and he sent me off to a place with a few shops. Once I found it, there was a plethora of cameras to choose from.
But golly the prices. They were so much more expensive than in Japan. I did buy some film and the seller asked me what camera it was for. I showed him the Contax 167mt in my bag and he said, “honest, honest where you get that lens, it is rare here, very expensive”. I told him about living in Japan and how much I paid for the 50mm, he said it would be double in Hong Kong…of course then he tried to sell me a uv filter for it.
I also had a mju 70 in my bag that I got for $3. I saw one in a shop for almost $80. I think I will leave it for my friend as I understand now why he doesn’t have so many cameras. I haven’t tested it, but I am sure it works. I will finish the film here and develop it later for this blog.
So no Xmas gift for myself at the moment, but it does mean I might go a bit wild before I leave Japan.
And here is a cute penguin I saw in Kowloon Park for your troubles
Merry Seasonals to you all.