Photography Quintessance with a Kowa SE

Kowa SE

How would you describe photography? My dictionary describes it as ” the art or practice of taking and processing photographs” True but that barely scratches the surface. There are so many layers, physical and emotional.

For me it’s an opportunity to ‘slow down’ and take stock of things and appreciate life. So when I have a camera that allows me to capture my images without thinking about it or worrying about which setting to choose, I’m happy. I have found what I call photography quintessence. This is what I experienced with the Kowa SE.

This is not the first Kowa SE I have had, a mid 1960’s fixed lens SLR camera from the Japanese company Kowa. As mentioned here, the first one had an issue with its leaf shutter that I was never able to restore to working condition. However this new one, to me, is in near pristine condition with a functioning shutter and accurate light meter.

Kowa SE Top

The top and bottom plates of the SE are spartan to say the least.

Kowa SE Base

The Kowa SE comes with a fixed Kowa 50mm f1.9 lens which has a smooth 80º throw from 2.5 ft to infinity focus.

Kowa SE  50mm f1.9

The little button after the words SEIKOSHA-SLV is used to change the film speed around the collar that houses the leaf shutter.

Kowa SE Flash Synch

In the image above you can see the flash synch lever, X – Electronic Flash; M – flash Bulbs; V is for the self timer function.

For an overview of the camera click on the image below for a video tour, loading the film and the lovely shutter sound.😌

Kowa SE

I loaded some Rollei Superpan 200 and went for a brief walk about.

Kowa SE Wooden Steps

Kowa SE Twisted Wood

Kowa SE034

Aside from the usual dust removal the images needed a little contrast adjustment.

Kowa SE Sign Post

I think the image above shows how sharp the Kowa lens is.☺️

Kowa SE007

Given the limitations of the external CdS meter the Kowa has done a great job. I used a LR44 battery to power the meter.

Kowa SE Light Burst

Kowa SE Leaf

Kowa SE Leaf Litter

Kowa SE Hinge

Kowa SE Bug Hotel

The images were taken with an aperture of f 8-1.9

Kowa SE Brambles

The camera weighs 1 3/4lbs or 700gms and came with a very nice case which allowed me to carry the camera on my shoulder. The fit and finish of the camera is really good.

Kowa did make a wide angle and telephoto conversion lens that can be screwed onto the fixed 50mm lens. I don’t have these but I did find, after I had developed the film, a wide-angle lens that can be screwed onto the lens’ 49mm thread. So I will just have to try that another time, what a hardship😁

I REALLY enjoyed using the Kowa SE. I am delighted with the images coming straight out of the camera. I had to do so little to them.

The camera allows you to not only participate in ” the art or practice of taking and processing photographs” but has that rare ability to enhance your enjoyment of it.

But don’t take my words for it. Buy this camera and experience it for yourself!


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