Kowa Six

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by ChristopherCoy, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    Sooooo... through random conversation on my glass art forum, I discovered someone who had a Kowa Six. Jokingly I asked if he wanted to sell it, and he said to make him a serious offer. I know NOTHING about this camera, other than what it looks like. Below is what he has for sale.

    What would a kit like this be worth today?

    I'm off to google.


    KOWA 6 camera Body - no case, no box
    Camera body handle/shutter release
    KOWA 85mm 2.8 w/focus handle on camera
    KOWA 250mm 5.6 lens w/hood & leather case
    KOWA 55mm 3.5 lens w/leather case
    Focus screens;
    Split Image
    Checkerboard lines - in camera
    Ground Glass w/center spot
    KOWA Telleconverter 2X
    KOWA Extension Tubes - T1, T2, T3

    Boxes for all excessories except 250mm lens.
     
  2. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    By the looks of things bodies are worth anywhere from $150 to $300, and with lenses they are being sold for the $500 range.
     
  3. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I don't know whether to encourage you, or attempt to discourage you ....

    It has been over 35 years since any Kowa equipment was manufactured. Even in their heyday, Kowa equipment wasn't particularly easy to find.

    It may be that the kit you are considering is in great shape and will function well for you. And then again you may need service next week - and may or may not be able to find a good service resource.

    I've never owned Kowa equipment, and only had slight experience with them when I was selling cameras, but they never seemed a good choice for someone to use as their only medium format system.

    Others with more direct experience may very well disagree.

    You might look through this photo net thread to get a flavour for the sort of concerns I have: http://photo.net/medium-format-photography-forum/00Z2tm?start=10

    EDIT: If you decide to go ahead with this, the following APUG thread may be useful: kowa-repair-service
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2011
  4. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    Thanks Matt.

    Based on my very brief research, I don't think I would/could buy it unless he would take a ridiculously low price for it, and I don't want to be 'that' lowball guy.
     
  5. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    I have a Kowa outfit, 4 lens set, bought mine used over 30 years aso. Do not have the teleconverter or extension tubes. There are a couple of folks who repair Kowa's but parts are hard to find. Lens are fair to good, but not on the par of Ziess or a modern Japaness lens, I can get a quite good 16X20. The only issue that has come about which I have not found a reason for is that HP5 will not cock the mirror return as the film is advanced and the mirror locks, has not happened with any other film type such as Delta 400 or Tir X. Are the lens the chrome or black versons? A 66 rather than a Super 66 I guess older chrome. I would pay $450 to $500 for a clean set up, but consider finding a Super 66 with mirror lock up and interchangable backs, last model made as your primary body and use the 66 for a backup. I think a super 66with a 80 2.8 and 250 black lens sold for $495 at a local shop a couple of months ago.
     
  6. BobD

    BobD Member

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    I always walk on the "make me an offer" guys. If the price is a secret, so is my
    offer.
     
  7. Someonenameddavid

    Someonenameddavid Member

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    I always understood that Kowas were very fragile and so I would spend my money on an RB67

    $200 tops
    David
     
  8. thornhill

    thornhill Subscriber

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    That teleconverter is quite rare and would have excellent resale value. It's a high quality item and would match up particularly well with the 250mm.
     
  9. outwest

    outwest Subscriber

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    I think it would be a steal at $550. You can always pick up a Super 66 body later if you need it. My lenses test on par with my Hassies.
     
  10. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    I remember looking at the Kowa 6 when they were first marketed. IMHO, they were a piece of junk, just like their 35mm cameras. I would heed the advice above. You might be stuck with a $500 boat anchor, except they're not heavy enough for that.
     
  11. outwest

    outwest Subscriber

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    Sorry to hear that, Bruce, but, it has been over 40 years since they were first marketed. Do you have any actual experience with them? I started with a 6 about 25 years ago, then a 6MM, and for more than the last 15 years, a Super 66 with 55, 85, 150, and 250 lenses and various accessories. I have often traveled with the Kowa in preference to my Hasselblad because it is easier to shoot from the hand and the lenses are superb. The lenses and accessories alone in Christopher's deal are worth $550.
     
  12. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    I had experience with the 35mm equipment as I was doing camera repair in the 70's. Otherwise as I said, "IMHO". My advice is worth everything you paid for.
    As far as buying it to resell, that's another story, and you're right on that.
     
  13. moki

    moki Member

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    I have a Kowa Six with 55, 85 and 150 lenses and absolutely love it. It got the set for almost 400$ and the camera already had some dents and scratches, so 550 for a decent camera with all the accessories seems more than fair to me.
    It is a quirky camera, it's something to get used to and it's everything but small and light... but the mechanical quality is quite good (not HaBla or Leica quality, but probably good for a few more decades) and the lenses are all superb. I especially love the 55mm/3,5. Only the loading of film is a little difficult and slow, but since I don't really need to be fast with this kind of camera, it's ok. If there was a complete Hasselblad set for that price, I'd probably get that, but with the Kowa you really get way more than you pay for. There are too many people who don't know it or never used it, that's why it's one of the cheapest (working) 6x6 SLRs you can get.
     
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  15. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I thought I had to move up to a Hassy system; so sold my Super 66 and lens (including a 40mm). I don't print above 11X14; no one has been able to pick the Hassy photos from the Kowa shots.

    Are the Kowa bodies as robust as Hasselblads, no. But, I had my body serviced by Ross Yerkes before ever using it and it never gave me even a single problem. I think the Kowa lens are just as robust as the Hassy stuff I use now.

    I don't know if this is a good price or not, I haven't looked at Kowa pricing in years.

    I wouldn't have sold my Kowa gear if I had had a chance to use the Hassy outfit for a month before committing.

    Mike
     
  16. spacer

    spacer Subscriber

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    My two working Kowa SIX bodies, and about five lenses (two sets of the 85 and 150, plus a 250), with two grips, cords, a bunch of filters, and a really sturdy box ran me $200.
    I'm not usually one who runs across great deals, but this was one of 'em. The seller tells me that one of the bodies has a minor light leak, which only seems to happen in bright sunlight, but that he just kept a roll of electrical tape handy and kept on truckin'. They seem pretty darned stout to me, save for the bail on the back release, and the crank lever, which I don't use anyway.

    I like the setup, but I am aware of the age issues... more about the lack of repair shops nearby... Sure I'd swap it for something that circumvents that issue, but they are kinda fun anyway.
     
  17. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    My 2 cents worth. If you think you would use it, make him an offer at a number you feel like you could get out with your skin if it didn't work out for you. There is not a huge market for old film cameras and chances are this guy is not using it and wouldn't know where or how to get rid of it. You were not out looking for an old medium format camera. Were it me, I'd probably offer somewhere in the $350 t0 $400 range. If you decide not to use it and sell it, you are going to have a few hours of your time tied up in selling it, so I would assume that when making my offer. I do buy and sell a fair amount of gear . . . I also keep and use a bunch of it. Bill Barber
     
  18. CGW

    CGW Member

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    It's a relic. No parts+very little service=headaches. Couldn't cheap enough unless I was criticaly short of doorstops and paperweights.
     
  19. btaylor

    btaylor Subscriber

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    ?? I like relics, that's one reason I shoot film. I have a Six and a couple of Super 66, a bunch of lenses. They can make fine pictures and I very much like the way they feel and handle. The Six is particularly small, and the side handgrip makes it very easy to use. I don't think there is anything inherently poor about them. I suppose it's like anything, some people like 'em, some don't. When I have needed service or repair, Ross Yerkes has taken care of things with no delays. In general the 55, 150 and 250 go for about $150-200 ea on the 'bay, the Six body with 80mm about $200. The teleconverter and tubes are worth some money as they are a little more rare. I have had to have several of the leaf shutters in the lenses serviced- not unusual for a something 40 yrs ol-, this runs about $125 per lens.
     
  20. spacer

    spacer Subscriber

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    Perhaps, but many would say the same about nearly any film camera.
     
  21. CGW

    CGW Member

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    It's a matter of being realistic. Considering the Kowa didn't sell particularly well relative to other system 6x6 SLRs and vanished from the market years ago, it's a poor candidate for a working system. Accessible repair/replacement options in the event of a breakdown are what influence my purchases and something like the Kowa just doesn't cut it.
     
  22. Schlapp

    Schlapp Member

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    Had a little problem with my wonderful KOWA 6 - which I much prefer to the Hassie I also have - and Newton Ellis of Liverpool fixed it- and at a good price!
     
  23. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    I'm revisiting this, because I'm again looking at buying it, if for no other reason than an early Christmas gift of shelf decor (although I have every intention of using it in the studio.)

    I've been reading here: http://www.kilfitt.org/Cameras/Kowa.htm and also here: http://www.shutterbug.com/content/classic-camerasbrkowa-rollfilm-slrs and both sites quote common problems of stripped gears due to 'rough' handling. My question is, what is considered 'rough' handling? Normal use? A forceful wind? Playing soccer with it across the parking lot?

    Also, I've read all of the responses here (more than once), and understand the inherent problem of continued parts and service. Ross Yerkes has been mentioned on this thread, and other random areas of the internet, but the one thing that seems to never be mentioned is his contact information. Does anyone know if in fact he is still servicing cameras, and how to contact him? I'd like to ask him a few questions about the cost of CLA's and such in case this setup needs it.
     
  24. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    Nothing wrong with being the lowball guy...
    EXAMPLE... I know an old fuzzy wuzzy that keeps offering his lint-covered Leica on ebay for thousands and it never sells, why who is going to buy a lint covered Leica for thousands from a guy that keeps taking it in an out of his damp old basement?

    If this person is just going to put the Kowa away again, offer them a low but fair price, considering that it hasn't been used in so long and likely needs $200 in CLA.

    I had a friend that offered me an F3 for $150 she hadn't used it in so long, I gave her $250 and we were all happy, and it was a risk, cause it sat in a dirty box for a decade and a half unused.

    Just because you think the kit is worth $1500 in e-bay bucks doesn't mean any of it actually sells on e-bay either. I recognize the same cameras month after month on e-bay. A Sinar kit I offered $825 or on the bay two months ago, is now actually priced at $725?!? Glad he turned my $825 offer down in September.
     
  25. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Member

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    As I've been told, the owner used it regularly, thought not extensively until about 3 years ago. And its all been stored either in its original packaging (plastic, foam, and boxes) or in the case of the 250, the blue velvet lined case.
     
  26. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Someone just posted a complete Kowa set on Ebay, all the lens including the 500mm, first I have even seen for sale.