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KOWA 16H Anamorphic questions

Javier De Pablos Velez

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So I purchased a Kowa 16H 2x anamorphic on ebay back in december. My first anamorphic lens, I was quite excited. Upon receiving it I noticed that moving the focus mechanism did absolutely nothing- even when the prime (50mm 1.4 Canon FD) was at the same focusing point. So I found someone to repair- sent it out- and got it back now. At first I noticed the same issue- there was just no way to get the lens to focus...and then I moved the aperture ring on my FD lens to f5.6. I've noticed that if I shoot f5.6 or higher the image finally gets in focus (which is what should happen as depth of field becomes longer) but does on really have to shoot at an f8-f11 to get a sharp image on a Kowa 16H??? Is mine just broken?


I figure I might need diopters but I want to make sure the repair guy actually did his job...

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So I just did a test first thing in the morning. These are JPEGs from my stills camera (olympus OMD EM5) using a Canon 50mm FD 1.4 with an anamorphic clamp and a recently repaired Kowa 16H.


It doesn't seem to make much of a difference as to what I am focusing on. The first images are of the same focus point- the only thing changing is the aperture and ISO to compensate for change in aperture.


(I couldn't figure out how to upload the photos so I just put them in my dropbox and posted links)







As you can see it's only till I close down my aperture lens to about a f5.6 that I start to get good results. I'm wondering if this is the nature of the anamorphic lens (Kowa 16H) and it can easily be resolved with a diopter or perhaps it's my prime lens (although it is perfectly sharp at f1.4 when not used with the anamorphic).


I'm also attaching photos of close up objects to show it happens no matter where I am focused:




Thanks for the help and listen :)

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There is definitely something wrong with your Kowa. It should be sharp when your taking lens is wide open - you shouldn't have to stop down to get a sharp image.


Are you sure that you're using it properly?

Set your taking lens to 5ft/1.5m & then adjust the Kowa (you might have to adjust each lens in turn - takes a bit of getting used to) - make sure you're 5ft/1.5m from an object (do this in doors with the lights on & shoot wide open).

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So the first image is 5ft at 1.4



the second 15ft at f8.



So the lens focuses it just needs to be stopped down. I'm trying to figure out how to fix this some other way so I can shoot lowlight :/

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Don't take this the wrong way, but these look as if you've got either the Kowa or the prime focused incorrectly. Getting both right can be tricky, because until both are fairly close/in the ballpark, it looks out of focus. The scale on the Kowa is approximate, and isn't always exactly right depending on the other lens. My first question is, what kind of clamp are you using/how are you attaching it to your "taking" lens (the 50mm)? Secondly, have you tried it (even just held by hand) in front of any other lenses? You should scrutinize those two things before determining that your Kowa is bad. 


What you are describing seems very strange to me. I have the same Kowa, and they are built like a tank. I struggle to imagine one that simply doesn't focus. I assume they have a helicoil/coils, and as they are metal construction, it would be tough for these to quit working. It would seem far more likely that your lens elements are either out of alignment . . . or one is missing entirely. Even if the lens were failing to move the elements . . . you should be able to focus at whatever position it is stuck at.


What does the view look like through your Kowa (just naked eye)? Because these projection anamorphics are just adapters and do not have apertures, you can look straight through them quite easily. My good copy looks crisp and clear, just for reference. I can see clearly  and with detail through it. 


Don't buy a diopter expecting it to fix this. There is a chance that it might, but don't count on it.


EDIT: I se you have experience with the B&H, so I assume you've learned how to focus these properly. Bummer, as that means there is certainly a bigger problem :/

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There's definitely something wrong with your Kowa.

At a guess i'd say that the lenses need to be re-aligned.


You said that you sent it away to get fixed - by who, because they didn't fix it. There's a list of good repair people in a post - if not sell it on & claim ignorance.


You could try another taking lens, just in case that's your problem.

And, look into the Kowa from the front - can you see an oval shape that it should form?

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 these look as if you've got either the Kowa or the prime focused incorrectly.

I agree. It takes some time to get used to focusing both lens correctly.

I use following technique: for close-ups I just focus both lenses all the way down and fine tune via taking lens focus.

For focusing on far objects everything is vice versa, except for fine tuning is done again with taking lens.

For inbetween distances I try to focus both lenses on approximately same distances basing on focusing marks on 'em.


Wish you luck and lots of patience while practicing.

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