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ARVA

Kowa 16-H Operation Problems

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I recently purchased a Kowa 16-H. The lens is in remarkable condition, though I am experiencing some difficulties. I have my Kowa mounted to a flange-adjusted Helios 44-2 and Nikon D750 with a custom clamp for the time being. 

Issues:

  • Little to no flaring at all (from the Kowa)
  • Unable to focus.
  • Picture only focusable at f16, at which point everything seems to be in focus and moving the focus rings changes almost nothing.
  • Lens is aligned, yet the bokeh is at about 60° to the right.

 

This may just be a result of my inexperience, or something about my setup, but if it something wrong with the lens its self, I need to know as soon as possible so I can return it to the seller.

 

Sample footage [All Un-stretched]

  • Flare Test: The Helios does the halo flare unless I stop it down just a tad. That is expected. I do not see any flare coming from the anamorphic lens its self, there notably a lack in long flaring.
  • Focusing becomes pointless at f16
  • Adjusting the focus:

 

 

 

 

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That is not good.

Probably missaligned/damaged element on the Kowa.

If Helios by itself works ok, must work with the kowa in the same way. Plenty of flares and oval bokeh.

Check a white line in kowa body thats is the vertical mark and focus distance indicator.

You should get sharp inages from the kowa almost wide open.

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32 minutes ago, Timotheus said:

Yeah, must be something wrong inside...If you're handy, you can try to fix it yourself. Tito has a recent video on improving sharpness on the Kowa B&H. As it is the same model as Kowa 16H and 8Z, it should apply to your lens also.

Thanks for the video, I think I can do that mod; though I'll wait it out a bit longer to see if anyone else has any suggestions that don't require dismantling the lens. I still think it might just be me doing something wrong.

 

 

It seems to flare under direct sunlight:

 

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I'm not sure, but it looks as if the horizontal flares don't run perfectly parallel. But they should, so then that would indeed indicate misalignment in the anamorphic.

Only other explanation (if the Helios on itself is working fine) is that the dual focusing goes wrong...

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That sunlight flare tells you all you need to know....the Kowa's front and rear optic are definitely not properly aligned to each other.The purple/pink streaks should be more parallel than they are at present. Previous owner probably dicked around with it to clean the interior, but not reassembled it properly (checking alignment). Follow Tito's tutorial to easily solve the issue - it is a much more concise version of the original post post I did a while ago about improving sharpness by refining the alignment of such a lens.

The optics not being perfectly aligned in the Kowa are 100% the cause of your focus problems. The streak lens flares are often an excellent way of seeing any discrepancy in front and rear optic alignment.

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1 hour ago, Grimor said:

That is not good.

Probably missaligned/damaged element on the Kowa.

If Helios by itself works ok, must work with the kowa in the same way. Plenty of flares and oval bokeh.

Check a white line in kowa body thats is the vertical mark and focus distance indicator.

You should get sharp inages from the kowa almost wide open.

I checked the line, it is as straight as I can make it with my current setup.

3 minutes ago, Hans Punk said:

That sunlight flare tells you all you need to know....the Kowa's front and rear optic are not properly aligned. The purple/pink streaks should be more parallel than they are at present. Previous owner may have dicked around with it to clean the interior, but not reassembled it properly. Follow Tito's tutorial to solve the issue - it is a much more concise version of the original post post I did a while ago about improving sharpness by refining the alignment of such a lens.

Okay, thank you. I'll give it a go. By the way, is it normal that it would only flare when facing the sun? I've seen other tests where it seems to flare much more with light sources in general.

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41 minutes ago, ARVA said:

Okay, thank you. I'll give it a go. By the way, is it normal that it would only flare when facing the sun? I've seen other tests where it seems to flare much more with light sources in general.

iPhone not always a great light source to provoke flare (unless only light source in a darker room than in your test and you crank up your ISO on the camera).

Big reason for lack of flare is most likely due to mis-alignment of Kowa's optics and maybe if the Kowa's rear is not perfectly parallel to the taking lens. Different focus distances will also render the streak flares softer or sharper...so you've probably got one or more of these things happening.

Currently the mis-alignment issue not rendering anything sharp...image or the streak lens flare. Maybe follow Tito's tutorial and post the results here, it's always nice to see a bodged lens come back to life :)

ps - Did you buy the lens from eBay...if so, who was the seller?

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3 hours ago, Hans Punk said:

iPhone not always a great light source to provoke flare (unless only light source in a darker room than in your test and you crank up your ISO on the camera).

Big reason for lack of flare is most likely due to mis-alignment of Kowa's optics and maybe if the Kowa's rear is not perfectly parallel to the taking lens. Different focus distances will also render the streak flares softer or sharper...so you've probably got one or more of these things happening.

Currently the mis-alignment issue not rendering anything sharp...image or the streak lens flare. Maybe follow Tito's tutorial and post the results here, it's always nice to see a bodged lens come back to life :)

ps - Did you buy the lens from eBay...if so, who was the seller?

Sure thing, I'll take some more detailed before and after shots. 

The lens was purchased from eBay by seller "cameralovelove" from Japan.

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1 minute ago, ARVA said:

Sure thing, I'll take some more detailed before and after shots. 

The lens was purchased from eBay by seller "cameralovelove" from Japan.

Do you know the way how to use dual focus?  maybe the lens has no problem.

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3 minutes ago, ken said:

Do you know the way how to use dual focus?  maybe the lens has no problem.

I am fairly sure everything is still blurry when both set to infinity.

I'd so much prefer that it is just me. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it is my understanding that I should first focus the anamorphic lens and then the taking lens. I am by no means good at it. If you know of any tips, please do share.

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44 minutes ago, ARVA said:

I am fairly sure everything is still blurry when both set to infinity.

I'd so much prefer that it is just me. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it is my understanding that I should first focus the anamorphic lens and then the taking lens. I am by no means good at it. If you know of any tips, please do share.

Dual focus is pain.  I think you can try using auto focus taking lens to test anamorphic lens as semi auto focus system to see whether it has problem.  

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39 minutes ago, ken said:

Dual focus is pain.  I think you can try using auto focus taking lens to test anamorphic lens as semi auto focus system to see whether it has problem.  

My taking lens is a manual lens. That would be cool to try on another lens though.

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2 hours ago, ken said:

Do you know the way how to use dual focus?  maybe the lens has no problem.

The Kowa has a very obvious alignment problem....the streak flare in sunlight clearly shows this. No testing with other taking lenses will resolve correct sharpness either, unless the Kowa's optic alignment is corrected first.

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6 hours ago, ARVA said:

I am fairly sure everything is still blurry when both set to infinity.

I'd so much prefer that it is just me. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it is my understanding that I should first focus the anamorphic lens and then the taking lens. I am by no means good at it. If you know of any tips, please do share.

The easy way to dual focusing anamorphic is described in this video at 4' min:

The perfect "blurry  cicles" by Eric Ivar Persson. You can try.

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5 hours ago, Tito Ferradans said:

Hah! What a coincidence, this week's video is exactly about how to speed up double focusing!

http://www.tferradans.com/blog/?p=9610

Regarding alignment, I agree the lens is messed up. Open it up and fix it, it's not as hard as it sounds/looks. :D

Wow, very timely considering both the focus and the alignment videos are new!

I have a focusing question though, I see how I should be focusing, but my camera -Nikon D750- does not, at least to my understanding, allow me to change the aspect ratio in-camera. I don't own an external recorder or anything like that. And as far as I know, there aren't any Nikon hacks for this functionality. Maybe there is some-sort of live output to mac/pc that I could use?

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