Koto Optic Works

As far as I know Kowa only produced one 127 camera - however it has to be one of the most important. The Komaflex-S is one of the few SLR's produced in 127 format.

While you might expect an SLR to be smaller than TLR's such as the baby rollei, it is in fact slightly larger, due to the more complex mechanism. It's also rather loud when the mirror slams up. While an SLR avoids parallax problems, the main advantage is the option to use the auxillary lenses which screw onto the standard lens, for wide angle and telephoto use.

The Komaflex standard lens has a 37.5mm screw thread - a little tricky to find, but nothing weird. The auxillary lenses are both a standard 52mm screw fit, as s old in every camera shop you might happen to visit, so using filters should be pretty straight forwards.

The controls are a little fiddly. Fortunatly you can download the manual. Unfortunatly Koma's have a bizare feature, that leads them to get damged when they're operated without film in - exactly what someone's likely to do upon picking on up! I'm sure many a working Komaflex has been destroyed within the first 30 seconds of arriving with a new owner, so at least read the following instructions:

To test one out without breaking it, you first wind on. Thats usually two strokes, but sometimes it needs a little more (it stops if there's film in but otherwise you can wind indifinatly). This should lower the mirror - the visual effect is that the viewfinder should now be dark. Now you cock the shutter with the lever on the left of the lens BUT YOU NEED TO PULL THE SLIDER NEXT TO THE FILM WINDER WHILE DOING SO. This disengages the shutter interlock, so you can cock the shutter when there is no film in it. Cocking the shutter without film loaded will damage the mechanism unless you do this. The shutter has a lot more work to do than on a TLR, so the cocking mechanism is much more powerfull - it requires a bit of force, but not too much. You should now be able to see through the viewfinder. Fire the shutter - It's a bit loud until you get used to it, but again, it's an SLR. The viewfinder should now be light, but no image. If the camera goes through this cycle a couple of times, then the most vunerable parts of the mechanism are OK.

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