☰ Menu
Art Deco Cameras

Pouva Start - First Model


Pouva Start - First Model
Pouva Start - First Model
Manufacturer: Pouva
Produced: 1951
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Extending Helix
Film Type:120
Film Width:62mm
ImageSize:2¼ x 2¼
No. of Images:12
Lens Type:Duplar
Focus Type:Fixed
Focal Length:65mm
Focal Range:2.75m - inf.
Aperture Type:Multihole
Aperture:f/8, f/16
Shutter Type :Rotary
Shutter Speeds:T, I*(1/100 s)
Size Open (w x h x d):125 x 85 x 85 mm
Size Closed (w x h x d):125 x 85 x 55 mm
* Measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

star star
Acceptable: Modest and restricted


This Pouva Start is one of a series of cameras with the same name. Starting in 1951 this original Pouva Start has a sports finder but was replaced in 1955 with the reverse galilean viewfinder. Initially, the second version of the Pouva Start was all black but soon afterwards this white version was produced. Other versions of this camera were produced for various other camera makers under licence until 1972. It is estimated that 1.7 million Starts were sold. Here is a nice article (in German) showing all the versions of the Pouva Start - Pouva Start.

The camera is fairly simple. It takes 12 6cm x 6cm pictures on 120 roll film. On the top is the shutter release button with a catch for holding the shutter open. There is also a cable release socket. Also on the top is an optical flip-up sports viewfinder and the film advance wheel. There is a lever on the top for prizing the back off the camera. On the bottom is the tripod mount. On the back is the red exposure counting window. There are small lugs on the side for a strap but these have often snapped off.

On the lens barrel's front plate there is a switch for choosing the Instant (1/25s) 'MOMENT' or Bulb 'ZEIT' function. The aperture is changed by a switch which is annotated with 'TRÜB'(f/8) and 'SONNE' (f/16). The lens is a Duplar having two lenses, one in front and one behind the aperture.

The camera's most characteristic feature is that the lens is deployed by turning the barrel counter-clockwise by 360 degrees. The helical screw moves the lens outward into the working position. It is not possible to fire the shutter until the lens is completely deployed.

How to Use

This camera takes 120 film which easily available from most photographic outlets. Don't forget to cover the red window with black electrical tape except when advancing the film in low light. Modern film is sensitive to red light.

Shutter speeds is 1/100s. The aperture values available are f/8, f/16.

If you don't want to bother with an exposure meter, follow the guide shown. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

Remember that the exposure guide in the camera user manual may not be helpful as it is based on the use of old film with a low ISO value.

The tables assume that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summer's day (May-August) in the UK.

Because of the slow speed of this camera, you may need a tripod or hold the camera firmly against your face to stop blur through shake.

Using ISO 100/125 film - shutter speed 1/100s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/16+1 Stops
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/8+1 Stop
OvercastBarely visiblef/8Good
Heavy OvercastNonef/8-1 Stop
Open Shade
Nonef/8-2 Stops