Pouva Start

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The Pouva Start is a simple Bakelite camera for square pictures on 120 film, with a screw-out lens and shutter unit. It was a great success for Karl Pouva's little camera factory in Freital near Dresden. With a moderate price of only 16.50 Deutsche Mark (east) it was affordable for the young people. Thus it became a typical beginner's camera in East Germany. Estimated 1.7 million Start were sold. The first model of 1951 (or 1952?) had just a sports finder, its other features were like those of contemporary smart Bakelite cameras: two apertures, modes time and instant (1/30 sec.), screw tube and simple lens (Duplar 1:8, 2 elements in 2 groups). It was licensed by Hungarian and Polish camera makers.

The second Pouva Start version of 1956 was a little smarter, with optical finder and weather symbols for the apertures. The West German Hama distributed a similar bakelite camera, made by Apparatebau und Kamerafabrik in Monheim. This copy, the Hamaphot P56L, had an Original-Tricomat-6.5cm lens, a flash synchronized shutter, and a flash shoe. The Start was also copied by a Brazilian company as the Orwolette (in fact, Novacon states that Indústria Brasileira Fotográfica bought Pouva's moulds).[1]


  1. Influências no estrangeiro ('Foreign Influence') (2) Alemanha (Germany), part 6 (of 6), at Novacon (text in Portuguese).