Pouva Start is a medium format film viewfinder like box camera made by Karl Pouva AG in Freital, near Dresden, Saxony, former East Germany, and produced beteween c.1952-73.

The Pouva Start 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 second model was offered also with yellow lens front, viewfinder and rewind knob and there are some cosmetic variations (also called model 3 and 4) . The first model has only a sports frame finder.


First model

Pouva first model.jpg
Pouva Start First model

Second model

Specifications of the Second Model

Pouva Start 03.jpg
Pouva Start 02.jpg
Pouva Start 05.jpg
Pouva Start 07.jpg
  • Film: 120 roll, picture size: 6x6cm
  • Lens: Duplar f/8, (2 elements in 2 groups), plastic, collapsable screw tube, no name on the lens
  • Aperture: cloudy f/8 and sunny f/16; setting: by a lever on front of the lens
  • Focusing: fixed focus
  • Shutter: simple spring rotary shutter, one speed 1/30 +B ; setting: by a lever on front of the lens, B and M (instant)
  • Cocking and Shutter release: by the same knob, press and release; on the top plate
  • Cable release socket: beside the shutter release, w/ safety lock lever
  • Viewfinder: reverse telescopic finder
  • Winding knob: on the top plate
  • Flash PC socket: none
  • Self-timer: none
  • Back cover: remowable, w/red window; opens by a lever beside the winding knob
  • Tripod socket: ¼"
  • Strap lugs : none
  • Body: Bakelite; Weight: 221g
  • Serial no. none
Community content is available under GFDL unless otherwise noted.