This is a quick, though detailed, tutorial of how to fit your Kowa Bell & Howell inside the Rectilux 3FF-W. I’m following all the steps from the Owner’s Manual. Check my channel for more information about the Rectilux and anamorphic adapters in general!
- Look for a Rectilux on eBay
- Look for a Kowa B&H on eBay
- Watch the Rectilux 3FF-W Review
- Watch the Kowa B&H Review
- Download the Rectilux 3FF-W’s Owner’s Manual
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I’ll be following the instructions exactly as described in the Owner’s Manual. You can download it to check the instructions for all the lenses at my blog. It’s good to highlight that each lens has specific instructions in order to fit inside the Rectilux. Some are simpler, some have more steps than the Kowa B&H I’m showing here. According to the manual, the Kowa is the widest scope available, cool!
First step, set the Kowa to infinity and remove these three tiny screws. Then, turn the stop ring anti-clockwise to remove it. Store it safely along with the screws.
Second step, attach the Rectilux’s front coupling ring, the wrench slots – these little cuts here – facing the rear, to where the Kowa’s stop ring used to be. The manual warns me to wear a glove, since fresh machined threads can be sharp, but my hands are already pretty rough, besides, if there’s a blood splatter in this video, I’ll get tons of views as “idiot cuts his hand and bleeds over expensive optics”. Be careful not to cross the threads, like when it becomes super hard to keep the ring rotating, but you can see it’s not even halfway through, or filters that get stuck, that kind of thing. The tightness of this ring will affect the torque you’ll need to focus the Rectilux, adjust it as you want. I’ll go for a very smooth operation and stop as soon as it offers some resistance.
In order to have the best performance inside the Rectilux, I have to remove the distance scale on the Kowa. The manual tells me to remove these screws here and here, also saying that this doesn’t affect the lens’ working mechanism. It also hints me to copy the focus scale onto a piece of vinyl tape and permanent marker, where the Kowa name is. I’m cheap, as you should know by now, and have neither vinyl tape nor permanent markers. I’ll use regular tape and a ballpoint pen. Don’t judge me.
Completing these steps will get you a Rectilux Ready Kowa, or St. Kowa. Hell yeah. Moving on…
Now, on the Rectilux itself, check if the optics are properly secured. If not, fix it using a lens wrench, but don’t overtighten it. Then, fill ONE – only ONE, not two, not three – of these little holes here on the finger thingies. This will leave you with TWO empty holes around the ring, that’s just how it’s meant to be. One thing you might notice is the Rectilux doesn’t have focus marks. John proposed a “clampable” ring, if enough people are interested. I surely am!
Now, mount the focus guard. It’s pretty easy to figure out the correct M3 screws. Just insert them enough to hold the focus guard in place. There’s still some action to go down here.
The next step is to finally insert the Kowa inside. The outside 75mm threads will match the inner thread behind the front optics and that will be perfectly neat. Careful, again, not to cross the threads. It takes about ten full turns before the coupling rings are fully threaded. So, that’s working just fine. If it becomes stiff before that, you probably crossed threads. Remove and restart, never force it.
This is the hardest step in the whole process. I have to fit this ring around the Kowa, while matching the holes for the screws around the focus guard. Trust me, it can take about the same time it took me so far just to get this little part working. Phew, that was fun! Now the screws are holding the Kowa in place, preventing it from rotating inside the Rectilux and messing your alignment.
Finally, slap in the Rectigrip and use just one of the small M3 screws to secure it in place. You’ll be tempted to use two. Do not. It makes the grip weaker since it can rotate along the common axis shared by both screws. Be careful and always triple check if the grip is firm enough. The screw is tiny and it can fool you sometimes.
And that’s it! Now you just attach this to your taking lens, align it by loosening the screw in the Rectigrip, tighten it back and then go out to shoot, focusing on the Rectilux! Have fun! Subscribe for more anamorphic content and check my blog to read the full Anamorphic on a Budget guide! I’m out.