Ensign Cadet

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The Cadet is a simple box camera for eight exposures 4x6.5 cm on 127 film (or Ensign E27 size), made by Houghton-Butcher from about 1924.[1] It was still listed in the 1930 catalogue,[2] but not in one from 1935. It has a meniscus achromat lens, and an 'I'-and-'T' shutter (the mode switched by pulling out the metal tab on the front right edge of the camera, and the release lever at the top of the camera). There is no aperture control. There is a wire frame finder, with only a front frame. Later cameras may be seen with two round-headed screws at the top left of the front board, for the mounting of a small brilliant finder with 'keyhole' slots (as in the lower picture here). This accessory is listed in the 1930 catalogue for an extra shilling on the price (the camera itself cost six shillings and sixpence). A portrait accessory lens and a canvas case were also offered. The catalogue suggests the camera is easy for a beginner to use, because the film is loaded direct into the camera body, not to a removable insert as with many Ensign and other box cameras.[2]

McKeown states that the camera was first made with the wire handle seen on the left in the picture, and that this was later replaced with the leather handle.[1] The black and 'antique' brown leatherette are the only colours the camera was made with.

A black version of the camera exists badged as the Caddy, as shown below. This seems to have the brilliant finder as standard, in the few examples seen.


  1. 1.0 1.1 McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). p396.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Various Ensign catalogues issued by themselves and retailers, as PDFs at Pacific Rim Camera. The Cadet is only listed in the 1930 catalogue.