Ensign Roll Film Reflex

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The Ensign Roll Film Reflex is a range of SLR cameras made in the 1920s by Houghton for 2¼x3¼-inch (6x9 cm) pictures on 120 roll film. The same name refers to two models, of rather different levels of specification. These are both very poor cousins of the Ensign Reflex cameras made in larger sizes for plates; they have only a 'T' and 'I' shutter, rather than the focal-plane shutter which is the heart of the larger SLRs. There is another model, the Ensign Focal Plane Roll Film Reflex which has this.

Early Photography shows a vertically-oriented 2¼B Roll Film Reflex, with a fixed-focus meniscus-achromat lens and 'T' and 'I' shutter.[1] The lens is an f/8 for viewing, stopped down to f/11 by a fixed stop that moves into position as the shutter is released.[2] McKeown lists this simple camera under the name Ensign Roll Film Reflex.[3] The notes at Early Photography state that that the opening blade of the shutter is attached to the reflex viewing mirror (rather like the Exa or Pilot Six).[1] The cameras are wooden-bodied; they were available in either black leather or (supposedly) wood-grain patterned cloth finish.[2][3]

Early Photography also shows a horizontally-oriented camera, also with only a 'T' and 'I' shutter of the same type, but with a focusing, anastigmat lens.[4] There is a tropical model of this camera (the one shown at Early Photography is tropical), made from uncovered teak, with brass fittings. Another example of this has been seen at Westlicht.[5] The horizontal camera is interestingly arranged: the film winding key is in front of the folding hood, as is the focusing knob. The camera has tripod bushes on the bottom and side.[5] It was also sold by Butcher as their Reflex Carbine.

That these two rather different cameras were regarded by Houghtons as part of the same range is illustrated by an advertisement in the BJP Almanac for 1925,[6]


Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 2¼B Roll-Film Reflex at Early Photography.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2¼B Roll Film Reflex with 'wood grain' covering at David Purcell's Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment.
  3. 3.0 3.1 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)., p401.
  4. Ensign Roll Film Reflex, Tropical model with 4¼-inch Aldis f/6.3 Uno Anastigmat, at Early Photography.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Ensign Roll Film Reflex, Tropical model with 4-inch f/4.5 Dallmeyer Anastigmat, sold at the sixteenth Westlicht Photographica Auction, on 5 December 2009; the listing incorrectly describes the camera as having a focal-plane shutter. McKeown also states this of the tropical model; this is probably due to confusion with the Focal Plane Roll-Film Camera, which was at first named the Ensign Speed Film Reflex; the notes on the focal-plane camera at Early Photography suggest that confusion with the simpler camera was the reason for the change of name.
  6. Advertisement for the Ensign Roll Film Reflex cameras in the BJP Almanac 1925, offering both cameras, the horizontal model with an f/7.7 Taylor, Taylor & Hobson Luxor Anastigmat; reproduced at David Purcell's Antique & Vintage Photographic Equipment.

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