Ensign Selfix 8-20

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The Ensign Selfix 8-20 was a folding camera sold by Ensign and was the first new design made by Ensign after WWII.

It was described in a contemporary catalogue as "probably the finest roll-film camera, designed successfully to beat all the German competition both in optical and mechanical performance". The camera body is die-cast metal covered in black morocco leather. A tripod bush is in the centre of the base plate.

The camera has a 105mm f/3.8 Ross Xpres lens and an Epsilon 8-speed shutter. There is a standard cable-release socket but the flash sync socket is not standard and the special Ensign connectors are virtually unobtainable nowadays.

The top of the camera body is finished in satin chrome. The Selfix 8-20 takes either eight 6x9cm or twelve 6x6cm exposures on 120 rollfilm. There are folding masks in the back of the camera to allow either format to be selected and the viewfinder has markings for both. That was a clever idea, since most cameras with optional masks for changing negative size were detachable and therefore became lost.

In 1952 this camera was priced at £29 4s.


Models

Ensign Selfix 8-20


The regular Selfix 8-20 is a viewfinder camera.

In the centre of the top plate is the folding Albada finder, with markings for both formats - 6x9 and 6x6. At each end there is a wheel; the left one is for film advance, the right one is a depth-of-field scale.


Ensign Selfix 8-20 Special


The Ensign Selfix 8-20 Special has a different top cover, designed to house a non-coupled rangefinder and a direct optical viewfinder.

The optical finder has a sliding mask to accomodate for composition of 6x9 or 6x6 pictures. There is also a cold shoe on top of the rangefinder, and the Epsilon shutter that the Selfix 8-20 usually has is flash synchronized with standard 3mm plug.

This camera was sold for £26 10s in 1953.


Ensign Selfix 8-20 AutoRange

The Ensign Selfix 8-20 AutoRange was the high-end model, made only during three years, between 1955 and 1958. Today, the camera commands high prices in the secondhand market.

It had a coupled rangefinder, and film plane focussing system. The lens was a Ross Xpress 105mm f/3.8 colour-corrected[1] on a 8-speed Epsilon shutter.


Notes

  1. This is identified by three colored dots (red, green and blue) engraved on the front element inner rim, together with the lens name and specifications.