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Ensign Auto-range 220 Folding 120 roll film camera, c1939

Ensign Auto Range 220, an English made, strut braced, self erecting folding roll film camera for twelve frames 6 x 6cm, or apparently sixteen 4.5 x 6cm. There appears to be no correction for the user to judge the consequential cropping in the viewfinder. The dual format was supposedly affected by two hinged masks, however the LICM example does not have these fitted and possibly never did. It was quite modern for the time, with a satin chrome top housing that would become ubiquitous a decade later, a film counter (which can be reversed for different formats), body shutter release and double exposure prevention. Coupled rangefinder to radial focus lever, which moves the lens board. Unusually for a roll film camera, a frame counter is used to advance the next frame - the red window only serving to set the start point or confirm a film is fitted - or not. The frame counter disc can be pulled out and reversed to reveal a secondary scale for the dual format, however this particular camera shows no evidence of actually being dual format. Clear evidence of austere times as World War 2, made itself felt is visible on this camera. Construction is noticeably poorer than earlier cameras from the era, with the internal black paint best described as daubed by hand. The top housing is a poor fit which allows dust to get in easily. Houghtons presumably had a supply of the German made Compur shutters for a while, but production of this camera ceased in 1940. It resurfaced again with the home produced Epsilon shutter then the Prontor, the design finally dying out around 1949. The body was used as the basis for the contemporary Selfix 220. The radial focus lever is handy and effective, but spoilt by Houghtons inexplicable habit of placing the shutter release button on the left, although in this case it does help to keep fingers out of the picture - always a risk with radial lever focusing. This camera was rescued from a junk shop in 1995, condition was poor and it was rejuvenated as far as possible. Subsequently, in June 2007 the camera received a further deep clean to resolve light leaks and a sticky delayed release mechanism, the camera has seen extensive service and the evidence of this has been conserved.

Ensign Auto-range 220 Folding 120 roll film camera, c1939
Body No. K17623
Shutter, Compur, speeds T, B, 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 & 250th, with delayed release, serial No.3820045
Lens No140086, Ensar 75mm f/4.5
Condition, 6F

 

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