|Ensign, Pocket E20 camera, c1930|
The Ensign Pocket E20 is a simple camera made from pressed steel sheet covered in faux herring bone skin and fitted with a self energized single speed shutter. Since the end of the 1800s camera manufacturers increasingly attempted to produce cameras for the public that were as easy to use as possible, essentially point and shoot cameras that enabled the user to obtain pictures with little knowledge of the photographic process. The most common form of such cameras is the familiar box type but such cameras were bulky. A number of camera manufacturers produced folding cameras that folded to pocket size (pockets were bigger in 1930!) and this E20 is one of them. Apart from it's compact size there are no advantages over a standard box camera photographically, except that this version has a crude focus control whereby the lens barrel is pulled out of its housing to bring the focus nearer, but there is no focus scale. Shutter speeds were limited to "timed" and "instant" and the aperture was fixed at f/11 essentially limiting the camera to outdoor use on a bright day. This example was donated to the collection in January 2003.
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