Vintage and Classic Cameras
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Ensign, Ful Vue camera, c1946

Ensign Ful Vue, a box camera, made from stamped and folded steel sheet. The first Ensign camera to bear the Ful Vue name dates from 1939 introducing the Ful Vue's principle selling point, 12 exposures on 120, instead of the common 8 of typical box cameras of the era. In this form the camera makes square images 6x6cm which means there is no need to orientate the camera for portraits or landscapes. Removed of this restriction the design made use of the space gained to fit the original and subsequent Ful Vue cameras with a large bright finder - the camera's defining characteristic. Post war, Ensign (now Barnet Ensign Ltd, following a merger) radically changed the design from a conventional looking box to this version. A folded steel strip is formed to provide the main shell, with a folded seam at the junction, Two pressed steel sides, one spot welded in place, whilst the other can be withdrawn to remove the entire folded and spot welded steel film transport mechanism, referred to by Ensign as the "cone". The reflex viewer housing is a die cast metal unit held in place by two slotted spring steel strips, easily removed to allow the viewfinder optics and reflex mirror to be cleaned. The optics themselves were held in place by steel strips screwed into the casting, a design decision that proved irksome enough to revisit in later models. Instead of glass, Ensign elected to use silver plated brass for the reflex mirror, cemented directly onto the shell. The simple shutter is mounted in a pressed steel casing screwed to the main shell. The entire body is finished in wrinkle paint. The design evolved into the Ful Vue II.

Ensign, Ful Vue camera, c1946

Shutter, T and I.
Lens, All distance Ensar 75mm f/8.
Condition, 6F

Please note that the 360 view is of the later version.

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Ful Vue stripped

Manual Cover

The1946 Ensign Ful Vue reduced to its sub-assemblies.

The cover for the camera's 16 page manual, very much of the era with heavily retouched black and white photographs. Unfortunately there is a bit of screen clash between the rescan and the original printing half tones, but it gives a good flavour. If you'd like to download a free copy, just click the image.

Vul Vue shutter The shutter mechanism is unique to the Ful Vue, rather than use a sector shutter, an original two bladed design was employed. The action of depressing the trigger tensions the first and second blades together, as the trigger reaches the bottom of its travel the first blade is released, itself triggering the second blade when it reaches the end of its own travel. It's quite elegant if a little over complicated.
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