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Ensign, Ful Vue II 120 roll film camera, c1948?

Ensign Ful Vue II camera modified to produce - this, all the cuteness of the original post war Ful Vue with the additions of a screw focus lens, flash contact, blind behind the red window and tripod bush. The construction method is similar to the earlier model although there are subtle differences throughout. 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shell, with a folded seam at the junction, Two pressed steel sides, one spot welded in place, whilst the other can be withdrawn to remove the entire folded and spot welded steel film transport mechanism, referred to by Ensign as the "cone".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 film advert decal stuck to the "cone" is reproduced below. The reflex viewer housing is a re-designed die cast metal unit now held in place by a single slotted spring steel strip, easily removed to allow the viewfinder optics and reflex mirror to be cleaned, no screws being used, everything is held in place with one neatly arranged spring steel saddle, removing several manufacturing operations. Instead of glass, Ensign elected to use silver plated brass for the reflex mirror, cemented directly onto the shell. The exposure number window has the additional protection of a gravity blind that swings down to blank off the window, a knob allows the user to open it when winding on. The shutter was significantly simplified to a single blade making it easier to manufacture as well as being more reliable and was now mounted in a "Bakelite" casing screwed to the main shell. The entire body is finished in wrinkle paint and though the black ones are common, they were also made in red, white and blue versions to celebrate the 1953 coronation of Elizabeth II. It's a unique and instantly recognizable design. This design was replaced by the Ful Vue Super in 1954.

Be cautious if buying coloured examples, there's a small cottage industry re finishing black examples as red, blue or even green versions.

Ensign, Ful Vue camera, c1948

No body serial numbers.
Shutter, Over centre, self energizing type.
Lens, f=75mm.
Condition, 5F

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Ful Vue Film Advert
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Ful Vue II Shutter

Externally the Ful Vue II looks superficially the same to the 1946 Ful Vue, but almost every part was changed in some way. The shutter mechanism in the Ful Vue II is much simpler to manufacture and much more reliable. Externally you'd think not much had changed but only the position of the mounting holes is retained. This is a single bladed thwacker type. Don't quote that, it's my own rather disparaging identity for these types of shutter. The trigger is pushed upwards, tensioning the main spring (far left side) and the activating lever rides up and over a ramp, the lever is then released and the mainspring uncoils rapidly, thwacking the shutter blade out of the way briefly to make the exposure. The blade is returned by the spring at top centre. The coil spring at the bottom is there to return the trigger to the start position.

Vul Vue shutter For comparison, here's the original 1946 Ful Vue two bladed shutter mechanism. 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 and sometimes rather picky about working.
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