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Ensign, Midget folding roll film camera, c1934

De Haviland Rapides

The first post restoration film that went into the Ensign Midget was a hastily assembled film using 35mm 50 ASA stock wound into a paper backing roll cut from a used 120 roll film and utilizing the numbers normally used for the the 4.5 x 6cm format. The camera returns the grand total of 6 pictures per roll.

The image is composed using either the miniscule waist level finder or the fold out fore frame and back sight. The waist level finder is too small to be of any real use, so the frame finder is the best option. Using 35mm film brings an added complication of guessing the image area not encroached by the sprocket holes, so the images you see here are cropped accordingly. The film used was cut from a 30 metre length of Efke 50 ASA stock, then over developed deliberately to give it more contrast and that period feel.

This image shows two De Havilland DH89 Rapide, biplane transports. The prototype DH89 also dates from 1934, so being a contemporary of the Midget. The rear most of this pair, serial TX310 wasn't built until 1946 though, whilst the foreground Rapide was built in 1943. They were photographed at Duxford in July 2016, where they continue revenue earning flights to this day. The whole roll was okay and the camera was still lightproof.

 

Whenever the chances arise, LICM cameras are despatched on trips. The Ensign Midget found itself at Sibirskaya Starina, 70km from Omsk, South West Siberia in Russia in August 2016. Only one roll of film was wound as I only have two spools the correct size. Despite being loaded and carted around for several weeks, the camera stayed light tight with no fogging at all. The camera is a little awkward to use, being hard to keep stable when tripping the self energizing shutter. At left is a traditional wooden house, the adornments mark this as being high status for its time.

Some of the houses are maintained in 'time warp' condition with the ladies, below, giving talks and display on traditional life in the years prior to the Communist era. The lighting for the right hand image dictated a 1 second exposure, this was hastily explained the lady and she very kindly obliged allowing this delightfully period image to be captured. Composition was awkward as the Midget had to be placed on a window ledge and the camera was steadied using the retractable leg made for this very purpose. I just got away with this shot, the sprocket holes from the 35mm film used are just out the top edge of the crop. Given the diminutive size of the Midget and tiny Ensar Anastigmat lens, I'm pretty pleased with the results.

 

wooden
Siberia girl Siberia Lady
Trafitional Omsk Lady

The last of our guides photographed outside 'her' house with two water pails. All these images were very hastily shot as we were on a tight schedule, so I am very pleased with the Midget. Given I only had six frames...each shot was a one off, and the camera delivered six out of six, although I am only publishing five here.

Old spinning wheel

The last shot at left is of a spinning wheel inside one of the houses, the lighting was rather reminiscent of the Dutch Master paintings, and the exposure was about two seconds. The Midget performed better than I expected, so I am signing off this entry with this enlargement.

 

 

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