|Ensign, Midget folding roll film camera, c1934|
Ensign Midget Type 55, a diminutive English strut braced folding camera, The camera was originally designed way back in 1917, but didn't make it into production until 1934. Despite the size of this camera the negatives the Midget takes are considerably bigger than a 35mm camera. The Ensign Midget was available in three models, the 22, 33 and 55, originally these numbers referred to the cost of the camera in shillings. Based on the same body, they varied in shutter, lenses fitted and the type of film pressure plate used, with the model 22 being the most basic fixed focus model. The construction is mixed with pressed steel shells for the body, brass sheet lensboard and folded brass sheet shutter case. Most of the remaining parts are pressed brass. The bright parts are chrome plated, except the front name plate which is nickel plate with paint infills. The shells and lensboard were finished in wrinkle paint. During 1935 the 33 and 55 were available in silver paint to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of the Monarch of Great Britain. Quite a lot of these silver models show up on internet auctions sites, but I am suspicious that at least some of these are black versions given a blow over with silver paint. Production of all models ceased in 1940 due to the Second World War. The Midget range was very popular in its day, the small size made it desirable and the results that could be obtained belied the size. Ensign didn't continue with the Midget post war, preferring to concentrate on the 120 format, a mistake that accelerated the company's demise as they were swept away by the 35mm revolution.
This example was donated by my sister in 1984. It was quite tatty, with large areas of the wrinkle finish paint missing and holed bellows. In view of its poor condition, it was finally rebuilt in June 2016, using a donor camera to supply the spares needed to tidy it up. Some 32 years after arriving in the collection, it finally produced it's first photographs in our ownership. The donor camera was itself subsequently sold and went to Spain.
Shutter, Built in, speeds T, B, 1, 25, 50 & 100th
Lens, Ensar f/6.3
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