|Houghton, Ensign Focal Plane roll film Reflex, 120 SLR camera, c1925|
Ensign Focal Plane Roll Film Reflex - subsequently called the Ensign Speed Reflex, this camera was added to the collection in 1996 to represent the beginnings of the Single Lens Reflex (SLR) revolution. Although not the first SLR it nicely illustrates the major features now commonplace. The ability to view the image as the film "sees" it, a self retracting mirror and a self capping* focal plane shutter, whose "speed" is controlled by varying the gap between two blinds - the smaller the gap, the shorter the exposure. This example when received was far from perfect, the mirror had totally degraded to the point that no reflection was available, the hood was missing and the focal plane shutter was a mess! Since then the camera has prospered significantly from internet connections. A new viewing hood was made using measurements supplied by S. Foster, new shutter blinds were made from material obtained from Micro Tools .com and the mirror was re-silvered generously by a company that makes reflector telescopes, but understandably don't want to be inundated with requests! These early SLRs allow the photographer to view an erect (ie. the right way up) image but the lack of a prism means that the view is mirrored.
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* Self Capping. After the exposure the gap between the two blinds closes completely, ensuring that the film is not exposed when the sutter is next cocked and the blinds are returned to the start point.
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