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  #1  
Old 18th August 2013, 09:35 PM
JamesK JamesK is offline
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Default Ensign 320 help required

I've been given an old 1938 Ensign Selfix 320 for my Ensign collection fitted with the Ensar 105mm f4.5 lens.

While it needs some TLC, the bellows are fine and the shutter seems to work OK.

What I want to know is how do you focus it?

Although the front element of the lens rotates (and can be unscrewed completely) there are no distance marks on it, although there is a peg which is normally used to set the distance against.

Please see attached photograph.

Can anyone help, please?
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  #2  
Old 19th August 2013, 04:44 AM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is offline
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James, got me stumped, Ensigns are normally front cell focusing, at least the 3 Selfix's I have are, with the distances engraved in feet on the outside of the lens, and the lens certainly should not unscrew completely as when you take off the front element in a front cell focusing lens then you need to re colimate the lens, so something must be missing somewhere, Is there a stop on the lens as well as on the body ? I suppose it is possible that someone has mucked about with the lens and lost something, perhaps tried to replace the front elemrnt with a wrong element, apart from that I have no idea.
rICHARD
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  #3  
Old 19th August 2013, 08:57 AM
JamesK JamesK is offline
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I woke up this morning wondering if the focussing ring had just fallen off and I'd made myself look an idiot in asking the question in the first place.

However, if you look at the picture, there's only about 1/16" between the bezel of the lens and the "stop" peg at the left-hand side, which appears to be too narrow to engrave a scale on. (The ring with the focussing scale on my 1939 16-20 is about 1/8".)

Having said this, the ring on the camera has a rebate milled into it (see attached photo) suggesting it may accommodate grub screws.

I don't know if the bloke who gave me the camera would know anything about it, as it was from his late father's collection of photography gear, most of which he'd thrown away (!!!) before he knew of my interest in photography.
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  #4  
Old 19th August 2013, 12:04 PM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is offline
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James, I have just looked at my 16/20 although mine is from the 1950's, and there are 3 grub screws around the edge of the front element, which would allow,I think, the front element to pass the stop bar and be removed, the same on my 12/20 and 820, It looks, on the 12/20 and 820 as if the engraved focus scale could be removeable along with the lens stop, but without removing them I can't be certain, but it looks as if the focusing scale has been removed and lost, and if it has the same arrangement as I am seeing the lens stop is built into the focusing scale, which would allow you to remove the front element, which means that even if you manage to find and replace the scale and stop the lens will need re colimating to get the focusing right.
Richard
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  #5  
Old 19th August 2013, 12:27 PM
John King John King is offline
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Default Ensign Carbine

I have a Carbine No 3 from around the same era as yours. The receipt I have is dated 1936. The front lens element does not turn for focussing instead the whole lens panel moves back and forward on the guide rails to give focussing from Infinity to Portraits.

The 4 attachments are 1. The front of the camera. 2. The lens panel partially extended. 3. The red focussing scale on the base of the camera (The front folded down) and 4. The catch which holds the panel in place after you have chosen the focussing area you want.

The knurled knob shown in picture 1 is only to pull the Panel out on the guide rails. It has no other function

The red focussing scale is spring loaded and it is used to catch the blade behind the focussing panel in the slot at the distance you require and has to be depressed to either close the camera after a picture has taken or alter the focussing for a different range.

If you Google Ensign Cameras you should be able to find the website for Butkus who has an immense library of camera instructions. I didn't check for yours but I don't think it is on the main sight
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Last edited by John King; 19th August 2013 at 12:31 PM.
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  #6  
Old 19th August 2013, 02:55 PM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is offline
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I have just been looking on both the Butkess site and a few bothers I know in relation to Ensign, and the selfix range, which go from the late 20's to the 50's all used the front cell focusing, and should have a distance scale on the front lens, plus a lens stop, so the distance scale and lens stop must be missing from the camera, which is a shame,
Richard
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Old 19th August 2013, 04:59 PM
Lostlabours Lostlabours is offline
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Looks like the lens isn't the original, it should have a metali fininish according to the company's adverts as well as plenty of available images of the 320.

My guess is the cells have been changed.

Ian
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  #8  
Old 19th August 2013, 06:25 PM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is offline
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I think that possibly the lens is original, Ensign's were the only cameras to use the Ensar lens, it was either made in house or by Ross specialy for Ensign and was the standard lens for them, but remembering when I got hold of an old non working selfix a few years ago, which I took apart to try and repair, the metalic lens edge, with the distance scale, comes off after undoing three tiny grub screws around the edge, then the front element unscrews all the way, What I think may have happened is that someone, in attempting to repair the camera, undid the distance scale and lens stop, and either damaged them, or lost the grub screws and the focus scale was lost, If you could find a damaged camera with a focus scale then it is possible to replace it after collimating the lens, but that is a very long shot indeed.
Richard
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  #9  
Old 19th August 2013, 07:36 PM
Lostlabours Lostlabours is offline
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It is possible the plated bit with the distance scale is missing as you suggest it would be quite large though.

Who made the Ensar's is an enigma, I have one that's definitely made ny Ross as it's actually a pre-production Xpres f3.8 - a 107mm f3.8 Ensar.

I do see Ensign parts cameras every so often, in fact I've bought one and two lenses seperately, they can be cheap - I paid 5 for a body and later 5 for a lens, but damaged non functional ones are just a pound or two so good for parts.

Ian
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  #10  
Old 19th August 2013, 11:27 PM
JamesK JamesK is offline
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As ever, thanks to you all for your help and suggestions.

I think you're probably right in saying that the focussing scale is missing from this camera. I too wondered if it had a sliding focus arrangement similar to another folder I have, but it doesn't

Butkus just has is a general booklet on the Selfix range which just mentions that the front element turns to focus.

All the photographs of this camera I've seen have a chrome ring around the lens which mine doesn't have although, as I said, it must be narrow to fit between the lens and the peg.

What I intend to do is to use a piece of tracing paper as a viewing screen and find the various focus settings by trial and error, and then mark them on the ring.

I've just had to do a similar thing with an Ensign 16-20 where the "infinity" setting on the scale was actually at about 12 ft, so I loosened the focussing scale and, after checking it at various distances, re-tightened it in the correct position. (So that's why all my pictures were blurred......)

As I mainly use hyperfocal focussing with a small aperture on folders, if I calculate this distance for this for the smaller apertures and check / mark the ring accordingly I think this will get me by for now.

I will, of course, have to make sure I don't screw the lens right out!

Should I find another lens, or parts thereof for sale, I'd buy it.

Once again, many thanks for your help and suggestions and I will get around to posting some photos of my modest Ensign collection.
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