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  #1  
Old 14th February 2014, 03:36 PM
Tony Marlow Tony Marlow is offline
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Default Ensign Selfix 420

I have acquired an Ensign Selfix 420 camera with a 105mm Ensar f4.5 lens and Epsilon shutter. It does need an overhaul and was wondering if the 9x6 negs would give any better quality than say the 6x6 negs I get from my Bronica. I am tempted by the larger negs. which will be as close I can get to large format without major investment. I will need a new set of condensers for my enlarger and a 105mm lens to get the best out of it which would cost about 200, is it worth it or I am just chasing the mythical golden bullet?

I would welcome anybodies' views or experience.

If I decide against the full 6x9 route I will probably just get it overhauled and use the 6x6 format.

Tony
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Old 14th February 2014, 04:17 PM
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Rob Archer Rob Archer is offline
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I doubt if the lens will be anything like as good as the Bronica but whether you'll notice the difference depends on how big you print. Older lenses will be less contrasty and have a real charm of their own. Give it a go and see if you like what you get!
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Old 14th February 2014, 04:55 PM
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As long as the camera is working as it was intended, ie no structural or film transport problems then the lens will surprise you I think. Stopped down and on a tripod it's as good as the bronica in its own way as Rob points out. I've an old 105mm enlarger lens you can have if you like. It has some separation around the edges but will be fine if you're testing the waters.
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Old 14th February 2014, 05:23 PM
Richard Gould Richard Gould is offline
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The Ensar lens is pretty good, I have a Ensign Commando with the Ensar lens and stopped down it can deliver surprisingly good results, Just remember it might be an uncoated lens, many if not all of the Ensars were, and need a lens hood to combat flare, and these older lenses have a charm of their own. Just one caution, with the Epsilon shutter never ever change from low to high speed, or vice versa, with the shutter cocked, I did that with my first Ensign, a few years ago and ruined the shutter, in fact it is better never to change shutter speeds with a cocked shutter, other than that give it a try, with care the 96 negatives can give near LF quality.I have a Ensign 820 and the quality I can get from the 6/9 negatives is stunning.
Richard
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Old 14th February 2014, 09:15 PM
Lostlabours Lostlabours is offline
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The Xpres is a better lens but stopped down to f11 of f16 there's probably little difference between the two.

In terms of overall quality your Bronica lens should be way ahead, an Xpres a bit behind at wider apertures and an Ensar another step back

I have a rather rare Ensar 107mm f3.8 (so rare no other appears to be known) it's obviously an uncoated prototype for the 105mm Xpres, focal lengths are nominal - give or take a couple of mm.

I have a 420 I picked up at a camera fair without a lens for 5, and a choice of the 107mm Ensar or another 105mm Xpres I can fit, however Epsilon shutters aren't completely standard and often have release arms to suit the camera model they are fitted to.

The best Ross Ensign lenses like the Xpres are equal to if not better than the German lenses of the same era, usually Tessars or Xenars, and that's certainly the case with my Xpres on my Microcord.

A comment for Tony, LF can be cheap. I gave away a 5x4 enlarger a few years ago, I gained a similar enlarger back from the recipient last Autumn. LF cameras can be cheap, my most recent was for parts and I swapped something not readily available in the US, and it's really only cost me postage.

What comes around goes around though and I've given equipment to a number of darkroom workshop setups in Ireland and the 3rd word (US)

Ian
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  #6  
Old 15th February 2014, 12:57 AM
Paulographic Paulographic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostlabours View Post
The Xpres is a better lens but stopped down to f11 of f16 there's probably little difference between the two.

In terms of overall quality your Bronica lens should be way ahead, an Xpres a bit behind at wider apertures and an Ensar another step back

I have a rather rare Ensar 107mm f3.8 (so rare no other appears to be known) it's obviously an uncoated prototype for the 105mm Xpres, focal lengths are nominal - give or take a couple of mm.

I have a 420 I picked up at a camera fair without a lens for 5, and a choice of the 107mm Ensar or another 105mm Xpres I can fit, however Epsilon shutters aren't completely standard and often have release arms to suit the camera model they are fitted to.

The best Ross Ensign lenses like the Xpres are equal to if not better than the German lenses of the same era, usually Tessars or Xenars, and that's certainly the case with my Xpres on my Microcord.

A comment for Tony, LF can be cheap. I gave away a 5x4 enlarger a few years ago, I gained a similar enlarger back from the recipient last Autumn. LF cameras can be cheap, my most recent was for parts and I swapped something not readily available in the US, and it's really only cost me postage.

What comes around goes around though and I've given equipment to a number of darkroom workshop setups in Ireland and the 3rd word (US)

Ian
Large format enlargers can be cheap, very or for nothing if you care to collect them yourself from offers on the ebay. I sold my De Vere 504 for a fraction of what I paid for it, with extras. The Ross Xpres lenses are excellent. I had a 1920s five and half inch in a American shutter, working only on "T" bought for 1 which was sharp and without flare but I would not pay money to have something of this vintage restored if you have more modern stuff to use such as the Bronica. Certainly not an Ensar, possibly an Xpres if you really want to use it.
I like old folding 120 cameras but have now learned after spending money on servicing that their age is not worth it if they are not already working Ok.
MPP users don't seem to have a high regard for Epsilon shutters.
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  #7  
Old 15th February 2014, 09:25 AM
Lostlabours Lostlabours is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulographic View Post
MPP users don't seem to have a high regard for Epsilon shutters.
I have a few Epsilon shutters and there's some variation between the earliest and the later versions particularly in terms of build quality. It appears they were constantly evolving.

Kodak (UK) used modified Epsilon shutters for a short period after WWII until Prontor were back in full proction, so the 203mm f7.7 Ektar is found in an Epsilon, Prontor SVS or late version Compur depending on when it was made. It's probable the Ektars were made by Ross a company Kodak (UK) had strong links with, they were the distributor for Ross lenses in Australia & New Zealand for a number of years.

Ian
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  #8  
Old 15th February 2014, 09:30 AM
Tony Marlow Tony Marlow is offline
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Thanks for all your advice, from what has been said it does not appear that the camera is worth spending a lot of money on with the intention of getting quality prints. I will see if I can use it on the 6x6 format and see what results I get.

I must say that all the information given here has been a great help, much more productive than what I achieved by searching the net.

Thanks again
Tony
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  #9  
Old 15th February 2014, 09:42 AM
Paulographic Paulographic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostlabours View Post
I have a few Epsilon shutters and there's some variation between the earliest and the later versions particularly in terms of build quality. It appears they were constantly evolving.

Kodak (UK) used modified Epsilon shutters for a short period after WWII until Prontor were back in full proction, so the 203mm f7.7 Ektar is found in an Epsilon, Prontor SVS or late version Compur depending on when it was made. It's probable the Ektars were made by Ross a company Kodak (UK) had strong links with, they were the distributor for Ross lenses in Australia & New Zealand for a number of years.

Ian
Kodak Ektars were made by several lens manufacturers. A little internet research just now tells me Ross also made under licence for Zeiss with whomethey worked closely until the outbreak of war in 1914 when the Zeiss binocular factory in London was put under Ross control. I have a pair of Ross binoculars from around this time and they are excellent.
If you have a bob or two spar for vintage Ross camera there's this little number on the bay.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Superb-Ens...-/310857573944
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  #10  
Old 15th February 2014, 11:08 AM
TonyMiller TonyMiller is offline
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I saw that the other day and couldn't quite believe the price. It may be worth that price to someone who's prepared to pay, but what warrants that kind of figure?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulographic View Post
Kodak Ektars were made by several lens manufacturers. A little internet research just now tells me Ross also made under licence for Zeiss with whomethey worked closely until the outbreak of war in 1914 when the Zeiss binocular factory in London was put under Ross control. I have a pair of Ross binoculars from around this time and they are excellent.
If you have a bob or two spar for vintage Ross camera there's this little number on the bay.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Superb-Ens...-/310857573944
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