F. and S. Marriott 140 Newbegin, Hornsea, England, HU18 1PB

May 2010. Stephanie died peacefully on 19th April after a short stay in hospital. She had been suffering from acute cervical cancer. Fred will continue to run the business to the best of his ability. The web site is slowly getting under control again as he tries to take over some of Stephanie's responsibilities, and learns some of the mysteries of Dreamweaver.

Pieces An on-line look at cameras etc. by Stephanie Marriott

Ensign Ranger

Ensign Selfix 12/20 Model IV


Ensign Selfix 12-20 Special


February 2004 - Ensign Selfix cameras


At one time the Ensign company of Walthamstow claimed to be "the largest camera manufacturer in the British Empire." It has a long history of fine and innovative camera manufacture.

The Selfix cameras were a series of high-quality cameras manufactured after the Second World War which can be considered to be superior in finish, and at least equal in perfornance, to the finest similar equipment produced in Germany up to that time.

The brand-name "Selfix" was used in pre-war times for Ensign roll-film cameras, and some of these were reintorduced in 1945. The first post-war design appeared in 1949, and was designated the Ensign Selfix 8/20.

The Ensign Selfix 8/20 was described a contemporary catalogue as "probably the finest roll-film camera, designed successfully to beat all the German competition both in optical and mechanical performance". The camera body is die-cast metal covered in black morocco leather. A tripod bush is in the centre of the base plate. The camera has a 105 mm.f/3.8 Ross Xpres lens and an Epsilon 8 speed shutter. There is a standard cable-release socket but the flash sync socket is not standard and the special Ensign connectors are virtually unobtainable.The top of the camera body is finished in satin chrome. In the centre of the top plate is the folding Albada finder. The Selfix 8/20 takes either 8 or 12 exposures on 120 rollfilm. There are folding masks in the back of the camera to allow either format to be selected and the viewfinder has markings for both. In 1952 this camera cost £29 4s.

The Ensign Ranger uses the same camera body as the Selfix 8/20, but it is fitted with lower-cost lens (Ensar f/6.3) and shutter (Trikon three-speeds). There is no provision for taking 12 pictures on 1220; this camera willm only take 8 pictures on 120. In 1952 it cost £12 19s. 6d.

In 1953 the Ensign Ranger Special appeared. This is similar to the 8/20, with satin-chomed top-plate and provision for taking 8 and 12 exposures on 120 rollfilm. It has a Rosstar f/4.5 lens in an Epsilon four-speed shutter. In 1953 it cost £13 18s 3d.

The Ensign Selfix 820 Special is an 8/20 with a different top-plate assembly, which includes an uncoupled rangefnider and an optical viewfinder.The optical viewfinder has a sliding mask for the 6 cm. x 6 cm. format. There is an accessory shoe on the top of the rangefinder. The Epsilon shutter fitted to the 820 Special will usually have a standard 3 mm. co-axial connection for flash. The camera cost £26 10s. in 1953.

The Ensign Selfix 16/20 (later called the Model II) was probably the closest Ensign ever got to producung a "miniature" camera in the post-war period. It would be interesting to know why they didn't attempt a 35 mm. camera. The design of the 16/20 follows the principles of the 8/20, but the top pplate and the Albada viewfinder are combined in a "streamlined" shape. The Epsilon shutter is smaller and has a top speed of 1/300 sec. The lens is a Ross Xpres f/3.5 75 mm. The Selfix 16/20 gives 16 pictures on 120 film. The body release incorporates a blunt oin which presses into the user's finger if the film has not been advanced before attempting to take the picture. The Ensign Selfix 16/20 cost £27 19s. in 1952.

The Ensign Selfix 16/20 Model I is a cheaper version of the Selfix 16/20. The Epsilon shutter has no slow speeds and the lens is an Ensar f/4.5. The top plate is trimmed with leather and carries an optical viewfinder. There is no depth of field calculator or double-exposure prevention. It cost £17 14s. 10d. in 1952. (picture)

The Ensign Selfix 16-20 Model IV is based on the Model I. It has a Rosstar f/4.5 lens and an eight-speed Epsilon shutter. In 1953 it cost £16 8s.

The Ensign Selfix 12/20 takes 12 pictures on 120 film. The design is similar to the 16/20, and the 12/20 uses the same lens and shutter as the 16/20. The shutter release and the camera front release are two chromium plated tear-drop shaped at the front of the top plate. In 1952 the camera cost £28 3s. 4d. (picture)

The Ensign Selfix 12/20 Model I is a cheaper version of the 12/20. The Albada viewfinder is replaced by a plastic-moulded optical viewfinder and the lens is a Rosstar f/4.5 with a four-speed Epsilon shutter. The camera cost £17 11s. 2d in 1953.

The Ensign Selfix 12/20 Model IV is the same as the Model I, but with an eight speed shutter. In 1953 it cost £20 5s. 6d.

The Ensign Selfix 12-20 Special incorporated an uncoupled rangefinder and optical virewfinder. In 1955 it cost £28 9s. 9d.

There were also two Autorange cameras which were derived from the Selfix design and which included coupled rangefinders.

It appears that Ensign camera production ceased in about 1955. Remaining stocks of cameras were sold by Dixons at much-reduced prices.

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