Ensign Speed Reflex c1929

Tomei Collection

This is a wonderful big heavy black leather covered box of a camera from Houghtons Ltd, London, with the ergonomics of a cinderblock for the professional or advanced amateur photographer.  According to McKeown, this model was made in 1929 and was called the Ensign Speed Film Reflex.  However, for a brief time it was sold by Houghton as the Focal Plane Roll Film Reflex as is the example shown here.  The Ensar f/4.5 100mm Anastigmat lens is marked as having been built by H.B.M. Ltd, the Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Company, which places production between 1926, when Houghtons merged with W. Butcher, and 1930, when the company became Ensign Ltd.  Other lenses were available usually from Aldis and Dallmeyer.

 This example has the cloth focal plane shutter with speeds from 1/25 to 1/500 sec.  The lens is focused by rack and pinion from a knob on the left side of the body.  It produced 6x9 cm images on 120 film.

The focusing screen could be viewed in a tall leather folding hood.  Although the camera was very high quality and very robust with excellent weather protection, it was not very successful and production did not go much past 1929.