Ensign Auto-Range 220
It is not only the German camera manufacturers who went through mergers and amalgamations. The Brits had their own fair share. The company known as Ensign had its roots back in the 1830s, with Houghton, Butcher, Barnet, and Ross being the prominent names shared through the years. The street where they have begun, High Holborn St, is one of the only addresses I know in London, having gone there for a model railway store.
The cameras made by this dynasty evolved from brass and wood of the late 1800s to a variety of box cameras, to folders that were made till they closed doors in the 1950s. A few are sought after today, but most of that line carries no significant interest by collectors.
The Auto-Range 220 produces two formats, 6x6cm, and 4.5x6cm, by folding the wings at the sides. A red lens at the back, covered with a sliding curtain, shows the respective frame numbers.
Body design lacks fitness, with the rangefinder housing looking like an afterthought. A yellowish, fill-size image moves till it meets the stationary one. The focusing is by a lever at the front of the bed, A short travel but seems sufficient for 1938.
My pet peeve – it takes aiming with the left eye, as users with a pronounced nose (me) will find using the right eye inconvenient. To open the front, press a small button at the bottom. To close, hold the camera towards you and push both folding arms with your thumbs.
The Aperture and shutter speed settings are marked on top and front of the lens assembly, with the adjusting levers at both locations. It is a neat feature that allows setting change holding the camera either way. Speeds are T, B, and 1 to 150. Later models had a top speed of 250.
|Format||220. 6×6 and 4.5×6|
|Model||Auto Range 220|
|Weight||770 gr, Body with lens|
|Class average weight||750 gr, Body with lens|
|Lens mount||Fixed lens|
|Speeds||T, B, 1-150|