Ensign-Selfix 20 question

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by dana_summers, Jan 15, 2006.

  1. My father gave me an Ensign-Selfix 20 #H19268 (on plate under
    shutter) with a "Mulchro" shutter. It is in working condition.

    I did research on the Net and everything I find says it was
    manufactured in the 1950's. Any pictures, however, show a different

    My father, however, is sure he bought it in England while serving in
    WW II and before D-Day - he has pictures he took in Paris and

    Do you have any info on this camera or can you steer me to a site
    that might have?

    I really appreciate it

    Mr. Dana Summers
    Portland, ON
  2. Hi Dana,
    Your father will be proud of you as long as you don't sell it ;)
    It's a lovely British camera - manufactured in Clapham, London for the better half of century ravaged by war. However I'm afraid I don't know anything about a 'Mulchro' shutter. At first sight, it looks like a spelling mistake. The 'Synchro' shutter or Compur were more standard, and the Epsilon in particular. However the Epsilon shutter was reportedly unreliable over decades and your father's camera may have indeed been modified with a different shutter.
    I posted on this camera some time ago - I've dug out some interesting links in case you're interested:
    Here are some links:
    Ensign Houghton This may steer you to the particular model you have.

    You might check out the MPP Microcord cameras - also British - which also used Ross Xpres lenses.
    Kind regards,
  3. The Selfix series were nicely made cameras from Ensign in the UK in the 1950's. I was not aware they were made during or before the war. However the shutter is interesting. The usual shutter for this sort of camera post-war was the Epsilon but the pre-war shutters used in other Ensign cameras were the Trichro (three speed shutter) and the Mulchro (more than three speeds!) So maybe this was an early version using a pre-war shutter.
  4. Colin, IIRC, the Selfix and Autorange trade names were used in the '30s.

    The original poster stated quite clearly that his father bought the camera in the early '40s. That fits with a Mulchro.


  5. Dan, yes, clearly the camera was bought during the war. I found the use of the pre-war Mulchro shutter interesting as I had always thought the Selfix design was post-war. It seems likely that this example is indeed a pre-war model.
  6. Hi, Dana Nice to hear from somebody who appreciates an old camera that's seen a bit of time overseas, in the hands of somebody in uniform! I was starting to think I was getting into "Colonel Blimp' territory with some of my earlier posts ....

    OK, now the problem with Ensign Selfix-20 dating is that the usual reliable source (McKeown's) has been a bit like the Curate's Egg - ie, good only in parts. This has been rectified in the latest Edition of the McK's Bible (ie the 12th Edition), thanks to Jim McK spending a lot of time and effort in the company of Adrian Richmond, who is unquestionably the World's No 1 Expert on All Things Ensignian. So, the latest McK's is now a reliable source regarding Ensigns, but previous editions aren't. OK, so nobody's perfect!

    Your Ensign Selfix-20 is a later version of a camera made from 1933 onwards until WW2 started. The give-away is the Mulchro shutter, which some delving in my 1930s BJPA Almanacs suggests was introduced around 1937, fitted along with an f4.5 Ensar Anastigmat lens. Ensign made many variations of this camera, as did a lot of high-volume manufacturers in those pre-war days, to allow for customers' wallet sizes.

    I'm emailing you a scan of two pages from that 1937 BJPA Almanac's Ensign Adverts, showing the various Selfix-20 models, which I hope is of some help. By the way, Adrian Richmond would like to hear from you with the details of your dad's camera, to add to his database. One of the previous postees has already supplied the link to his website. ~~~PN~~~
  7. Thanks ever so much for the feedback. You're right about the "anastigmat" lens.

    I'm going to take digital pics of the camera today and email them.

    What film does this take?

  8. Here are some pictures taken this morning.
  9. Here's picture of whole camera. For larger images, email me at dana.summers@sympatico.ca
  10. Hi, Dana Thanks for the nice pix, mate. Well, it definately seems that your dad got himself an Ensign Selfix-20 with f4.5 Ensar Anastigmat 3-element lens and Mulchro shutter, while he was over there in England during WW2. As you saw from the scans of the 1937 BJPA Almanac that I sent you, there were all sorts of combinations available for the Selfix-20. Your dad's camera is one of the best ones, whereas mine is the base model f7.7 cooking version with unnamed 4-speed shutter. However, mine came with the original box and warranty tag!

    The film size used in these Selfix-20s is 120, which is still available today. Back in those days, Ensign sold their own film and called it "20" size, just to confuse everybody. Mind you, they weren't the only company doing that - just about all of them tried to convince the punters that only THEIR film would fit a particular camera. After WW2, things eventually got a lot more logical and the term "120" got adopted by all the film makers.

    Dana, good luck with your dad's old camera. I'm sure it will be capable of taking some excellent pix once you've checked that the bellows are light-tight and that the shutter is firing OK. It would be worth investing in a reel of 120 film just for the sheer hell of it, although you'll either have to have it developed professionally or find yourself an enthusiastic pal with a darkroom. Unfortunately, today's 1-hour K-Mart volume film labs haven't a clue about 120 reel film. ~~PN~~
  11. I have a postwar -- late 50's early 60's Selfix. I think it is a 620. I actually put a couple of 120 rolls through it. I just need to find a couple of 620 spools for it. Takes great shots, even after I fell down on a rainy day in Yorkshire whilst focusing it... Dented the lens ring but seems to be sharp anyway... As if rainy days in Yorkshire are noteworthy...


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