Tag Archives: Ensign Ful-Vue

Ensign Ful-Vue Super – the results are in!

I wrote about the Ensign Ful-Vue before. In short: saw it, loved it, used it, was totally underwhelmed by the results.

Then Jem surprised me with an Ensign Ful-Vue Super; a slimmer, smaller, more streamlined version with a twisting focusing lens and viewfinder cover. Whilst I appreciated its obvious beauty, I’d been seduced and disappointed by its predecessor, so I approached this one with a little more reticence. I filed down a 120 roll of Kodak Ektar to fit, as it takes 620 film, loaded it up and off we went.

The only real problem I encountered is that the take-up spool began slipping before I was halfway through the film. By exposure 10 neither gentle persuasion nor brute force was going to budge it. Since it was loaded with Ektar and we haven’t got as far as home-developing colour film yet, we were taking it to the shop for a develop only, and I was tasked with removing it from the camera and putting it in a light-tight case inside a dark-bag at the shop counter. This, I discovered, was a very different experience from the privacy of my own kitchen table! Thankfully, it went without a hitch, and when we examined the camera afterwards, it was quite obvious that the pins that turn the take-up spool have bent upwards and are no longer gripping effectively. Jem assures me this won’t take much to fix. :)

So home we went to scan our films and I was incredibly happy with the results.

This is the portrait I attempted, bright sun outside, in our bedroom window, my eldest son. The tones, colours and sharpness were a real surprise. I should add that I don’t believe it has a light-leak, in spite of the fact that this exposure appears to have one. Rather, I believe I left the counter window open in bright sunlight, which has flooded this shot somewhat. Oops! You live and learn, eh? ;)

Ensign Full-Vue Super, Kodak Ektar film

And here is an example of how well it works in a sun-flooded room:

Ensign Ful-Vue Super, Kodak Ektar. A sunny June Saturday.

It also has a lovely quality when photographing buildings:

Recommissioned church in Norwich. Ensign Ful-Vue Super on Kodak Ektar

You can find these and some other shots from the roll here.

Ensign Ful-Vue – or – don’t judge a camera by its looks…

I’ve come to a realisation lately. I have been seduced, endlessly, by the beauty of old cameras, but the truth is a universal one:

Don’t judge a camera by its looks. :)

I have been disappointed by two notably: The Kodak Brownie Reflex 20 and the Ensign Ful-Vue. The fact is that they have utterly stunning viewfinders but the end results – the shots themselves – are totally underwhelming. If a photograph looked like its image in the viewfinder, if the judging of the camera were that simple, wouldn’t we all be incredible photographers!

The Ensign Ful-Vue has possibly the most beautiful viewfinder I’ve yet seen. I was wildly optimistic when I took it for its test run, and I restored it lovingly before I had seen the results, the best of which I am posting here.

Village View

 

St Giles Church, Norwich

Clouds

Rural Norfolk

Conversely, the Halina Paulette, which looks a little like a toy camera and has an innocuous and unconvincing shutter sound, not to mention the most pathetic little viewfinder which has no bearing on the lens either (manual focus according to distance from subject), can produce some stunning results.

So… the moral of the story?

Well, actually, there isn’t one! The Lomo Lubitel2 has a beautiful viewfinder and produces gorgeous results, so… at best the moral is: don’t be attached to the results – just suck it and see. :)

Ensign Ful-Vue

Last week, whilst trawling our local antique (and junk) shops, Jem came across this funky little camera, which he promptly bought for a fiver (“Well… it would have been rude not to!”) and which I promptly fell in love with. My instant love-affair with it meant he gifted it straight to me. :-)

Yesterday I loaded it up with expired Ilford XP2 film, which is our usual M.O. if we aren’t yet sure if a camera works properly or not, and off we went to try out our very old cameras: Jem was using his Box Brownie for the first time.

This little gem was made between 1946 and 1949. It is a TLR with a beautiful big Brilliant-style reflex viewfinder on the top. It is a unique thing – pretty avant-garde for its time – as it was the first ‘streamlined’ box-style camera of its type. It has a fixed shutter of 1/30th of a second and a fixed aperture of f11. Rather charmingly, if you pull the tiny lens out a little way, you can take close-ups of 3-9 feet, and push it back in for 9 feet or more.

My first hurdle, upon taking it out of my bag for the first shot, was discovering that the mirror has come loose and was rattling around inside the viewfinder compartment. Nothing I can do about that until I’ve finished the roll, so for now I have to give it a gentle shake to reposition it and take my shots *very* carefully…. Of course I can’t be entirely sure it’s back in perfect position either, so there may be some funny angles resulting from this experiment!

I’m halfway through the roll, and hope to have it finished, developed and the results posted up here some time next week.

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