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Art Deco Cameras

Ensign Pocket E-20



Ensign Pocket E-20
Ensign Pocket E-20
Manufacturer: Houghton-Butcher
Produced: 1930
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Folding Bed
Bellows Deployment:Self Erecting
Film Type:120
Film Width:62mm
Image Size:2¼ x 3¼
No. of Images:8
Lens Type:Meniscus
Focal Length:100mm
Focus Type:Moving lens barrel
Focal Range:3¼ft - inf.
Aperture Type :Fixed
Apertures :f/13
Shutter Type:Everset leaf
Shutter Speeds:T, B, I*(1/90s)
Size Open (w x h x d):85 x 170 x 126 mm
Size Closed (w x h x d):85 x 170 x 23 mm
* Measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

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Acceptable: Modest and restricted


Ensign Pocket E-20 lens extension
Extendable lens barrel

The Ensign Pocket E-20 is a self-erecting folding camera. Shutter speeds are limited to "timed" and "instant" but on this camera the timed setting acts like bulb. The shutter speed measured on this camera was 1/90 sec. The camera has a meniscus lens and the aperture is fixed at about f/13. This camera has a crude focus control whereby the lens barrel is pulled out of its housing to bring the focus nearer for groups and portraits but there is no focus scale. It is made of metal with a the fine chevron patterned leatherette covering. The Ensign logo is embossed on the film door back.

Film advance is via a film advance knob and is indicated by a red window. It is not coupled to the shutter allowing double exposure. The shutter release button is mounted above the lens barrel. There is a neat little viewfinder on the lens housing that can swivel for portrait or landscape images.

How to Use

This camera takes 120 film which is widely available.

The aperture is fixed at f/13. The measured speed on this camera was 1/90s. As the shutter speed is only 1/90s, it is advisable to use a tripod to get clear shake free images. However, holding it against a wall or other solid object would work as well. For quick snapshots, hold it firmly against your body.

The table shows how this camera will perform using ISO 100/125 film. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Modern film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

The tables assume that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summers day (May-August) in the UK.

Remember that the exposure guide in the manual may not be helpful as it is based on the use of old film with a low ISO value.

Using ISO 100/125 film - shutter speed 1/90s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/13+1½ Stops
SunnyDistinctf/13+½ Stop
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/13-½ Stop
OvercastBarely visiblef/13-1½ Stop
Not Acceptable
Heavy OvercastNonef/13-2½ Stops
Not Acceptable
Open Shade
Nonef/13-3½ Stops
Not Acceptable