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Art Deco Cameras

Ross Ensign Snapper


Ross Ensign Snapper
Ross Ensign Snapper
Manufacturer: Ross Ensign
Produced: 1953
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Folding Bed
Bellows Deployment:Self Erecting
Construction:Die Cast Metal
Film Type:620
Film Width:62mm
Image Size:2¼ x 3¼
No. of Images:8
Lens Type:Meniscus
Focus Type:Variable
Focal Length:105mm
Focal Range:2 metres/yards - inf.
Aperture Type :Multi Hole
Apertures :f/16(N) & f/22(B)
Shutter Type:leaf
Shutter Speeds:B, I*(1/30s)
Size Open (w x h x d):99 x 158 x 125 mm
Size Closed (w x h x d):158 x 99 x 37 mm
* Measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

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Noteworthy: Worth giving special attention


This camera has a cast metal body. It takes 8 (2¼ x 3¼ inch) exposures on 620 film. Most cameras have a grey body but other colours have been seen.

The camera is opened by pressing a button on the top of the camera and pulling the camera stand.

It uses front cell focussing varying from to 2 yards/metres to infinity with markings at 2,4 and infinity. The viewfinder is a simple Galilean tube. It is self-erecting using a chrome strut system.

The shutter mechanism is not coupled to the body. It has a self priming leaf shutter with a single speed of 1/30s. There is a switch to allow bulb action. A threaded hole is provided to attach a shutter release cable.

The aperture size can be changed by a small lever providing an aperture size of f/16 annotated with an 'N'(Normal) and an aperture size of f/22 anotated with a 'B'(Bright).

Flash synchronisation is provided with a PC socket on the lens plate. An accessory shoe is fitted to the top of the camera.

The red window on the back is provided with a cover that can be deployed using a knurled knob.

There is a tripod connector hole for portrait only.

How to Use

This camera takes 620 film which is still available from selected photographic outlets. Although the actual film is the same as 120 film, the spools are different. The 620 spools are slightly shorter and have a smaller diameter. Do not use 120 film in this camera because it may jam and snap. It is possible to cut down a spool of 120 film to fit or to re-spool some 120 film onto 620 spools in a darkroom or changing bag.

Shutter speed is 1/30s.

If you don't want to bother with an exposure meter, follow the guide shown. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

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

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

As the shutter speed is only 1/30s, it is advisable to try to hold the camera against a wall, another solid object or use a tripod. For quick snapshots, hold it firmly against your face.

Using ISO 100/125 film

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/22(B)+2 Stops
SunnyDistinctf/22(B)+1 Stops
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/22(B)Good
OvercastBarely visiblef/16(N)Good
Heavy OvercastNonef/16(N)-1 Stop
Open Shade
Nonef/16(N)-2 Stop
Not Acceptable