JB Ensign

The JB Ensign Box Camera

I’ve never owned or used a box camera before. To be honest I wouldn’t now unless I had gotten it free with another camera that I did want at the time, and this one sat at the bottom of a box. One of the great things I am finding about blogging is that it does make you get on with things that fall into the category of “one day I will…” and this is one of those!

The camera was made by Houghton-Butcher sometime around 1923 and there seems to have been about three different models that had a lens behind the shutter. That being the case this is just short of 100 years old. This model seems to have been given away by or maybe coupons collected from the John Bull Magazine of the time. Hence the JB in the name maybe?

Speedy Film

I love the idea of “Speedy Film”! It’s a simple affair as with all box cameras – it’s a box – holds a film, has a basic meniscus lens behind a shutter that has one speed. This one also has a “time” or B setting as we would now say. It has a wind on – that’s it! I loaded an old roll of FP4 I had lying around and not sure of it’s pedigree. Taped over the window and around the back door with black tape and set off on a walk around the neighbourhood.

Junior Box – maybe that’s the JB?

I had used a length of paper trimmed to 120 width to determine that I thought about 2 1/2 turns of the winder would be about correct to advance the 6×9 negative to clear ready for the next one – this as it turned out I was not so accurate with that and I got 6 (actually 5 1/2 ) out of the roll instead of 8. The results I got surprised me – much better than I expected!

The local!
The Neighbourhood
Out for a ride
A tree in the garden
The long view

All photo’s were on FP4 developed in Ilfosol 1+9, 4 1/2 minutes at 20c.

2 thoughts on “JB Ensign

    1. Hi Mike! Yes, after my slight disaster with the VPK I wasn’t hopeful, but then I was surprised by the results, especially the detail in the pub image. That said anything that produces a 6×9 negative ought to be reasonable!! Cheers – Andy


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