1949 ENSIGN COMMANDO 6x6 / 6X4.5 coupled Rangefinder Camera, FRESHLY SERVICED!
Cleaned, Lubricated & Adjusted. Ready for immediate use!
This is a freshly serviced Ensign Commando rangefinder camera. The Commando was originally designed as a rugged camera for the British Army during WWII. It uses 120 rollfilmTo aid its versatility it functioned as either a 6x6 or 6x4.5 camera depending on your preferences or needs. In contrast to other cameras of this type, there is no reduction mask required to achieve this and this gave you the distinct advantage of having nothing to lose out in the field. Instead of a reduction mask, the camera has two internal “flaps”. The position of these flaps control the image size and are set prior to loading the film. The viewfinder has a sliding mask to accommodate these two different formats.
The Commando also has a built in coupled rangefinder that never leaves you guessing about the distance or the focus. It’s accurate and easy to use. Another additional design feature is its unique and advanced system of focusing. This is the legendary camera that moved the film back and forth inside the camera to achieve focus rather than moving the lens. It was designed this way to reduce the number of parts on the outside of the camera and to eliminate the possibility of dirt and dust jamming the focus. There’s only two other camera that I know of that achieves focus in this manner and that’s the much later Mamiya-6 and the top of the line Contax AX 35mm SLR, produced in the late 1990’s. Of course the Ensign Commando design beat Contax by about fifty years.
This camera has been carefully cleaned, lubricated and adjusted. The coupled rangefinder image is easy to see and works well. The Epsilon shutter works smoothly and all speeds (B & 1 sec - 1/300th) are appropriate. The slow speeds buzz along smoothly and the fast speeds are clean and snappy. The bellows are supple and light tight. The sharp 3.5/75mm Ensar lens is a four element lens nearly identical in design and performance to the Zeiss Tessar. The lens is clean and clear. There is no crystallization, separated elements or other problems. There are no scratches or polishing marks and it’s capable of producing lovely photos with modern color and b&w films.
It comes complete with a used original brown leather case.
In general, this is one of those unique cameras that you often see mentioned in books and articles about historic cameras but rarely ever see being used out in the real world. The reason? It was produced in war torn England between 1945 thru 1949 in relatively limited numbers. A second reason is that any survivors are nearly 70 years old and in dire need of servicing. So unlike other similar rangefinder cameras (such as a Super Ikonta or a Bessa) your odds of finding a clean, functioning Ensign Commando is pretty minimal.
All in all another enjoyable classic camera. Load it with your favorite film and keep it handy for that perfect shot you’ve been looking for. You know the one... the one with the perfect Ansel Adams light breaking through the dark storm clouds that leaves you wishing you had a medium format camera with you.