The Ensign Greyhound has been in my camera collection for almost 6 years, I was visiting a large antique centre north of Lincoln, England, and was instantly drawn to its grey metal body, and slightly different looks to the other folding cameras I own from the same era. The camera had to come home to Australia with me!
The Greyhound camera's exact heritage seems to have a slight mystery to it, as it isn't found in any general camera sales promotions from the early 1930s. There is conjecture that this camera was available via coupon books offered by tobacco companies instead of through main stream sales in stores. I came across a person who has been doing research into their history for a number of years, trying to piece together the details. It was an interesting read.
Testing the greyhound
Taking 120 film, the camera was an easy one to test during Melbourne's lockdown, I had some 120 Ilford Hp5 plus film in the fridge and the ability to develop it at home. The single shutter speed (along with a Bulb and Time option) and 'small', 'medium' and 'large' apertures made guessing the exposure a bit of fun. The camera continuing with its basic setup also only has two focus distance options ('near objects', and '9 feet and beyond').
The 400ISO Hp5 is pretty forgiving, and is my go to film for testing these older cameras, as it can help to account for the fact that shutter-speeds are likely to have slowed as the camera has got older, and gives me the ability to test in both sunlight and shadow, which ISO100 film would start to restrict.
All test photographs were taken during early winter on a sunny day. I used some tape to cover the red window, to ensure that no light-leak was caused by it, and just lifted the tape slightly each time I wound on the film to the next shot. I also checked the bellows with a torch before loading to make sure there weren't any pin-holes I couldn't see with the naked eye.
When I was in bright sunlight, I selected the 'small' aperture, which looked to be about f/16 or 22, and when I was in shadow I selected the 'large' aperture, which looked to be about f/8. There are ways to calculate these exactly, but I was reasonably confident in my estimates on these to just go ahead with this assumption.
Because of the lockdown restrictions, i couldn't venture far from home, so all of the test shots were taken in the streets near where I live.
Whilst on the final photographs the camera didn't show any light leak, and my exposures were pretty close to spot on, the focus/quality of the lens meant that all bar one photograph are either unusable or soft.
Using a camera with a small square viewfinder to compose for a shot that will be rectangular (6x9) in size is difficult, and I didn't manage to get this as spot on as I thought I had in each image.
This Ensign Greyhound is another camera that will continue to remain on the display shelf, having probably not had a roll of film through it in decades, it was good to see that it could still produce images, just sadly not of a suitable quality to warrant using the camera again.
About Madeline Bowser
I've been photographing with film for what seems like forever ... well since the late 90's. I shoot both film and digital, but film is where my heart is and I get the most ongoing enjoyment from and what I enjoy sharing and teaching to others. I also travel the world hunting down old cameras and unique locations to photograph in, and exhibit and sell my travel photographs.
When out shooting film, I often get asked the questions 'can you still buy film?', 'I thought film stopped being made 10 years ago' and 'why would you want to shoot film when you can shoot digital'.
My answers are, 'yes', 'no, it didn't', and 'I also shoot digital, both have their place in my mind'.
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