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  1. #1

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    Ensign Selfix 820

    I have one of these cracking 6x9 folders being delivered while I'm off on holiday. Its got the Ross xpress lens. While I'm off I will have an opportunity to get hold of a few contrast filters for it, and maybe a lens hood. Upshot is no one knows the filter size/type. I'd love to get using the camera as soon as we return. I bet some one on APUG knows what the filter size is! - please.

  2. #2
    medform-norm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richard littlewood
    I have one of these cracking 6x9 folders being delivered while I'm off on holiday. Its got the Ross xpress lens. While I'm off I will have an opportunity to get hold of a few contrast filters for it, and maybe a lens hood. Upshot is no one knows the filter size/type. I'd love to get using the camera as soon as we return. I bet some one on APUG knows what the filter size is! - please.
    Hey Richard,

    congratulations on what it said to be a nice folder. We own several Ross Xpres lenses ourselves and are very happy with most of them (we disagree on one between ourselves)
    As to your question: either you shun photo.net or you're not looking very hard. A simple Google came up with this right away from a photo.net post:

    "the ross lens is surprisingly good AND you can use the voigtlander skopar/heliar 105mm f3.5 shades on the ross (or any other 40.5 shade you have around the house. properly shaded, the optic IS very sharp AND the it has a beautiful tonal range."

    I hope we can trust the man who said this (he confesses to have one and use it), coz I don't know for sure. David A. G. might know.

    Cheers, norm

  3. #3

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    Measure the gate. My Selfix 820's is quite a bit shorter than the 82 mm I expected.

    I'm not overjoyed with mine. Not that much smaller or lighter than a Century Graphic, and my Century with uncoated (!) 101/4.5 Ektar takes larger and better pictures. But then I've never had more-or-less pocketable folder than I liked except a couple of Retina IIs.

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    medform-norm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm
    Measure the gate. My Selfix 820's is quite a bit shorter than the 82 mm I expected.
    Dan, he can't measure the gate, as the camera arrives after he's already left for vacation. Richard would like to know in advance so he can shop while away!

    Besides, what do you mean by saying the gate (??) is 82mm - is that the length size of the negative you get out of an 820? Sorry if I didn't grasp that. I passed my TOEFL, but tech jargon wasn't part of the exam.

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    Norm, I'm a native speaker of English and I'm not sure I could pass TOEFL. Gate refers to open area in the back of the camera over which the film passes. It isn't used much in still photography, is used much more in cinematography. For example, "amateur cinematographers sometimes produce footage in which no or careless cleaning causes the dread hair in gate effect."

    Anyway, if I remember correctly my Selfix 820 with 105/3.8 Ross Xpres in Epsilon produces negatives that are 57 mm x 78 mm. That is the size of the gate. Quite short for nominal 6x9.

    About the camera's quality. I was very happy after I acquired mine, until I mentioned I'd got one to Roger Hicks. He was politely scathing about Ensigns in general and tessar type lenses in particular. As I insist on telling people who, on the whole, would rather not know, mine isn't that good a picture taker. Other Selfix 820s may be better.

    What Richard needs to know is the type (slip-on, screw in) and size of filters and lens hood to look for. If no one has replied by this evening I'll dig mine out, look and, if necessary, measure.

    Cheers,

  6. #6
    medform-norm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm
    Norm, I'm a native speaker of English and I'm not sure I could pass TOEFL. Gate refers to open area in the back of the camera over which the film passes. It isn't used much in still photography, is used much more in cinematography. For example, "amateur cinematographers sometimes produce footage in which no or careless cleaning causes the dread hair in gate effect."

    Anyway, if I remember correctly my Selfix 820 with 105/3.8 Ross Xpres in Epsilon produces negatives that are 57 mm x 78 mm. That is the size of the gate. Quite short for nominal 6x9.
    Dan, thanks for the compliment. Maybe two years of US college wasn't completely waisted on me. Although I do remember having a hard time with common household words like wall sockets, prongs and ironing boards. Good to hear my educated guess wasn't too bad.

    I agree, 78 mm is pretty short for a 6x9. Maybe that is why Bessa II enjoys such popularity - it gives one of the biggest negs within that range (and without film flatness issues). Hence, screwing a Ross on a Bessa with a waisted lens sounds like a brilliant idea, provided it's technically possible.

    Yes, it will be interesting to see if the photo.net poster was right about the size being 40.5. For if it is, it's definitely not the same size as the Heliar on Bessa. I just did a quick measurement and that filter size looks closer to 38mm! So, something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

    Would you have to dig very deep to find your 820?

  7. #7
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    Nothing related to the gate, however, has anything to do with the filter size -- though that question seems to have been answered, in that it uses the 40.5 (push on?) filters that fit the same spec Heliar.

    Richard, even if the gate is short (more like 6x8 than 6x9), you'll probably like the Selfix 820 -- there are no bad Ross Express lenses.
    Photography has always fascinated me -- as a child, simply for the magic of capturing an image onto glossy paper with a little box, but as an adult because of the unique juxtaposition of science and art -- the physics of optics, the mechanics of the camera, the chemistry of film and developer, alongside the art in seeing, composing, exposing, processing and printing.

  8. #8

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    Thanks for all the input, although I would really like someone to say yes its a screw fit and yes its 40.5!. What got me thinking in the first place was I couldn't make out from any pic I've seen of this camera and lens if it actually had any threads on the lens front at all. Dan if you wouldn't mind having a look at yours, I'd be dead grateful.

  9. #9

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    Norm, I'm going to have to adjust my memory.

    I took wretched thing out of its closet and measured. The front element of the lens is not threaded internally for screw-in filters. Its outer diameter, taken with a dial calipers, is 42.00 mm.

    Since I had it out, I checked the size of the gate again. I was wrong. Repeated measurements got 55.35 x 80.55. A little low, a little short, but not as short as I remembered. I also measured a couple of transparencies shot with it. Around 80. Rats! I hate it when I'm mistaken and think I'm not.

    Donald, you're right, there are no bad Ross Express lenses. But that's because there are no Ross Express lenses.

    I can't evaluate the one tessar type Ross Xpres I have independently of the body it is attached to; subject to that caveat it is not up to an ok 101/4.5 Ektar. I have evaluated a 5"/4 Wide Angle Xpres, the military one with the big front element, and mine is awful. Flary, as expected, and not very sharp.

    Blanket blessings/condemnations of untested old lenses are dangerous. Each one is, after all those years of use and abuse, unique. The only way to find out whether this here lens is ok is to ask it.

    Cheers,

  10. #10
    medform-norm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm

    Donald, you're right, there are no bad Ross Express lenses. But that's because there are no Ross Express lenses.

    Cheers,
    Funny you mention this typo. A few days ago we came across this post on photo.net (yes, again, I know) in which someone called Walden made a fine distinction between Xpres and Xpress lenses - but this is the only mention we've ever come across on the web:

    Chauncey L. Walden , aug 16, 2001; 05:19 p.m.
    My 9th edition (1951) of Optics The Technique of Definition by Arthur Cox says: "Another modification of the triplet construction is the Ross Xpres lens in which the compounding of the back crown is carried a stage further with the aim of obtaining among other things a still better correction of zonal spherical aberration." The Xpress seems to be a longer, slower version of the Xpres, covering 50 degrees instead of 45 . The diagram shows what would otherwise be a Tessar except that the cemented rear doublet is instead a triplet, hence 5 elements in 3 groups. Cox apparently considers the Tessar to be derived from the Cooke Triplet, however, Rudolph Kingslake in A History of the Photographic Lens (1989)says: "It is certain that the Tessar was not a modified Triplet, as the series of steps followedby Rudolph in going from the Anastigmat to the Tessar are well established, but for some of the later designs it is not always clear whether they should be regarded as modified Tessars or modified Triplets." About the Xpres: "The Tessar was such an excellent design that other workers would have liked to copy it but were prevented from doing so by patent limitations. The simplest way out was to use a cemented triplet in the rear instead of a doublet. Several designs of this type appeared in 1913, including the Ross Xpres by J. Stuart and J. W. Hasselkus..."

    Hmm, don't we love murky lens history posts?

    Just as much as we love posts like these, in which now three different filter threads have been mentioned, leaving poor Richard to decide which one of these measurements he's going to trust (I would trust yours, Dan). And thank you for yet another beautiful word: "dial calipers".

    Cheers, Norm

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