Yoshizen's Blog

Ensign Lens Portraits


At WW gathering in Greenwich, while testing Ensign’s Anastigmat

lens on Gordon’s 8mm cine camera, I did some portraits shots

of the people there.


100-year-old lens was stuck on a bellows, on Canon 5D Mk-III.

(150mm F7.7 lens, focusing on a bellows wasn’t very easy)

— still, the camera like this makes the people smile.


Mike and John


James, Gordon and Paul


Mike, Albert and Roman


The hands (what else ?) 

Those pictures were the clopped cemter image of the 3″x4″ of

the image size, the quality was good. (Just like most of the lens)

(But as the image of this lens was too ordinary, it has no point to

chose this lens while an ordinary lens gives full auto and F2.8. 

😀 )


Ensign !

Oh my goodness, after 43 years, Britten leave the bunch of Europe.

—– After 43 years mean, a year before I came here, Brit joined EC.

It was just after the oil shock and the time Britten was in a doldrums. 

(Before North-sea Oil boom)

Still, something amazed me of this country then was that as the law 

was changed, the gay couple became eligible to have a council housing

like a married couple. (otherwise, single man was almost impossible

to get it in the priority queue = single mother, disabled, married with

children —- has higher priority) (Though, I didn’t know whether it

was due to the European regulation or trend of the human right issue)


Ensign is a national flag on the (battle) ship, so it symbolize somewhat

patriotic though I’m not talking about the politics here —– but

an old camera called Ensign made by the Houghtons, England.

Ensign Anastigmat Lens 6" (?) F7.7

Ensign Anastigmat Lens 6″ (?) F7.7

( A fog on the photo above was caused by a fungi and no coated lens)

Yet this is just a mediocre old camera made around 1910s and the

lens was a common anastigmat lens.  Nothing special or remarkable.

(If the lens was giving visibly too distinctive image, no one would

buy such camera.   😀 )

My friend Gordon wanted to use this lens to shoot on his

8mm cine camera. (so, I was asked to modify it to C-mount fitting)


The camera got the same design of the then trendy (!) folding camera

of a quarter plate size (4″x3″ = its contact print would make a post card).

The photo above left showed yet another old camera of the same era,

which I have talked about before.

The name of the lens Anastigmat mean, Ana (non) Stigmat (optical

aberration showing  cross-shaped ghost image) and designed to

eliminate not only Stigmat but also the other aberrations as well.

 (only in the certain level — just able to produce good enough

image = like the photo on top)


Strangely this lens doesn’t say what focal length — still, the maximum

F-aperture seemed to be F7.7 and the diameter of the lens is about

19~20mm —> 20 x 7.7 = 150mm —– and the 150mm lens for 4″x3″ 

size will make about 45° angle of view = good for full length portrait shot

on 2m distance.


To dismount the lens (together with shutter unit) it needs to use

caliper like tool from the back of the lens. (Photo above right)


Lens (and shutter together) was stacked on front of the bellows,

and 150mm lens for 35mm camera is a good telephoto lens.

—– but mind you, here only the center of the lens

= best part was used.


So, the image quality is not too bad other than the foggy halation

caused by the fungi.   But, neither the pleasing softness was there

— just an ordinary image.


People might have a false dream toward the old lens which could

create an archaic nostalgic image though, most of them would

make just ordinary image  only with foggy halation, caused by the

non-coated surface reflection if not a fungi. 

Because the visible difference on the image was created by the

uncorrected aberration which has to be (more or less) corrected 

except the very old primitive design such as the Petzbarl lens of

the Dageleo type era.     And, even if the lens happen to have an

aberration, it’s not apparent on the cropped center of the image. 

In fact, the false impression of the nostalgic image was made by 

the low resolution of the old film / plate, it may not be replicated

on a modern DSLR.

(Old film’s latitude was much narrower = shadow details lost but

with the halation inside of film emulsion, edge of the dark part

was eaten and together with the halation on the lens surface

made the image looks rather soft = created the image like a copy

of an old cinema frame = this is the reality of nostalgic image.)


Graffities in Peckham

Peckham Graffiti-14-A09A8173

Those photos were a part of the test shot of the 100 year old lens. = Generally,

the lens works pretty well — considering to its fungi infested aged state.

(Under large magnification, we can see the halation is eating away each detail.

The halation around the bright spot must be caused by the scattered light on the

fungi.  And the images near the corner is much softer = the lens’ aberration.)  

But otherwise, this lens doesn’t seemed to be worse than those phone-cameras.

Peckham Graffiti-01-A09A8146

Peckham Graffiti-02-A09A8147

Peckham Graffiti-03-A09A8151

Peckham Graffiti-04-A09A8153

Peckham Graffiti-05-A09A8155

Peckham Graffiti-06-A09A8164

Peckham Graffiti-07-A09A8165

Peckham Graffiti-09-A09A8172

Peckham Graffiti-10-A09A8174

Peckham Graffiti-11-A09A8176

Peckham Graffiti-12-A09A8178

Peckham Graffiti-13-A09A8179

To enlarge the shiny metal part, the halation is quite visible.

But the question is, who notice it and who care such details ?

— Some professional photographers may need to have the image part enlarged

for an editorial reason though, otherwise most of the camera user is using their

photo smaller than a tablet size. = so, this 100 year old lens is good enough.  😀


Snapshot by 100 year old lens


The photos here are the first field test of the lens from 100 year old camera,

= Doppel Anastigmat of Steinheil Munchen —– so that they were just

the random snapshot in the Peckham, south-London downtown.


In certain extent, Peckham said to be a nice vibrant place though, when I walked around,

I’ve come across a Police cordon, notice to seek a witness for rape attack kind etc.

When local MP Harriet Harman (local though, she is living in the much nicer hillside

miles away   🙂 ) walked about the town with Police, she was wearing bullet-proof jacket

(hence created big public uproar).     The place was dubbed as “Little Lagos” as lots of

Nigerians were living here still, these days, I saw many Kosovars,  Vietnamese,  

and ever increasing Chinese. (used to have a lots of Afghans as well) 



With its ethnic mix, the vegie shop is selling from hottest Habanero Chilli

(Photo top), Plantain Banana, huge Yam to Bok Choy etc and the meat

 is Halal (for Mosrim). 









Since the lens got awful lots of fungi which I can’t clean as they are between 

the stacked lenses, the halation is inevitable, still it’s managed to capture 

some details in the shadow ! = rather amazing.



And even Peckham has Cherry too ! 


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