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2 1/4B film

Alex Einars , Feb 09, 2008; 07:25 a.m.

Hi, I just bought an old camera and found out that its a Pocket folding camera for 2 1/4B film. Synchro shutter with 3 appetures and T B & I. But the thing is I have no idea what a 2 1/4B film or really how to use it.. can somebody please help me


Peter Naylor , Feb 09, 2008; 08:17 a.m.

Hi, Alex Strange you should bring this up, because if you scroll down a bit to the "Box Ensign 2 1/2" post by Samantha Jones, you should find all you need to know amongst the responses.

You haven't said just what other details are on your old Pocket camera, but with a "Synchro" shutter I'd guess it would have been made by the Houghton-Butcher Manufacturing Co Ltd of London, right? This company went on to become better known as Ensign Ltd, FWIW.

You're in luck that of all the many formats of reel film ever made and long since gone out of production, the "2 1/4" format of yours, later to be called "EC20" by Ensign, and 120 by the rest of the world eventually, is still available. So if you want to see what your old beast can do, it's not as difficult as you might think.

Just bear in mind that the film speed of the "2 1/4" stuff available for your camera back in the 20s'30s was woefully slow compared to what'a available today. So, ask at your local pro photographic shop for the slowest stuff they have, set your camera at "I" shutter speed and "Large" aperture, and shoot in less than bright light. It'll most likely still be over-exposed but modern films have good latitude, so you'll get some nice pics. Keep some sticking plaster over the ruby window on the back door to prevent light ingress, and only remove it for as long as it takes to wind on to the next frame. (Pete In Perth)

Colin Carron , Feb 09, 2008; 08:29 a.m.

2 1/4 B is an Ensign film size that is equivalent to the Kodak 120 size. So if you buy a roll of 120 film it should fit. I think the B bit means it takes 8 shots on a 120 film 2 1/4 x 3 1/4.

Houghton/Ensign were one of the earliest camera makers starting in London in the 1830's. After merging with Butcher in the early 20th C the firm took the name Ensign which was originally the Houghton film trade name. The company grew to become the one of the biggest mass-market camera producers in the world with a huge factory in Walthamstow, East London. But they failed to change with the times in the 1950's and missed the switch to 35mm cameras.

Have fun and post the pics!

David Brainard , Feb 24, 2008; 04:51 a.m.

My guess is the 'I' is about a 1/25 and the three f-stops are 16, 11, 8. You probably won't have any problem using ISO 125 film. It would be interesting to see the job it does with colour.

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