F. and S. Marriott 140 Newbegin, Hornsea, England, HU18 1PB

May 2010. Stephanie died peacefully on 19th April after a short stay in hospital. She had been suffering from acute cervical cancer. Fred will continue to run the business to the best of his ability. The web site is slowly getting under control again as he tries to take over some of Stephanie's responsibilities, and learns some of the mysteries of Dreamweaver.

Pieces An on-line look at cameras etc. by Stephanie Marriott


Ilford Advocate

Ensign Multex

Agilux Agimatic and Agima

Kershaw Curlew and Peregrine cameras

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March 2000

As we are a UK-based business, I decided it is time I took a quick look at some British cameras.

One of my favourites is the Ilford Advocate, which has a distinctive ivory (now nearly always faded to cream) enamelled finish on a diecast aluminium silicon alloy body. The first Advocate was introduced in 1950. It is a 35 mm. camera with a Dallmeyer f/4.5 35 mm. lens - an unusually wide angle - and a four speed shutter with no flash synchronisation. In 1950, it cost £15 15s. An improved version, the Advocate II, was introduced in 1953. The fastest shutter speed is increased from 1/150 to 1/200 and the shutter is flash synchronised. It has a Dallmeyer f/3.5 35 mm. lens. The camera cost £18 15s. Variants of the Advocate include one with a Wray Lustrar 35 mm. f/3.5 lens and, reputedly, one with a Ross f/3.5 lens. Although a very nice camera to use - and very eye-catching - the wide angle of the lens makes this a very unflattering camera for portraits.

Ensign is one of the major British camera makers, responsible for a number of still and cine cameras including the Kinecam, the Pockette and the Multex. The Multex is often regarded as the first British precision camera. It was introduced in 1936 as a 'miniature' camera but unlike the German 'miniature' cameras, the Multex uses 127 film. It takes 14 pictures, 3 cm. x 4 cm. on a 127 roll-film. The Multex has a coupled rangefinder. The Multex I was fitted with the Ensign Ensar f/3.5 lens in a shutter speeded to 1/500. An optical viewfinder on the top plate is collapsible. The camera is finished in black enamel, nickel plate and grained leather. The Multex II has an enclosed optical finder and the shutter is speeded to 1/1000. The camera is finished in lustre chrome and leather. Lenses for the Multex II include the Ensign Multar f/3.5 and the Sonnar f/2. In 1937 the Multex I with Ensar lens cost £16 16s. The most expensive Multex, the Multex II with Sonnar f/2 lens, cost £40.

Agilux made the Agiflex, a copy of the Reflex Korelle, but the cameras which I prefer have their own design quirks. One of these is the Agimatic, introduced at the 1957 Photokina. This is a 35 mm. camera with built-in uncoupled rangefinder and extinction meter. It has a four element Agilux 45 mm. f/2.8 lens with a nine speed, flash synchronised shutter. The shutter release is unusual in that the same lever also operates the wind-on and sets the shutter. Thus, the camera can be operated very rapidly and, indeed, was marketed as a rival to the clockwork drive cameras then becoming popular. It cost £24 17s. when new. The Agima was introduced in 1960 and is a later version of the Agimatic, with coupled rangefinder and brightline viewfinder. It does not have an extinction meter. It cost the same as the Agimatic.

I am particularly fond of Kershaw cameras as they were made in Leeds, about twenty miles from our shop. Kershaw named most of their cameras after birds. The Curlew and Peregrine were introduced in about 1948 although supplies were limited. The Curlew cameras take 8 pictures on 120 roll-film, while the Peregrine cameras take 12 exposures on 120. Both cameras have folding fronts with side-hinges.

There is not a lot of information readily available about these cameras but the pre-launch specifications of the cameras were as follows.

The Peregrine I was expected to have a Kershaw f/4.5 lens in an unsynchronised eight speed shutter and to cost about £25 including purchase tax. The Peregrine II was to have a Taylor Hobson f/3.5 lens in Talykron nine speed synchronised shutter and to cost about £44. The top of the range camera was the Peregrine III, with Taylor Hobson f/2.9 lens in Talykron nine speed synchronised shutter with coupled rangefinder, costing about £70.

The Curlew I was expected to have a Kershaw f/6.3 lens in a four speed unsynchronised shutter and to cost about £17. Unusually for this time, the Curlew I was to have no double exposure prevention interlock. The Curlew II was to have a Kershaw f/4.5 lens in an eight speed unsynchronised shutter and to cost about £25, while the top of the range Curlew III was to have a Taylor Hobson f/3.5 lens in Talykron nine speed synchronised shutter, costing about £47.

The company announced dates when these cameras were expected to be available, ranging from March 1948 (the Curlew I) through to October 1948 (the Peregrine III) but they also made it plain that these dates were for initial production runs and that supplies would be limited. By 1950 the range had been discontinued and some estimates of production numbers are as low as 200 (a figure I feel to be unlikely).

It is the case that all of these cameras are unusual while the Curlew III and Peregrine III cameras are very rare.

The above are all synopses of longer articles which have been published in Classic Camera Magazine, in some cases with additional material included here. The Advocate features in issue number 14, the Ensign Multex in issue number 2, the Agimatic and Agima are in issue number 4 and the Kershaw Curlew and Peregrine cameras are in issue number 1.

Other British cameras featured in Classic Camera Magazine include:-

  • the Agiflex cameras (issue number 30)
  • the Compass camera (issue number 21 - short piece only)
  • Coronet 9.5 mm. cine cameras (issue number 18)
  • Dallmeyer camera (issue number 22)
  • Dekko 9.5 mm. cine camera (issue number 20)
  • Ensign Autorange cameras (issue number 32)
  • Ensign Selfix cameras (issue number 12)
  • Purma Special and Purma Speed (issue number 33)
  • Wrayflex (issue number 28)
Note: I like to give price information in both sterling and American dollars. However, this information is not always available to me, in which case I use whichever I can get. I do not convert from one currency to the other; market conditions vary and camera prices were often very different in the U.S.A. and Britain, so conversion would not give an accurate picture.

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