Monday, September 2, 2013

Spotlight: Argus C3

I've been sick with a pretty nasty cold for the last week, so I thought I'd stay at home today and talk a little about one of the most well known classic cameras of all time, the Argus C3. Depending on how old you are, there's a good chance that your father, or grandfather, owned an Argus C3. The Argus C3 was in production from 1939 until 1966. Woah! The C3 was the best selling camera of its time, selling over TWO MILLION units over its lifetime. The C3 has been called the "Model T" of cameras, because it made 35mm rangefinder photography affordable for everyone, not just news-reporters and richy-rich dudes, who were using their Leica and Contax cameras that cost about five times as much as the C3.

Construction-wise, the Argus C3 has everything you need to start taking photos. It has a coupled rangefinder (with separate windows for focusing and composing), shutter speeds ranging from 1/10th to 1/300th (+ Bulb), and a standard 50mm f3.5 lens. One little feature I like is how you can switch straight from instant to bulb by simply twisting the shutter release button; you don't even have to touch the shutter speed dial. One thing I dislike is the placement of the shutter-cocking lever; it's placed right where my finders rest while holding the camera.

I really like the look of this camera. Sure, it looks like a Brick, but it's a pretty brick. I love the contrast between the shiny silver knobs and the black Bakelite and leatherette. I picked up a little metal hood at a flea market about a year ago that just happened to fit on the C3. Sexy!

Being so common, the Argus C3 was one of the first classic cameras that I owned. It was also one of the first old cameras that I put film through, so it holds a special place in my heart. Being one of the first old cameras I used, my pictures did not turn out so great... so when you look at these photos, please remember that they're old, and don't represent my current photographic ability! Thanks. :)

But wait! There's more! I also own a slightly different version of the Argus C3, called the "Matchmatic."

It has a slightly different color scheme, as well as a packaged-in light meter. The Matchmatic was used in the movie adaptation of "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" by the character Colin Creevey:

If only my Argus could take living photographs...

I haven't film tested my Matchmatic, since the rangefinder is foggy, and some of the shutter speeds don't work right. Oh well.

Thanks for looking!