Argus C3

Here’s a retro review for you! I once had more Argus C3s than you could shake a stick at. I’m having so much fun, revisiting these old reviews. There’s new stuff toward the bottom of this page. Like, a lot of new stuff. Ha!

Argus Cameras. They’re everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I’m referring to those square black bricks. We could all redo our house foundations with ‘em. Better yet, I think I’ll build an Argus Barbecue. I should have bought one a long time ago (a C3, not a barbecue). You know why? Because they look cool when worn with that sort of 60’s / 70’s retro look.

Here’s my C3 story: I was in a junk store called The Junk Store (duh). They didn’t appear to have any cameras, so I started to leave. Just as my hand touched the door handle, a voice behind me asked, “Looking for anything in particular?” We got to talking about old cameras. She brought a bag out from the back room – junk stores always have a back room. Hmmm … just Argus’. So, there I was, standing in the middle of an awkward silence. Maybe I felt awkward because I’d used her bathroom or something, I don’t remember. She’s looking at me with that do-you-want-it-or-don’t-you look. So, I bought it. It didn’t cost much and now I could leave.

What I ended up with were two cameras. One with a 50mm lens, the other one had a 100mm lens. Two types of light meters (more barbecue decorations?), tons of lens attachments and filters, anti static brushes, a lens cleaning kit and some nifty old film canisters. The bag it all came in has really grown on me. Brown leather. Very worn, but not falling apart worn. It looks like something Indiana Jones would carry. 

I took the camera with the 100mm on a snow shoe trip. The settings recommended by the hand held meters seem to be right on. The camera doesn’t focus well on closer subjects (but I’m of the genre that believes F64 is SO over). Either that, or I’m doing something wrong. These cameras are a bit beat, so I’m sure it’s their fault, not mine. There’s a little lever on the front of the camera that cocks the shutter. It doesn’t cock automatically with each wind. This camera is very user interactive. I mean, not only is there the manual shutter-cocking to deal with, but you also have to push a button next to the counter to release it when you want to advance to the next frame. It’s like a winder lock you can’t turn off. It has to be released, though, just as the film begins to advance, so the film will stop on the next frame. Otherwise, you’ll just wind and wind like a film winding fool. Not that that happened to me, or anything.

Click on any image for a larger view:

Silly Argus movies I made 100 years ago using a Sony Mavica. The Mavica accepted floppy disks and you could make a 15 second movie before you filled the disk. Too funny! : Movie 1: argus movie     Movie 2: argus movie3

UPDATE: Over the years, many C3s have passed through my hands … and landed in my drawers (ha!) and on my shelves. I’ve Gala-fied a few:

I brought a C3 with me on a recent trip to the United Kingdom. I’m promoting world peace via junk store cameras. My goal is to pepper the world with junk store cameras. How can folks NOT want to smile and be happy? Why not shake hands, accept each other and dance the happy dance over receiving a free junk camera? Ya know … or not. I shot some photos with the C3 before I passed it on. WAY expired slide film. Expired E6 film. It ended up a bit thin.

I left the camera in the capable hands of the proprietor of Mr. Magpie in Brighton, England. He had never seen one before and I was thrilled to receive, in return, a Purma Special Bakelight camera.

I guess all of this is just to say that my C3 adventure continues. In fact, it seems to be never ending.

Update 2020:  

Forging ahead with this idea of World Peace Through Junk Store Cameras … add one untested Argus C3 and some completely untested (by me) film. A most excellent combination to shoulder up, and head on off to Paris! I schlepped the combo around Paris and Brussels and did a terrible job of it and I LOVE the results! A complete Sunny 16 guesstimate, etc, as to exposure. An underexposing, soft focus camera, heavily grained film and Acufine:


Montmartre, Paris


Dyan, forever photographing food. Nighttime at a Brussels restaurant.




Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris


Père-Lachaise Cemetery , Paris.


Jim Morrison’s grave at Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris


Jim Morrison’s grave at Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris


Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.


At Père Lachaise Cemetery we stumbled across André Chabot’s mausoleum which includes a stone camera. I decided THIS is where I would leave the Argus C3. I also left a note and a roll of film.

The C3 documenting the spreading of Chrissy’s ashes at Notre Dame du Sablon, Brussels, Belgium.

At Jim Morrison’s grave at Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

Leaving the C3 at André Sablon’s mausoleum, Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.

Update 2021:  You know, I never heard anything regarding the note I placed in the Argus C3 I left at Pére Lachaise so I had to go back and do it again.

Two fisted champagne.

Being a tourist at the top of the Eiffel Tower with TWO glasses of champagne and a C3.

This time around I traded it at the Paris Flea Market, for a French made GAP box camera.

Trading cameras at the Paris Flea Market.

I took a few shots with it before I traded it. (More to follow, sorry.)


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