Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Last Sunday I bought a box of vintage cameras at an auction for $27. Included in that box were these two awesome 35mm cameras, an Argus C3 and an Argus C4. Neither of these cameras is especially well regarded among aficionados of classic cameras, but I really like them. The C3, on the left, was the earlier model and was one of the most popular cameras of its day. Some reports suggest that the C3 was the best selling camera of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. According to its styling and serial number, this particular camera was probably produced in 1949. I can't get over the awesome "brick" shape, from which this camera gets its nickname. It is also quite heavy and solidly constructed, which probably has something to do with why there are so many of these cameras surviving in perfect working condition. I think the rangefinder on this one is a bit cockeyed, but otherwise it seems to be in pretty good shape.

The C4 seems to be in even better condition. Argus released it in 1951 with a non-changeable lens, which is a step back when compared to the lens options of the C3. However, it has a beautiful viewfinder/rangefinder combination which makes focusing much easier. That viewfinder is also a lot larger and brighter than the C3. The shutter resets itself when the film is advanced and, unlike the C3, it doesn't need to be cocked before shooting. Argus also changed the design drastically. The camera is lighter and easier on the hands than the big heavy "brick." Unfortunately, these changes make the C4 seem more like a boring, regular camera than a scientific instrument that might look at home on a WW2 submarine. In my opinion, the C3 is a much cooler camera.

I picked up a few box cameras and some folding brownies too. I think I'll just unload them on ebay. I've got so many old cameras sitting around here it is getting stupid. I like them a lot, but if I'm not using them regularly to take pictures, then I think I probably shouldn't keep them.

Finally, when I was taking pictures of the cameras, with my digital (which I haven't used for months) I found this picture I took in the rain of a dirty dinner plate on a dashboard.

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