Hey everyone ! A couple of weeks ago it was international camera day. I was looking for a rangefinder type camera preferably one from the 1960's. So I put a request in my camera clubs facebook page hoping one of the older members had one stuck in there closet hadn't used in a while and wanted to part with it. I got one answer from one of the newer members saying he had picked some up in an estate sale but he didn't know anything about them.(he had two) So he said that he would bring them to me at the next club event. So when we had a scavenger hunt he brought out a shoe box with a whole bunch of camera stuff old lenses, meters, and the two cameras. I must be honest I had never seen cameras like this before. They were heavy , square-ish , black , had gears on the out side of them. So I told him I would have to do some research on them he said just take them and let me know what you find out. He said he got them for 20 bucks. So I started my research and found out that one of them was an 1942 Argus C3 Rangefinder and it had a 50mm lens on it. The other one was even older it was a 1939 Argus C2 rangefinder that had a 100mm lens on it. They shot 35mm film and had the nickname the "Brick". Now I have just got back into film and these were 35mm camera's could I clean them up and they work? I got online found operation manuals and learned all I could about them. These are some of the fun facts I found out.
-They were produced from 1938-1966 in Ann Arbor Michigan.
-They have interchangeable lenses (but they are a pain to change)
-They had 3 lenses a 35mm, 50mm and 100mm that you could buy for the camera.
-They cost 35 dollars originally which is over 600 dollars in todays money equivalent.
-They are made primarily of Bakelite Plastic and Metal Castings
-They have 2 viewfinders one to focus with and one to compose your shot with
-They have no metering system so you use an external meter or use the Sunny 16 rule to set exposure.
So I cleaned the best looking one out of the bunch the 1942 model and made sure everything worked by using a dummy roll of film that I have to practice loading and advancing the film and shooting the camera. After I felt confident on the operation I loaded it up with fresh film and took it into the back yard. I did find it difficult to get it into focus. The focusing viewfinder and the composure viewfinder are small. And while rewinding the film after I was thorough I only rewound 1/2 of the roll when I opened up the back (oops) and ruined half of the roll. But I developed it anyway and got just a few in focus out of that half of a roll. Hey but it was a 76 year old camera and it worked! Now am I going to use the camera to take photo's? No it will be a shelf decoration but I know it works and it was great fun finding out about it and its history. Oh by the way I asked my photo buddy what he wanted for the camera's and he said I could just keep them he only had 20 bucks in them. Thanks John! So when you find an old camera that you want to put on your shelf for decoration find out all you can about it. Its great fun and you'll enjoy your decoration even more especially when someone ask about them. Get out and Shoot!