In praise of the lowly Argus C3

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by Glenn McCreery, May 16, 2022.

  1. This article, "The bricklike Argus C3 camera launched countless photographers" appeared in the Washington Post,

    After occasionally using my mother's Kodak Autographic folding camera as a child, the first camera that was mine, at about age ten in the 1050's, was an Argus C3. The camera helped teach me about manual camera controls, and later about the use of flash. I learned about darkroom work using many black and white negatives that I produced using the camera. It took about another half dozen years before I could afford a better camera.
    Fiddlefye, ralf_j., SCL and 1 other person like this.
  2. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    Thanks for the article. The C3 has never interested me too much as a shooter, but I can understand their aesthetic appeal. They were indeed a "real" camera that brought affordable quality photography to many, and I've seen some fine images made with the Cintar lens.
    Last edited: May 16, 2022
  3. SCL


    The C3 was my father's only 35mm camera until he got a Canon in the 1970s. I still have some of his WWII slides taken with it. When I inherited it, even with fond memories, I had years before moved to other cameras by Leica, Olympus, Canon and Ricoh. I thought about keeping it as a shelf queen, but decided to pass it along to an aspiring photographer, who I hope cut his chops on it. A great piece of camera history in the USA.
  4. "The Brick" . Thanks for the article. It's good to see a write-up in the general media on a relatively unknown camera.
    The comments section, with enthusiasts inputs, runs longer than the article! Very telling.
    Last edited: May 16, 2022
  5. A great read, and thanks for posting the link. While I find the Brick an unwieldy camera to use, I've always felt it represents a great period in US history and deserves it's place among the icons. Practical, tough, not too many frills and got the job done... The Kodak Medalist and Signet 35 are in the same catergory.
  6. Although Leica often is given credit, it was for the elite. It was the various Argus cameras, and -- in the long run -- the Argus C2 and C3 especially that made 35mm slide photography (read Kodachrome).

    The Argus A/A2 Camera Page

    My "Brick"
    If you don't think it was "ergonomic" go try a Signet 35:rolleyes:
    Last edited: May 17, 2022
    Glenn McCreery and ralf_j. like this.
  7. You’re right about the signet 35 JDM, feels like a bar of slippery soap in my hands, but the “lumenized” Ektar lens made ergonomics bearable
  8. I'll admit the Ektar(s) were good, but the controls - Oh My!
  9. Hmmm the linked page immedaite;y disappears on my desktop... too bad, I'd like to read the article.
    Anyway, I picked one of these up in a sort of sweep I did on f b marketplace a couple years ago. havent given the camera much thought, don't know exactly why I even bought it to begin with! Diging it out just now, the controls are VERY sticky, and the viewfinder is pretty foggy. Anyone in teh USA who could CLA it? and would it even be worth whatever it might cost to get it cleaned up and operational?
  10. I actually have one. I have never tried to put film through it. A shelf piece it is.
  11. AJG


    It would cost more to have it cleaned up than another one in decent condition would cost on eBay, but if you have ever wanted to experiment with camera repair this would be a good choice since you would still have a substantial door stop even if you can't get it working again.
  12. I still have the C-3 I bought new at the end of 1957. There is an organization -- the Argus Collectors Group -- than runs "Argus Day" every year. This year it's in August -- actually "Argust 22nd." The day date moves up one each year and it started in 2001. I've been participating since I discovered the group in 2006.

    The aforementioned group has some repair manuals for the C-3 available online. Ya gotta like a camera you can CLA with a screwdriver and needle-nosed pliers!

    Yes, the brick is a bit user hostile if you're used to shooting today's auto-everything cameras, but it does a pretty decent job if you are careful and pay attention to details.
  13. The link is to a download of the pdf. If you look in your default folder for downloads, you may find the file...
    Last edited: May 19, 2022
  14. Argus cameras were unknown in my country, a rarity.

    The C3 shutter is very easy to work on, and the Cintar lens is above average. The Harry Potter film showing a C3 made an icon of the Brick.

    A wonderful camera to learn.

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