Out with an Argus C3 - NW Ohio & SE Michigan

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by doug grosjean, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. Hi all,
    I've been tied up in college, not posting much, and not shooting much film due to lack of time and money. But a friend is interested in trying 35mm film photography, learning the basics of shutter and aperture and light, so I offered my Argus C3 as a loan. It had an old roll of film in it for a year or two, so I finished that off, and then ran a fresh roll to make sure everything worked OK.
    I just wanted to be sure because this Argus is one I bought at a garage sale for way too much money ($10), and it had fungus. Once you're into a camera for that much money, you hate to lose the investment ... So I'd disassembled and cleaned the lens, and caught it in time - no eching due to fungus. Than I pulled the front cover and cleaned and lubed the shutter mechanism, per directions online.
    Results below. I'm assuming the odd color casts on the first photo are due to the color negative film sitting in the camera for a year. Or was it two?
  2. Next few photos were a dull, drab day. Heavy overcast, me guesstimating exposure based on Sunny 16 plus 2-3 steps, at a local tourist railroad in the town of Waterville, Ohio. My grandfather was a retired train engineer, and used to operate the lococmotive for the tourist railroad, as a volunteer.
  3. Everything is put away for the winter, and the place is closed, even if the sign says otherwise.
    I was shooting nearly wide-open, to double-check both the lens and the rangefinder adjustment. Relieved to see that both seem OK.
  4. They have a single caboose sitting there on a siding, a handcart for moving luggage around, and a disassembled lawnmover. Of the three, the caboose is the most interesting...
  5. And then a detail of one of the caboose's axle assemblies.... I think the word for it is "truck", but I'm not sure. Here, the softness of the light made for a nice image.
  6. One day and a roll of current film later, I took the Argus for a walk in Michigan, in a small cemetery in Dearborn. This day had great light. It was late in the day, and the sun was strong. Sky was blue. There was still some snow on the ground, so a few images have both deep blue sky and proper exposure on the ground features.
  7. Up on a rise in the center of the cemetery, there's a chapel. Under the chapel, a Catholic priest from Dearborn's earliest days is buried.
  8. The chapel is locked, so I shot the stained-glass windows from outside the chapel.
  9. Near the chapel, a white cross tops a large gravestone.
  10. This woman died at in 1897 at age 17. Oh, the things she missed! Cars and airplanes, just around the corner....
  11. Late-afternoon light showed all the texture of this marker...
  12. And then, somebody who'd had visitors earlier in the day, as the snow on the ground had only fallen that morning. I rarely go see my late relatives in the ground, because I figure that wherever they are, they aren't in the ground. Yet I'm touched in a good, sentimental way by those who do. The footprints in the snow around the grave are the ghosts of the living.
  13. And what graveyard would be complete without statues? Here's an angel, pondering and waiting.
  14. Then there's St. Francis, I think...
  15. And finally another St. Francis, this one shot at minimum focus distance and wide-open aperture, to verify that the rangefinder is accurate and the lens is clear. Both appear to be fine.
  16. And that's all I've got.
    I'm glad the old, re-furbished Argus works well. It's an amazing value; all the basics are there, and they all work plenty good enough to produce good-to-great results. I could have done well starting out with an Argus C3 instead of an Olympus XA, but even in 1982 I was already a bit of a gear snob.... Back then, I wanted something "brand new" because I didn't yet realize that it's the photographer, not the camera, that make the photo.
  17. I have two Argii a C from 1940 and a Matchmatic called a Golden Shield (both are essentially C-3). They are great cameras, capable of fine pictures, easy to repair. I enclose a photo taken at Lake Monponsett near Halifax, MA USA.
  18. Dammit Doug, now look what you've done. I was playing around with the Nikons and now you've rubbed my nose it the C3's like a puppy that pooped the floor. Ok, next film goes in the C3. Give me a week. Great shots by the way.
  19. Nice work with an old classic. I could see your concern, having so much invested in it, but probably the investment is justified by the results. ;)
  20. You gave that C3 a nice workout, Doug, cool shots!
  21. Nice shots Doug and finely displayed. Don't care much for the C3 but you've handled the old brick quite well. Thanks for sharing with us.
  22. Doug, I really enjoyed this presentation. I'll share Rob Holz's sentiments and freely admit that your post convinced me to dust off the Brick my Dad gave me 25 years ago. As a kid I never thought much of the C3; it was quickly passed over for a Spotmatic and Zenit slr. Having enough white hairs to disprove my youthful disdain for "lesser" cameras, I'll make it a point to go slumming with the Argus this weekend.
    Cemeteries are great places to test equipment. They afford abundant subject matter and the quietude helps frame a certain mindset beneficial to slow photography. I'm lucky to have several magnificent 19th century memorial parks where I live in North Jersey. In addition, there are scores of earlier churchyards full of graves of Dutch and English colonial settlers. However grand or small a they may be, any cemetery is a reminder of both the finite corporeal existence and limitless connections we can make with the departed. Whether they be of known relatives, ancestors, or strangers, the images and thoughts created by the living memory help connect us to that special consciousness which is unique to the human condition.
    The St. Francis marker with only crucifix and basket is interesting. I haven't ever seen one without the prerequisite birds. My brother sculpted a St Francis statue for a garden in Newark in the 90s as part of a pageant with artist Jonas Dos Santos. Saint Frank also appears in numerous forms in the garden of my wife's office in a Catholic charity in Hoboken. Now, thanks to your interesting photos, I'll investigate a bit deeper into the Secular Franciscan Order, one of a few spiritual paths that has gained my attention over recent years.
    Thanks for the post, and I hope to see more Brick photos from you and other members. Maybe we all should practice Humble Photography from time to time and forgo our "snobbish" ways with those other fancy-schmantzy cameras ;o)
  23. Thanks for showing those Doug! I have a Brick as well -- shall find and show some pics tomorrow. As much as I like the Cintar lens, I hate the ergonomics of the C3 body :)
  24. Very fine post, Doug! I've shot only one film through a C3 and I'll have to say it wasn't a particularly satisfying experience, so I feel you did very well to produce images of this quality.
  25. I'm with Dmitri on the C3, love the lens, don't like the ergonomics.
    Still, some interesting images and fine commentary Doug, thanks. I'm sure your friend will appreciate your thorough check-up of the camera.
    I was trying to spot if your camera has the same quirk as mine where there is a thin strip on the left side of the image that is slightly darker. I think it's due to the fact that sprocket wheels are a little further back and causes a slight bend in the film at that edge of the film plane.
  26. Doug,
    Thanks for an entertaining and really inspiring post. I've played with numerous C-3s and a couple of fine C-4s and C-44s. If the cameras are in good adjustment, they do excellent work, as you have ably demonstrated.
    This is really robbing the dead, but you might enjoy a C-3 post I did 6 years ago.
    Thanks for posting,
  27. Nice work, Doug. I like the odd colour cast from the old film.
  28. Thanks all, for the kind words.
    Rick, I don't know if mine has a dark left edge, either. Some of these pics I cropped a little, so I may have removed all evidence.
    Dennis, cool post about the 10 reasons to own an Argus C3.
    Thanks again, all.

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