Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by brad cloven, Nov 6, 2010.
But ah only gots a Argus A2! Hows kin ah keep up wit dem Joneses?
A recent response on this forum:
This is probably a big part of what's wrong with this "classic" (ahum...) camera forum: a lot of old crap still goes click, and people mistake that for being good, classic even, cameras.Is this true? Should we properly restrict this forum to only "real classics" as told to us by our betters?
Or are we a coarse bunch of lowlifes here, basically rednecks with Argus C-3s?
Now with apologies to Johnny Russell ( Link to Youtube , Link to lyrics ) Maybe this can be our song:
No we don't fit in with that white collar crowd
We're a little too rowdy and a little too loud
There's no place that I'd rather be than free
With my red-necks, white socks, and Argus C-3Show us your Argus C-3s and maybe you'll get some shiny beads thrown to you!
My little Argus collection
"Or are we a coarse bunch of lowlifes here, basically rednecks with Argus C-3s?"
The Larry Willis Trio at the Eubie Blake Museum on 5/10/10. Shot with a 5 speed C3, Sandmar 100, Tri-X:
JDM, I'm stuck between a rock and hard place here, when it comes to Arguses (Argi?). I'm a great admirer of the earlier Argus A models, because of their classic simplicity in both function and design. However, with hand on heart I have to contend their IRC makers seem to have thrown all their earlier 'KISS' credos out of the window with the later Model C 'Brick'. I reckon it's an awful device, built on the the lines of the traditional Corporate Camel Committee Credo of adding bits-and-bobs everywhere, with nobody apparently ever looking at the overall picture concept.
However, I do concede that the Model C 'Brick' became in time an American icon, much like a Coke bottle or a Big Mac, or a pair of Levi jeans. Therefore I've long steered clear of criticising it, after inadvertently mentioning the word 'ugly' some ten years ago in another Classic Camera Forum. Bad move, Pete! .....
My post clearly bristled one particular guy's fond memories of his family's 'Brick', because he replied with some vehement comments about how it had been used for umpteen years and never ever had a single fault, produced thousands of pics for the family album, yadda, yadda. So how the Hell could I as a Damn Furriner dare to blaspheme against such a piece of American Classic Design?
Well, how could I, indeed ....!! So I did my best to placate this latter-day Yosemite Sam, mentioning that I was a great admirer of the Argus A series but just could not somehow get to like the Brick Series, so I was not an Argus-Hating Antipodean. I'd even bought one of the earlier models plus a later Matchmatic on Ebay US, trying to discover some inspiration - but without success. So both subsequently got sold locally here in Perth - at a small profit, I might add, because they're quite rare Down Under! However, Mr Y-S Mk 11 just wouldn't take a backward step, and inferred I had somehow taken the photographic equivalent of burning a 'Stars and Stripes' flag by quoting that word 'ugly' about a Brick.
Well, what to do ..... Placation had clearly failed, so we carried on an increasingly vehement on-line argument which soon brought in comments on other design plug-uglies such as the Ford Edsel. Eventually Peace Reigned, but I had learned my lesson never to make any critical comments about the Argus Brick without inviting a possible WW3. So since then I've steered well clear of denigrating the Model C online.
However, a couple of weeks back I bought a copy of the 1972 'US 35mm Cameras' book published by AM Photo, because aside from my dislike of the Brick on aesthetic grounds I actually have several US-made 35mm cameras such as a Mercury 11, Perfex 55 - and of course, a couple of Argus Model A's. Well, Lordy, Lordy - I was amazed and highly encouraged to read that the two authors weren't greatly enthused either about the 'Brick', although they were very enthusiastic about the earlier Model A Series.
So, my heart lifted - had I been right, maybe? Was the Brick a design disaster, which somehow had become a Folk Icon, warts and all? If sales figures alone are the yardstick, then the Brick was a great success, but I still reckon it's PLUMB UGLY, so there!
(Pete In Perth)
PS - I have a Flickr Page write-up about my US-made 35mm cameras here, but you'll not be surprised to find that the Brick doesn't get a mention:
I have (6) of these cameras. They all seem to work well upon purchase, save for clening the rangefinder windows and keeping your fingers away from the up snap of the cocking lever. My favorites are the oldest C with uncoupled rangefinder, the one I used for the autumn colors image. My rarest is the Golden Shield which appears to have been customized by someone who normally designs 1950's automobile dashboards and 1960's transisitor pocket radios.
Herein is the image taken with the C uncoupled rangefinder, no flash synch. model made some 70 years ago. The picture is at a small pond on RT104 in Raynham, MA USA a few weeks ago. The quality is quite good IMHO, ISO 400 film, drugstore process and scan. I did have problems with film advance and spacing as the spring stop is weak!
Great post. I found an old A2 in a junk box, but haven't had time to work on it yet.
Put a roll of film in that A2 Mike! The A series are love at first sight. The C series are ugly puppies that won't stop following you around. You want to like them, but they are so damn ugly.
I must confess that I do not own one. However, today is the annual Montreal Photo Flea Market in a hotel just down the street from me.... so who knows what I'll own by day's end. Again though, an Argus 'brick' isn't exactly near the top of my list.
The first time I ever held a C3, which was only a few years ago, I was put off by the silly shape and considered it to be a camera only worthy of displaying as an oddity in my burgeoning camera collection. After using it however, my opinion changed drastically after seeing the high quality of the pictures, and I now see the camera as a rather ingenious design. I was watching an episode of "I Love Lucy" in which Ethel had returned home and was being interviewed by the local newspaper. The reporter had a C3 complete with the large Argus flash attachment, something that, years ago, I would never have noticed. Here's my C3...
My C3 looks like your C3s Unfortunately the slow speeds have started to stick, so I guess this means I have to take it apart. From Rick Oleson's instructions and the tear down guide at the Argus Collector Group site, it looks like it's probably one of the easiest cameras to do this myself...
Some things, like criticizing the "classic" status of a subject of a current thread, well, they're better left undone.
You asked for it....
Wow, Mark, you certainly get some shiny beads for showing that!
Admit it, Mark, you've been feeding that Argus steroids, haven't you?
Apparently you didn't learn your lesson... you irascible Aussie!" You used the "ugly" word again and deserve every bit of
abuse we can throw at you! They've grown on me a bit. The first time I saw one I was a bit non-plussed. I was ignorant back then! Now I'm even more ignorant! Also major fan of the A and the Perfex! Unfortunately there aren't too many cam,eras I don'T like other than those that don't work!
Rick van Nooij
Envious of oyur set!
Nice evocative shots from Charm City!
Okay, here's mine. I guess I'm just a lowlife redneck!
I also have the rare and seldom seen prototype!
They must have called it the C-3 because I can see 3 holes...
I have never owned a C-3 but I think it definitely deserves a spot in the museum of memorabilia. My first encounter with one was as a freshman in college in 1954 when a friend showed me some slides he had taken with one. I thought they looked good, but even at $30 back then, that was a big chunk of cash, plus I was left with the impression that 35mm only produced slides, which meant even more cash up front. I got over that in Vietnam when I bought a Konica auto S2 for $35 in the PX. The US seemed capable of producing some great precision firearms, but not cameras. Nowadays, are we able to make anything?
I mean anything. My last 11 years at Boeing was spent on the Stealth F-22 fighter, which now costs on the order of $200 million a copy. After about 7 years of dem-val (investigating concepts and prototypes), the F-22 was put under contract in Nov 1991, and finally produced a semi-operational product in 2005 or 2006. 15 years to make a fighter plane? In WW2, the best fighter plane of the war, the P-51, went from drawing board to production in a matter of months, and when combined with the Rolls Royce Merlin engine, became a wonder weapon.
Here is my C3 Match Matic. I have to confess that I have yet to use this camera, which is suprising
because I would literally drool over these at the PX but the price was way too much for a privates pay.
Seems to me they were around $40. The LS-3 lightmeter still works.
For JDM and Chuck
"An Ode To The Argus Brick"
C3 or not C3, 'Tis the question
level heads need to mention!
If beauty be in eye of beholder,
and angular shape be less bolder,
with fewer bits stuck here and there
with such apparent lack of care!
The might IRC who'd showed the Model A
with lines smooth, and shape to sway
our minds to form over function
had now reached strange disjunction!
So now we had that Model C
with lines so straight, it couldn't be
but in truth, as plain as day
a camera only a mason could say,
was a sight to appreciate
compared to others made of late.
However, each to their own
must be a creed not to moan,
just because some cranky old Aussie
thinks a Brick be no rosy
sight for sore eyes - truth or lies?
So, please hold back the blame
'coz he used that dreaded word 'ugly'
to describe your beloved Model C, see!
(With Apologies To Any Bards, Living or Deceased)
PETE IN PERTH
Never saw such good poesy in the service of so ill a cause.
Pete: I think your poetry needs to go to the Argus Museum!
Let's see. I'm definitely a photography redneck, so maybe I can play along!
Shall I compare C to a summer's day?
Thou art a bit boxy but more tempting.
Rough handling does shake the darling knobs of thee,
And a clean and grease ne're restores your bling.
Sometimes, too shot, thy parts do whine,
And often is the golden finder dimm'd;
And every glare and lens flair sometime shines,
By ye olde glass or with hood untrimm'd;
But thy eternal wonder shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall eBay brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal collections thou are stow'st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives C, and PN gives life to thee.
Additional apologies to Mr. Shakespeare, and to any who have been scarred by reading this.
Scarred ain't the woid!
Keep 'em coming; I can take it if she can.
I have to add that I never dreamed this would take this direction. Ain't P.net wonnerful?
Of course, when you have trouble getting Argusized, you can always get a good Falcon instead.
Utility Manufacturing, New York. 127 film
To quote Father Jack from the "Father Ted" TV Series:
"I love me Brick"
Well this thread carried a few surprises... Still not in any way, shape or form, tempted to actually buy one of the things. I have enough crap on the shelf already. Tell me one of them came with a Schneider Xenar lens though, I'll consider it.
I have six C3's. I keep one in my car. I keep one in my wife's car. I keep one in the work truck. I'm dismayed that the Ozzys don't like the C3,but I'm not surprised. They call us septic,portray us as villains in their films (Dead Calm),have an American themed underarm deodorant (Uncle Sam) & now they bag on the C3.
Wah, lordy, lordy - ah dun can see that thar' spirit of Yosemite Sam still lingers on, mate! (Pete In Perth)
In Rick's photo, I spotted an Argus C-4. That is a suave Art Deco number not to be disparaged along with the homely C-3. The C-4 had a darn good lens and a hot shoe, also. Besides, I've got three of them.
Actually the camera in that picture is the later C-44 with the incredibly annoying lens mount system.
But it still is a capable performer with the single lens I've got on it. And a smooth but loud shutter activation.
Thanks, Rick and Red, for bringing the C-4 and 44 into the equation. I've never seen either model 'in the metal', but judging by the photo, it does have a nice 'balanced' look about it.
I should like to add that I am not, contrary to the Redneck School Of (Ill) Logic who've been busy trying to make a big nationalistic thing about my comments, some kind of Anti-Yankaholic. No, sirree! I actually not only have a couple of Argus As, a Perfex 55 and a Mercury 11, along with quite a few EKC Rochester Kodaks going back to the early 1900's. There's also a damn fine looking Senequa Chautauqua in the collection, dating from around 1904. So let's be a little objective here - all I said was that I disliked the Argus Model C because it's ugly - no more, no less. I also don't like the Sydney Opera House for similar aesthetic reasons, but that's another story ......... (Pete In Perth)
Ah, but to paraphrase Shakespeare again,
I have a Mercury II also, so can any man; but does the Mercury II work, when you do use it?
Not to worry Pete, on this one I am confident that the state of humor remains similar in Oz and here. It's like the fish and chips and hamburger joint, after all.
It's Ok,Pete,I'm just having a little fun. We know who you Ozzys are. I just like to give my cousins a hard time.
Hey, Waite, that's good to hear you were just having a bit of fun there. For a while I was thinking you might just be the same guy I got into the Mother Of All Arguments with some ten years ago in another Forum, regarding the aesthetics of the Argus Brick. That one went from mildly sarcastic to downright abusive in no time.
But clearly 'tis not so - you're you, and he's him still out there in Redneck Paradise somewhere along with his 13 year-old cousin who he'd probably just married. So peace and tranquility on the P-Net Forum are again restored. (Whew ...... )
I should conclude with the news that I've just got myself a 1923 British Journal of Photography Almanac (aka BJPA to the cogniscenti) via Fleabay USA, from an antiquarian emporium in Ozarks, Missouri. I'd always thought Ozarks, Missouri was right up there in the Redneck Paradise stakes but clearly it ain't, if they're selling such interesting old furrin' books like a '23 BJ. So I guess I should try and stop believing all this stereotype stuff about who lives where, and their consequential attitudes, etc. (Pete In Perth)
So I guess I should try and stop believing all this stereotype stuff about who lives where, and their consequential attitudes, etc.On the glass houses, stone-throwing front, this is particularly good self advice for Australians
JDM - thou speak'st words of wisdom, mate - but I still reckon the Argus Brick is ugly, so there!
In overall hindsight, This entire 40-post thread has been very interesting, because of the diverse viewpoints raised. In any group of folks with a common interest, opinions are always going to be varied. That's life. We're not going to change it.
What we've had here is a good discussion about the Argus Brick, warts and all. I should also like to raise the point yet again, that the reason I got involved was because I'd just acquired an edition of the excellent 1972 AM-Photo book 'The USA 35mm Camera' at a recent camera photomarket here in Perth.
OK, so although there were no comments therein about that thar' cousin-amarryin' in Redneck Territory, the book was very succinct about the goods and bads of the various 35mm cameras produced in the USA. The Argus Model A scored highly in their critique, but the Model C didn't. JDM, that's a factual report without any bias from me.
Meanwhile, ah' sure do look forward to the delivery of that thar' 1923 British Journal Almanac, from the boondocks of Ozarks, Missouri! Strange to tell, there was a mention of Good' Ol' Yosemite Sam on our TV News here in Perth tonite. For once, he wasn't blasting off about 'Goddamn Furriners' though. It was just about the local problems with volcanos. (Pete In Perth)
Oh, I finally get it.
(being Swedish can be a trial sometimes)
You think the Argus C-3 is UGLY.
Gee, I didn't think that anyone didn't know that.
Separate names with a comma.