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Thread: Argus Cameras: Anyone remember these or seen one?

  1. #1

    Default Argus Cameras: Anyone remember these or seen one?

    This one is my dad's. These apparently were very popular back in the day (1950s vintage I think). 35mm film format. This one actually has a roll of film that's been in there for who knows how long; my dad couldn't remember either and we have no idea what's on it. There are still a couple more exposures left, about 3 I think.

    Does anyone know of a reference table that can give me rough guidelines on exposure/aperture settings vs ISO? The light meter on top of the camera doesn't appear functional. Somewhere I've seen a chart with "rules of thumb" for sunny day, cloudy day, indoor, etc settings but my google searches haven't turned up quite what I was looking for. I thought about using my digital camera as a light meter and setting the Argus to the same aperture/exposure values that the digital camera indicates, but that'd be cumbersome to juggle the two cameras like that ( I don't have an actual light meter unfortunately).

    Here it is:

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Steve K's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Peoria, IL

    Default Re: Argus Cameras: Anyone remember these or seen one?

    There used to be rules of thumb... and the only one I recall is that in bright sun, use f16 for the apeture, and the shutter speed should be the inverse of the film speed. i.e. for that ISO 100 film that is in the camera, you would use a shutter speed of 1/100 second and f16 in bright sun. Of course, you can always trade shutter speed against apeture... you could use f8 and 1/200 and get the same exposure as f16 and 1/100.

    The film boxes used to have the rules of thumb printed on the inside or on a slip of paper. It told you how to set the shutter for shadows, overcast days, indoor lighting, etc. These were pretty crude approximations, which is why it became important to bracket the exposures for any shots that mattered to you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Re: Argus Cameras: Anyone remember these or seen one?

    Basically, what Steve said.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Argus Cameras: Anyone remember these or seen one?

    Thanks for the replies. Weather here has been lousy the past couple of days with lots of rain so I haven't had the chance to use up the last couple of shots yet. I'm thinking some kind of outdoor landscape/wide shots so I can set the focus to infinity and not worry about it. The range finder viewing window is almost impossible to see anything through so I wouldn't trust it for focusing.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* mattheww50's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    SW Pennsylvania

    Default Re: Argus Cameras: Anyone remember these or seen one?

    The Argus C3 (which is what you have) was pretty tough, however it tended to take mediocre pictures for a number of reasons. It was also a demonstration of how un ergonomical you could make a camera. There was another version called the C3 match-matic with a meter, and you just set the camera to the numbers the meter indicated (the numbers were just that, numbers, not f-stop or shutter speed.) The development of fully automatic exposure in the late 1950's, coupled with the rise of the Japanese manufacturers to prominence pretty effectively killed off the Argus C3. It was NOT missed by the photographic community.

    As far as exposure goes, color negative films like Fujicolor 100 have much wider latitude than the transparency (slide) films. The result is an educated guess from the film data sheet is usually quite adequate to produce acceptable prints. The more serious issue is that film has a finite life, and yours is long long past the expiration date, so even the best exposures may not produce particularly good prints. It may also be difficult to find someone who runs the required film process to properly develop the film. Kodak has available a datasheet with suggested exposure information for Plus-X film at:

    Plus-X is ASA/ISO 125 B&W film, so it is 1/4 f/stop faster than Fujicolor 100. The 1/4 stop is not meaningful, so I'd go with the recomendations on the second page of the data sheet.

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* will's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
    New York

    Default Re: Argus Cameras: Anyone remember these or seen one?

    If you do not remember how long the films has been in the camera - It probably is way out of tolerance ( ASA no longer vaild ) Still - might be fun to finish it off and get it developed
    Now I can see the darkness .

  7. #7

    Default Re: Argus Cameras: Anyone remember these or seen one?

    S/T - I suggest finding a photographer that uses medium / large format or attending a local photo club meeting and asking around for recommendations for a developer. Because of it's age I don't recommend using a mass developer.

    If it were B+W would be a different story but - using someone that is used to finicky photographs/negatives you stand a better chance.

    Just a thought


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Default Re: Argus Cameras: Anyone remember these or seen one?

    If it's of any help, there are some smart phone apps that are light meters.
    Don't know accurate they are.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Argus Cameras: Anyone remember these or seen one?

    Figured I should come back and update this thread.

    I did get the film developed and the images scanned to a CD. The last exposure I took wasn't in the files so either I did something wrong, the shutter didn't open, or else the film was just too old to be able to burn another image onto it.

    Anyway, the images were heavily degraded and showed some evidence of light leakage. The colors were very washed out and in some cases there's a strange color cast. On the whole though, I was happy to be able to salvage these photos. I played with them in some editing software to improve the look a bit. Some examples:

    At the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY. The car was in motion so it's a little blurred.

    Getting ready for a Corvette convoy

  10. #10
    Flashaholic N10's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default Re: Argus Cameras: Anyone remember these or seen one?

    those pictures look okay...fairly typical for expired film. If you don't like the weird colors, you can always convert those pictures to monochrome.
    in terms of lightmeter app, I sometimes use the "lightmeter free" one and find it to be more or less reasonable in accuracy. won't replace an actual lightmeter but sort of works.

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