Camera Reviews

Argus C3 photos

I dropped a roll of film into my Argus C3 in August and it took me until last week to finish shooting the roll. I think that means I didn’t enjoy the experience very much. And I was really looking forward to using this camera.

Argus C3

My C3 dates to 1945 or early 1946 and so was among the last with the old-timey f-stop scale of 4.5, 6.3 9, 12.7, and 18. Since my skill is limited to the Sunny 16 rule, and f/16 isn’t marked on this camera, I was setting it a hair left of f/18 and hoping for the best. It didn’t work; most of my photos came out poorly exposed. I tried to fix them in post-processing.

Slide, Holliday Park

This photo of a PT Cruiser I rented while my car was in the shop also came out underexposed:

PT Cruiser

Typical of me, I dove into this camera without learning how to use it first, and it took me a while to get the hang of it. I didn’t know, for example, that before winding you have to release the film catch, a little lever on top of the camera. I figured it out after the winder tore through the film’s sprockets, crinkling the film on a couple shots. This photo shows it best, though the subject isn’t too exciting.


I had much better luck with wide shots in bright sunlight. I washed some comforters at the laundromat one sunny afternoon and I brought the C3 along to photograph suburbia’s trappings. The police were next door “code 7” as they used to say on Adam-12.

The cops gotta eat sometime

I could have moved in closer here, but the colors are good.

Gas pump

So my C3 wasn’t a joy to use, and because of my meager skills I ended up with few decent shots. I am sure that as I practice shooting with my old cameras I’ll get better results. And before I try out my next old camera, probably my Kodak Retinette, I think I’ll rummage around the Internet for a manual and read it.

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11 thoughts on “Argus C3 photos

  1. Lone Primate says:

    You can probably bring out the detail in those scans in Photoshop, though. It’s amazing the things that are in some shots if you can just bring up the range.

  2. LP, yeah, I’ve got PSP 11 here; I do intend to play with the images there. I did use the Picnick tool within Flickr on most of the images and that made a huge amount of difference.

      • It came in the original box with receipt, so I suspect it’s just an old smell. The camera itself seems pretty good, though ergonomically challenging.

        • I find them to be ergonomically unrewarding. I have lost all desire to shoot mine again. I have three, which is about three too many, I think.

        • To be honest, I simply like the look of them. They are not nicknamed ‘The Brick’ for nothing! It will be a while before I use it. I have too many other old cameras and lenses to get through first. We share that interest it seems.

  3. I just finished running a roll through my 1946 C3. It’s not a comfortable camera, my fingers kept getting in the way of the shutter cocking lever and the rangefinder window is tiny. Ergonomics aside, I loved the pictures it produced. When I was winding the roll I made the comment that I probably wouldn’t pick it up again. Instead I performed a full CLA and am waiting on new leatherette.

      • I had one that only worked @ 1/300. After soaking the shutter and the little clockwork shutter speed assembly in lighter fluid it worked flawlessly. They are incredibly simple cameras to restore and much more fun to shoot with clean optics.

        Speaking of optics, I’m in Indy if you would ever like to try the 35mm sandmar out. I had the 100mm sandmar as well but sadly threw it away due to fungus.

        • Lighter fluid. Is there nothing it can’t fix? :-)

          I have one C3 I haven’t shot yet. Maybe I should get it out and give it a go. I haven’t enjoyed the usability of these cameras but maybe I haven’t given them enough of a chance.

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