Argus C3

This review is out of control. It’s nearing springtime and I need to weed it and trowel the rows. I’m not one for thinning my seedlings however so, if you’re going to read this, you’re going to suffer. I think it’s turning into my quest for World Peace, rather than an actual Argus review. My Argus C3 journey. An experiment in building world peace one brick at a time.

Here’s a retro review for you!

Argus Cameras. They’re everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I’m referring to those square black bricks. We could all redo our house foundations with ‘em. Better yet, I think I’ll build an Argus Barbecue. I should have bought one a long time ago (a C3, not a barbecue). You know why? Because they look cool when worn with that sort of 60’s / 70’s retro look.

Here’s my C3 story: I was in a junk store called The Junk Store (duh). They didn’t appear to have any cameras, so I started to leave. Just as my hand touched the door handle, a voice behind me asked, “Looking for anything in particular?” We got to talking about old cameras. She brought a bag out from the back room – junk stores always have a back room. Hmmm … just Argus’. So, there I was, standing in the middle of an awkward silence. Maybe I felt awkward because I’d used her bathroom or something, I don’t remember. She’s looking at me with that do-you-want-it-or-don’t-you look. So, I bought it. It didn’t cost much and now I could leave.

What I ended up with were two cameras. One with a 50mm lens, the other one had a 100mm lens. Two types of light meters (more barbecue decorations?), tons of lens attachments and filters, anti static brushes, a lens cleaning kit and some nifty old film canisters. The bag it all came in has really grown on me. Brown leather. Very worn, but not falling apart worn. It looks like something Indiana Jones would carry. 

I took the camera with the 100mm on a snow shoe trip. The settings recommended by the hand held meters seem to be right on. The camera doesn’t focus well on closer subjects (but I’m of the genre that believes F64 is SO over). Either that, or I’m doing something wrong. These cameras are a bit beat, so I’m sure it’s their fault, not mine. There’s a little lever on the front of the camera that cocks the shutter. It doesn’t cock automatically with each wind. This camera is very user interactive. I mean, not only is there the manual shutter-cocking to deal with, but you also have to push a button next to the counter to release it when you want to advance to the next frame. It’s like a winder lock you can’t turn off. It has to be released, though, just as the film begins to advance, so the film will stop on the next frame. Otherwise, you’ll just wind and wind like a film winding fool. Not that that happened to me, or anything.

Click on any image for a larger view:

Snowshoeing at Mount Rainier, WA.
Snowshoeing at Mount Rainier, WA.


Snowshoeing at Mount Rainier, WA.


Snowshoeing at Mount Rainier, WA.


Snowshoeing at Mount Rainier, WA.

Silly Argus movies I made 100 years ago using a Sony Mavica. The Mavica accepted floppy disks and you could make a 15 second movie before you filled the disk. Too funny! : Movie 1: argus movie     Movie 2: argus movie3

UPDATE: Over the years, many C3s have passed through my hands … and landed in my drawers (ha!) and on my shelves. I’ve Gala-fied a few:

Gala Edition Argus C3


Gala Edition Argus C3
Gala Edition Argus C3


I believe this is the Sunset C3 I donated to the Argus Museum in Ann Arbor.


The Summertime C3


Many hummingbirds and flower adorn the Summertime C3


Backside of the Summertime C3 flash gun.


Backside of the Summertime C3 flash gun.


Summertime C3 flash gun.

I brought a C3 with me on a trip to the United Kingdom. This trip spurred something unexpected by me. I’m promoting world peace via junk store cameras. My goal is to pepper the world with junk store cameras. How can folks NOT want to smile and be happy? Why not shake hands, accept each other and dance the happy dance over receiving a free junk camera? Ya know … or not. I shot some photos with the C3 before I passed it on. WAY expired slide film. Expired E6 film. It ended up a bit thin.

Kingussie, Scotland
Kingussie, Scotland. By the way, have you seen that guy on Instagram who does art with a typewriter?


Trains, trains, trains…


Hull, England.


Liverpool, England


Largs, Scotland.


Largs, Scotland.


Argus C3, Weymouth, England.


Argus C3, Brighton Pier, England.


Brighton, England.


Brighton, England.

I left the camera in the capable hands of the proprietor of Mr. Magpie in Brighton, England. He had never seen one before and I was thrilled to receive, in return, a Purma Special Bakelight camera.

Mr. Magpie


The Argus C3 and Mr. Magpie.


I traded it for a Purma Special. Mmmmm…. Bakelite!

I guess all of this is just to say that my C3 adventure continues. In fact, it seems to be never ending.

Update 2020:  

Forging ahead with this idea of World Peace Through Junk Store Cameras … add one untested Argus C3 and some completely untested (by me) film. A most excellent combination to shoulder up, and head on off to Paris! I schlepped the combo around Paris and Brussels and did a terrible job of it and I LOVE the results! A complete Sunny 16 guesstimate, etc, as to exposure. An underexposing, soft focus camera, heavily grained film and Acufine:



Montmartre, Paris




Dyan, forever photographing food. Nighttime at a Brussels restaurant.




Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris


Père-Lachaise Cemetery , Paris.


Jim Morrison’s grave at Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris


Jim Morrison’s grave at Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris


Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.


At Père Lachaise Cemetery we stumbled across André Chabot’s mausoleum which includes a stone camera. I decided THIS is where I would leave the Argus C3. I also left a note and a roll of film.


The C3 documenting the spreading of Chrissy’s ashes at Notre Dame du Sablon, Brussels, Belgium.


At Jim Morrison’s grave at Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris


Leaving the C3 at André Sablon’s mausoleum, Père-Lachaise Cemetery, Paris.

Update 2021:  You know, I never heard anything regarding the note I placed in the Argus C3 I left at Pére Lachaise so I had to go back and do it again.

Two fisted champagne.
Being a tourist at the top of the Eiffel Tower with TWO glasses of champagne and a C3.

This time around I traded it at the Paris Flea Market, for a French made GAP box camera.

Trading cameras at the Paris Flea Market.

I took a few shots with it before I traded it. I am so sorry, but here are some more photos taken with the C3:

Paris, France.


Tillie. Paris, France.


In Paris they’re really friendly [not].
I don’t know what this building is, but it was really big and out of place.

Then there was that time I took a C3 on a World Peace tour to Portugal.

Looking straight up at someone’s laundry.


Lisbon, Portugal.


Prazeres Cemetery, Lisbon, Portugal


Prazeres Cemetery, Lisbon, Portugal


Prazeres Cemetery, Lisbon, Portugal


Those dang Lisbon cobblestones. On and on they go. I underexposed this man, but he was totally into the world peace thing.


Near the Feira Da Ladra flea market. Lisbon, Portugal.


Vasco da Gama Bridge. Lisbon, Portugal.


Gotta love “B”! Lisbon, Portugal.


Night time beco (alley) in Lisbon. Do not say “Bee-ko”. It’s pronounced “Bay-kú”. “Bee-ko” means “blow job”. I learned that the hard way.

I left that C3 with a couple of guys at the Feira Da Ladra market.

Then, I took a C3 on a World Peace crusade to Peru this past fall. You know what happened? I left and violence erupted. I’m just not convinced this world peace thing is a hit. I’m going to continue trying however.

Tourists. Cusco, Peru.


Sacred Valley, Peru.


Sacred Valley, Peru.


Where the hell was this?, Peru


Paracas, Peru


Sassy. A Peruvian Hairless Dog. Lima, Peru.


Barranco, Peru


Barranco, Peru


Cute Peruvian dog.


Aguas Calientes, Peru


Sacred Valley, Peru

I’m sorry but there’s more…

Paris -3-2023. Another world peace adventure. I took some pics around Paris with an Argus C3 before I traded it off.

Musée d’Orsay


Napoleon – some monument to that ice cream guy, I guess.




Cool, old French shit.


Paris Flea Market.


Up by Sacré Couer


Thrift store.


Paris flea market.


Sitting on the floor at the Paris Flea Market, trading cameras.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Zenith Comet Flash

Meet the Comet Flash Camera, proudly manufactured by the Zenith Camera Corporation in the comedy capital of cameras, Chicago. Picture this: it’s made of black

Read More »

Yashica MF-1

I love to travel and now that I have the time I’ve been doing it quite often. I don’t travel high on the hog, my

Read More »


I first thought this GAP camera could possibly be a relative of the Goldy as in”Goldstein A P”, or something like that. But it’s not.

Read More »


  Whenever I see a French word ending in “…if”, it gives me a flashback to my first visit to Paris. I made the rookie

Read More »

SEM Baby

I like to think I don’t have a “type”. I like colorful, little plastic cameras that make snapping noises. I like tin and Bakelite 127s.

Read More »

Mamiya U

Seriously? He was ALL HANDS! Super HANDy to use. If you’re not too picky about making decent images, the Mamiya U might be for “U”.

Read More »