I have had 3 different types of Argus C3 for a couple months now, the Matchmatic (Without the Meter) is the newest and fanciest of them all. I’ve used it plenty of times, and it works extremely well, and sharp. I’ve been thinking about this. If a Leica is like a Rolls Royce or the Mercedes Sedan of range finders, what would the Argus C3 be ? And I finally got the answer.
“If a Leica RF is a Rolls Royce, that would make an Argus C3 a Jeep.”
Now you may ask, Why?!
It is simple, it is effective, it is tough even though they might not be the best looking cameras.
– There are millions more C3 than any particular Leica Model.
-At 110F or at 10F, it works just the same
-You can bang on it, or drop it and you won’t cry about it.
– Bakelite is a lot tougher than you think
– Because of their simplicity, they last FOREVER.
The design is so simple you don’t even need light seals on a C3
Alright now I will give you a quick rundown on the specification.
– Shutter speed: B – 1/300 (Seamless) Mechanical Shutter
– You wind (Direct Drive) and cock the shutter separately.
– Interchangeable Lens Mount.
– Super Bright Rangefinder (Separate 50mm RF and 50mm VF Window)
– Film Counter
You may ask “Doesn’t that sound primitive?”
Well, 1/300 sec. may not be that fast, but it’s faster than a Prontor Shutter in those Voigtlander VFs. And if you think about it, the shutter on the OM 35RC only goes to about 1/350, even though it says 1/500 on the dial. So you’re a little bit more than half step off 1/500. The rangefinder might be a separate window and small, but its ridiculously bright. It’s like using a split prism finder. And what’s with this winding and cocking separately? Well, first, this is much more simple so less can go wrong mechanically. That also means you can do multiple exposures with the C3.
What about the lenses?
Opinions vary, but the one that makes most sense is: The lens design is actually fine, they are decently (In my opinion, pretty damn) sharp, if they were made correctly. However, due to poorer quality control than Leica, lens sharpness on an Argus, well, it depends solely on your luck.
Finally, I have to say, I think I must be a lucky person! My Argus Sandmar is STUPIDLY SHARP!