Argus C3 – week 45 results

The Argus C3 earned the nickname “the brick” with its styling and weight. While I cannot disagree, I find that it has the ergonomics of a brick as well.

Actually, that’s unfair to the brick. Bricks are perfectly shaped for their purpose. The C3 applies the ergonomics of masonry to photography and is a poorer camera for it.

I don’t dispute its history or it’s important position as one of the first affordable 35mm rangefinders. Not everyone could afford a Leica III, and the Argus strove to bring some of those features to the mass market. It succeeded, but only in the way a Model T is a copy of a Mercedes Benz. Same basic features, much different feeling.

Everything on this camera is completely manual. There are no interlocks. A knob winds the film; a small lever releases to wind for the next exposure, and a lever on the front cocks the shutter. If you forget any one of the three your shot will be ruined. Aperture is set with a small ring inside the front of the lens; shutter speed is a wheel on the front of the camera; adjusting either requires turning the camera around to face yourself. I find that if I don’t hold it exactly right, the shutter cocking lever whacks me in the knuckles when it releases.

If you can get past the clumsiness, it does take nice pictures.

Just after I took this one, a gentleman recognized the C3 and inquired about it. It does have that going for it.


Overall, I like the C3. I do have to be in a certain mood to enjoy carrying it though.

Tri-X 400, developed at home in D76 1+1.