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Finished Restoring my 1958 Matchmatic C3
Old 10-22-2014   #1
eckmanmj
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Finished Restoring my 1958 Matchmatic C3

I got this Matchmatic C3 from a garage sale, and the body was in fair condition, but the optics, rangefinder, and viewfinder were all very dirty. Like most old C3s, everything was stiff, but functional.

So I used several of the many good tutorials online and tore the camera apart and did a full CLA.

For those of you who have taken a C3 apart, its not hard, but I still managed to screw a couple of things up. So I ended up having to get a donor Matcmatic off ebay to take some of the parts.

During the process, I was unable to remove the stock leather(ette) without tearing it to shreds, so I had to look for a replacement.

I found www.cameraleather.com and ordered a two tone skin since a color matching replacement for the stock tan/black combination was not available. I should mention that Morgan from Camera Leather said they could possibly tint their pebbled leatherette to match the stock color of the Matchmatic, but by that point, I decided I wanted to go with a completely different color altogether.

Since C3s arent worth much, even restored ones like this one, I wasn't too concerned with color accuracy.

So anyway, today I put the final touches on the camera. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. I havent run any film through the camera, so theres still a chance that I messed something up during the tear down, but I really dont think so. Having a spare C3 to compare to helps a lot.

My review of the Camera Leather skin is excellent. The quality is very high and the cut is spot on perfect. Almost too perfect as a matter of fact. There is absolutely zero room for error. My advice for anyone doing this is to use some type of mild soap and water spray and gently spray the surface of the camera before applying the leatherette. This is the same method you use to put screen protectors on smartphones and I think it would have allowed me to make some fine adjustments.

Okay, okay, so you probably just want to see some pictures. Here you go!







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Old 10-22-2014   #2
Ranchu
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Really nice work, I'm awaiting a C3 myself! John Goodman had a tip for attaching adhesive sheets, use purell hand sanitizer (100% no fragrance etc), works great!
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Old 10-22-2014   #3
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Fantastic!
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Old 10-22-2014   #4
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Beautiful! Can't wait to see some photos from it!
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Old 10-22-2014   #5
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That looks fantastic!
But, just like a fine car restoration we all really need to see the BEFORE pictures of what it started out like.
I really like the blue by the way.
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Old 10-22-2014   #6
eckmanmj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlwaysOnAuto View Post
That looks fantastic!
But, just like a fine car restoration we all really need to see the BEFORE pictures of what it started out like.
I really like the blue by the way.
Thanks for the compliments everyone. I had this thing sitting on my desk in pieces for about a month before I had the time to fully clean it and put it back together. If any of you want to do something similar yourself, I highly recommend www.cameraleather.com. They do not specifically have a two tone kit for the C3, you have to email them and specifically ask for it. There is no extra charge, however. The price with shipping is the same as had I gotten an all blue or whatever color I wanted.

Before I tore it apart, it looked like any other run of the mill Matchmatic C3, except dirty. It was kept in a case for a very long time, so there was a round indentation on the back in the same spot where the snap was. The viewfinder and rangefinder were completely cloudy. Now its as clear as the day the camera was made.

I used 3 in 1 oil to lube everything. The shutter was surprisingly clean and other than dust it off with a soft brush, I didn't need to do anything to the shutter.

I will say that although I am extremely pleased with the blue leatherette, these pictures make it look a little brighter than it appears in person. Sitting here on my desk next to me, as I type this, the leatherette is a dark blue. I think a combination of the outside light, along with a fill flash, it brought out the blue to make it more vivid than it appears in person.
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Old 10-22-2014   #7
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Great job on the restoration. These later C3 models (the Matchmatic and the Standard) are the nicest of the C3 line.

I recently did a general cleaning and RF readjustment for a 1961 production C3 Standard, in which everything was working well enough to not necessitate a complete CLA at this point. Seeing your pictures of the new covering on your camera, I may decide to go ahead and pop it open and get it serviced. How long did it take to receive the new covering after your payment was sent?

Be sure you get out and shoot some pics with that Matchmatic! When testing out my Standard, it was surprising to see the decent lens performance. I figured Argus quality control at this point in their history would be somewhat lax, but that camera has one nice Cintar!
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Old 10-23-2014   #8
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That looks extremely nice!

Has anyone found a good match for the original tan/beige leather? I realise that's incredibly boring but here in the UK Matchmatics are like hen's teeth, and I'd like to refurbish mine as is. Now were I to get another one...

Thanks,

Adrian
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Old 10-23-2014   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by burninfilm View Post
Great job on the restoration. These later C3 models (the Matchmatic and the Standard) are the nicest of the C3 line.

I recently did a general cleaning and RF readjustment for a 1961 production C3 Standard, in which everything was working well enough to not necessitate a complete CLA at this point. Seeing your pictures of the new covering on your camera, I may decide to go ahead and pop it open and get it serviced. How long did it take to receive the new covering after your payment was sent?

Be sure you get out and shoot some pics with that Matchmatic! When testing out my Standard, it was surprising to see the decent lens performance. I figured Argus quality control at this point in their history would be somewhat lax, but that camera has one nice Cintar!
I agree the Matchmatics definitely look cool, and even though the selennium meter isnt accurate anymore, I like keeping it on there because it makes the camera look more "scientific"!

But I will say, I actually wish I had restored a later C3 Standard. It has the better designed lens (IMO), but it doesnt use the silly Matchmatic "scene" system. I understand why Argus did it, but I wish my shutter speed dial and aperture ring actually showed shutter speeds and f stops rather than 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 that mean nothing.

I paid for the skin through Paypal, and it took about 8-9 days to receive it in the mail. They do not keep these skins in stock. When you order one, they make it "your way right away" like Burger King! But that does add a bit to the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muggins View Post
That looks extremely nice!

Has anyone found a good match for the original tan/beige leather? I realise that's incredibly boring but here in the UK Matchmatics are like hen's teeth, and I'd like to refurbish mine as is. Now were I to get another one...

Thanks,

Adrian
Adrian,

Based on my limited research, no, there are no companies making an identical kit to match the Matchmatic's tan leather. However, email Morgan at www.cameraleather.com. He said that he was pretty confident he could tint their leather to very closely match that tan color. I never ended up taking him up on his offer, but he seemed confident it would be very close.
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Old 10-23-2014   #10
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Beautiful work!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eckmanmj View Post
...but I wish my shutter speed dial and aperture ring actually showed shutter speeds and f stops rather than 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 that mean nothing.
I have one Matchmatic and it's really not too hard to figure out the numbers. The shutter speeds are 1/10-1/300 just like the five speed standard C3's, and the aperture range is f/3.5-f/16, so...

Shutter
4=1/10
5=1/30 (flashbulb sync)
6=1/50
7=1/100
8=1/300

Aperture
3.5=f/3.5
4=f/4
5=f/5.6
6=f/8
7=f/11
8=f/16

One other thing you may or may not know. If you rotate your shutter cocking lever 180 degrees (re-locking it with the lock-nut) it'll stay out of the way of your fingers better.
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Old 10-23-2014   #11
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Just to add to the above, with use it's pretty easy to remember which shutter speed & aperture correspond to which number. Furthermore, the Matchmatic's aperture and shutter numbers are simply a derivation of the EV system, which is actually pretty handy if your meter reads in EVs.

To anyone restoring a Matchmatic C3 and wants to retain the tan covering, it is usually possible to safely lift away parts of the tan section (so the front plate screws can be accessed on the front) with the right tools and some patience. Try not to remove the whole piece or just peel off the covering, and instead focus on scraping the covering away from the front plate using toothpicks, a razor blade, wooden/plastic scrapers, Exacto knife, a little adhesive solvent, etc. Of course, this is assuming the tan section is still serviceable (i.e. not damaged or dried out/curled too badly). The black section in the middle at the top is typically the only piece that gets damaged while removing the covering, and it can be easily replaced.

The back covering on the Matchmatic and Standard is usually in nice condition, other than the typical round depression caused by the button on the leather case. So if you can manage to get the front covering off in one piece, it should be possible to completely service the camera AND return it to it's original appearance.
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Old 11-01-2014   #12
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That's a very nice shade of blue. I was in a crafts store tonight looking at various materials to use in camera restoration, and really liked the paper collection they had. If only some of that was in vinyl. Most of the leather they had was too thick, though some that looked almost a match for the Matchmatic might be usable.

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Old 11-21-2014   #13
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Thumbs up

Your restored C3 looks fabulous. Love the blue covering.
I have an old C3 (1939 ?) lying around, waiting for me to restore it.

Looking at your nicely restored camera makes me want to start on mine .
I was wondering how do you get the 'shiny parts' so bright and clean again, some sort of chrome polish perhaps ? I dont want to mess things up so I can use some advice.
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Old 11-24-2014   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jos58 View Post
Your restored C3 looks fabulous. Love the blue covering.
I have an old C3 (1939 ?) lying around, waiting for me to restore it.

Looking at your nicely restored camera makes me want to start on mine .
I was wondering how do you get the 'shiny parts' so bright and clean again, some sort of chrome polish perhaps ? I dont want to mess things up so I can use some advice.
Thankfully all of the metal on mine was in great shape. There is a website that allows you to date your Argus C3 by its serial number, and mine came back as a 1958 model, so being almost 20 years "newer" than yours, it hadn't deteriorated as badly.

I have seen some other C3s in much worse condition and if I had to guess, probably some automotive grade polish would work. Mothers or Meguiars always makes pretty decent polish. Get a small terry cloth (a washcloth would do) and use small dabs at a time to polish up the metal to a shine!

Good luck and if you get yours restored, make sure to post some pictures!
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Old 11-25-2014   #15
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Eckmanmj....could you post that website ?
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Old 11-25-2014   #16
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It is... BLUE!

Looks great, congrats on the work and I trust it's shooting nicely now!
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Old 11-27-2014   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFujicaman View Post
Eckmanmj....could you post that website ?
Its www.cameraleather.com The basic black leatherette is $10.50, but I got the Seal Grain Leather kit which is $14.00. They don't offer on the site a two-tone like I got. You have to email them and specifically ask for it, but the good news is, they don't charge you any extra. I paid $14 for the two tone kit, plus $2 for shipping. Its very well done and worth every penny!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwintle View Post
It is... BLUE!

Looks great, congrats on the work and I trust it's shooting nicely now!
Its actually MORE blue now! A friend of mine ordered a bunch of metal shutter release buttons and he had a blue one that he wasnt using, so he gave it to me. It screws into the cable release socket hole on the shutter button and gives a nice concave metal surface to rest your finger on. I like it, and yes, it is shooting nicely now!
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Old 11-28-2014   #18
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I think this was the site Mr. Fujicaman was referring to: http://photo.net/users/philster/Argu...gYourArgus.htm

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Old 11-30-2014   #19
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
I think this was the site Mr. Fujicaman was referring to: http://photo.net/users/philster/Argu...gYourArgus.htm

PF
Yeah that was the site I wanted.

I found out my C3 "Standard" was a 1961 baby

One of the other C3's was a 1957 baby and the other was a 1947 baby.
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Old 12-01-2014   #20
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Yes, that is a great site! Its too bad that there aren't sites like that for every vintage camera! I used the info on mine to determine mine was made in 1958. I've been able to date some of my oldest cameras using sites like that, but then I have cameras from the late 70s/early 80s that I can't find any dating info on. For example, I have a Nikon FM that could be from 1977-82.
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Old 12-12-2014   #21
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Here is a shot from my "new" C3 std purchased from burningfilm. Zero PP on the scan.A bit over exposed but the camera and lens were fine just my dumb sunny16 exposure. Focus was on the tree on the left.
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Old 12-17-2014   #22
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Thanks for sharing the pic! Its always nice to see what these old cameras are capable of!
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