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Argus RF Forum for Argus RF nuts. The American made Argus C-3 may be the most prolific rangefinder, with over 3 million cameras produced! While American RF nutz of the 1950's may have yearned for a Leica, Zeiss, Canon or Nikon, most of them used an Argus !

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Aarrrgh-us C3
Old 12-06-2016   #1
Timmyjoe
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Aarrrgh-us C3

I love old rangefinders, and my father-in-law always talked about the old Argus he had back in the 1950's. So I thought I'd try to find one, maybe clean it up, and give it to him for Christmas. And to be honest, I also wanted to try shooting one.

So I found one on the auction site that looked in decent shape. Got it, was thrilled to find the lens in pretty good shape, no fungus, only small chip in front element, and very little haze. So I did a CLA on the lens and camera, cleaned up all the viewfinder/rangerfinder elements, cleaned the shutter, got new skin, got it all back together and ready to load film. Did one last shutter speed test to make sure the speeds were in the ballpark, and on about the fifth shot, the shutter locks open. Thought maybe I'd missed a film chip when I had the camera open (there were quite a few film chips when I first opened it up) and maybe one of them was jamming the shutter. Opened it up, even took the shutter back out to be sure, all clean. Then I noticed this little piece of pot metal behind the shutter disc. Busted. D#*n!!



Anyone have a source for these? I could make one out of brass, but I'm afraid the extra weight might throw off the shutter timing.

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-Tim
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Old 12-06-2016   #2
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Bummer.

Maybe someone here will have a parts C3 they can send you.
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Old 12-06-2016   #3
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Since the C3 was the highest production camera of its type, their are plenty of donors out there. Almost every antique mall in the US has one or two somewhere on the shelves. The antique mall in Gurney, IL, used to have a booth with nothing but cameras. (I bought an Argus SLR in perfect working order there.) But I haven't been there in a while.
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Old 12-06-2016   #4
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Looking at this part, and where it broke, and knowing the spring forces on it, the design is a weak link in the shutter assembly. What I was wondering is if this is a common breakage on these cameras, as so many listed on the auction site mention shutter problems, and I hesitate in buying more if this part is broken or about to break in all of them.
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Old 12-06-2016   #5
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Just found this, so I guess it's not that uncommon.

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/clas...tml?1261323119

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-Tim
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Old 12-06-2016   #6
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I've never seen that happen and I've been in a half dozen C3s. I don't think it is that common. Find a $5 one on ebay and harvest for parts.
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Old 12-07-2016   #7
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Well, I was able to make a new part in the shop, had to do a slight modification to the camera body, but now it's back together and working like brand new.

Alls well that ends well I guess.

Best,
-Tim

PS: One of the last things I did when I finished with the camera was collimate the lens. I was blown away by how sharp and contrasty that old lens from 1954 turned out to be. Amazing.
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Old 12-09-2016   #8
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Shot a quick roll. Some focus issues at distance, but not bad for a sixty year old camera with a busted shutter.

My long suffering buddy Pedro who lets me take his picture whenever I'm testing a camera:



And playing with light and silhouette:



It's an interesting camera to experiment with. Actually tracked down my father-in-law's original camera and will present that to him on Christmas. This one will stay in the shop for playing around with.

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-Tim
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Old 12-09-2016   #9
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Good work on the C-3, and nice results too. I wish I had my Dad's C-3, but apparently he sold it a long time ago. I did get his CC though, but I need to rebuild it (the meter has been smashed, and they usually have terrible light leaks around the focus tube).

Seemed like every time I turned around, someone was giving me a C-3, until I accumulated eight more of them (besides the ones I already owned). Had to nip that in the bud before I had enough to build a wall.

Some folks like to flip the middle lens element of the 50/3.5 Cintar for that "center sharp-outer unfocused" look. I did that for a friend of mine, but he keeps shooting it stopped down, which ruins the effect.

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Old 12-17-2016   #10
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Thanks PF.

Here she is all finished. Before I made the replacement piece in the shop, I bought another auction camera to use for parts, and was interested in the 35mm lens (my preferred focal length). The camera came and was a mess (shutter rusted) and the lens was actually in pieces with quite a bit of internal haze. Was able to get it apart, cleaned up, and decided to use it on the camera instead of the 50mm.



It's a nice set up.

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-Tim
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Old 12-17-2016   #11
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Looks good, Tim. Now you need the clip-on viewfinder for the 35/100.

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