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1938 Argus C2 with pre-Cintar lens
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:51 pm    Post subject: 1938 Argus C2 with pre-Cintar lens Reply with quote



A bargain off of ebay for $3. The serial number indicates that this was the 730th C2 made in 1938.

It's a bit of a hodge-podge though. The camera was probably sent back to the factory after WWII to have the rangefinder serviced. Since the early C series rangefinders are different from those made from the early 40s onward, this meant that an entire postwar rangefinder assembly, and lens board had to be fitted. On very early cameras the back and front were polished aluminum, so while the original back has tarnished, the postwar front which is chromed has remained shiny.

The lens however is especially interesting:


In 1939 Argus purchased Graf and began to manufacture their own lenses, those marked with the Cintar name. Prior to that they sourced lenses from a variety of sources. Bausch and Lomb, Graf, Wollensak... (maybe Ilex? they got shutters from Ilex anyway).

I don't know who was responsible for this particular one, but it does have an interesting aperture:


The blades are cut to form a perfect circle at the smaller apertures, but this creates odd shapes at larger apertures.

Unfortunately the shutter is a bit sticky on this camera, so I may test the lens on one of my later C3s. An interesting point about the C series lenses is that each was was collimated for its particular camera body at the factory and the lenses are not really interchangeable between cameras without adjustment.

This has always puzzled me because the postwar Sandmar wide angles and telephotos are interchangeable but don't need to be collimated for a particular camera body. Confused


PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like all pre-war items older is better Laughing I don't have any clue about these cams, just in general 35mm wasn't so good before war if they were mass produced. Are you willing to try out this cam ?


PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The shutter sticks at speeds below an indicated 1/100 - which looks like it is firing at 1/50th. So I probably won't run film through this camera. But I'll probably try the lens out on my other, postwar C3.


PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mos6502 wrote:
The shutter sticks at speeds below an indicated 1/100 - which looks like it is firing at 1/50th. So I probably won't run film through this camera. But I'll probably try the lens out on my other, postwar C3.


Try it, I am very curious, 1/50 is fine with tripod. If you have a working one that is perfect also.


PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An interesting brick you have there.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:07 pm    Post subject: Re: 1938 Argus C2 with pre-Cintar lens Reply with quote

Mos6502 wrote:
... An interesting point about the C series lenses is that each was was collimated for its particular camera body at the factory and the lenses are not really interchangeable between cameras without adjustment.

This has always puzzled me because the postwar Sandmar wide angles and telephotos are interchangeable but don't need to be collimated for a particular camera body. Confused


I read the same about Russian rangefinder lenses.

To illustrate this, my Polish brother-in-law has a 60's Fed and the passport gives the precise back focus distance for the combination of that particular camera and lens combination (both serials are listed). Another passport in his possession for a Zorki and its Industar lens (now long gone) is different by a few hundredths of a millimetre yet they're interchangeable.


PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting !
I haven's seen an example of the earliest units before.
The interchangeable lens feature on the Argus was of only academic interest until the late 1940's as there really weren't any alternate lenses for them. There was a prewar 75mm by Bausch&Lomb but it was very rare.

The problem of collimation between lenses on this seems a pretty moot point. I have opened C3 rangefinders and there is enough uncertainty there because of play in the mechanism, plus user problems with the split screen and the need to switch from the RF to the viewfinder, to give the focus considerable randomness. The whole system would never have been adequate for open aperture portrait work with an f/1.5 lens. I also wouldn't trust these to give perfect infinity with the lens at f/3.5.


PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I sold it on to a collector who also said it was very interesting. I also had the B&L 75mm but sold that too. I probably shouldn't have since I didn't get enough for it IMO but I doubted I would ever use it.