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ArgusArgus C3

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Camera rarity (Very common. Votes: 13)

1939-1966. 35mm rangefinder camera. Known as "brick". Several variations of wind knob, accessory clip and name plates. During the years it was manufactured, it was the best selling 35mm camera, around 2 million cameras were sold.
There were a couple of hundred models refurbished in 1998, which could cost a little more.

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Argus: Argus C3 camera

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Camera sales and other sources with added premiums,
converted and inflation-adjusted prices:
Date
Condition Price
 2017-12-05
 5F
 $13
 2013-05-22
 5G
 $21
 2003-02-28
 B
 $59
 2002-01-01
 B
 ~$17
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by smokey_hathaway » Wed Oct 21, 2009 8:44 pm

leave me a message if interested in purchasing the camera with full bag and lenses and bulbs range finder
smokey_hathaway@yahoo.com

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by faxonpr » Thu Oct 22, 2009 5:42 am

Which lenses, camera. At what price? Got a picture of this?

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by Madd10 » Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:34 am

Typically these cameras fetch higher prices in Europe as opposed to the US.

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by bill339 » Sun May 07, 2017 11:03 am

The Argus C3 was a low-priced rangefinder camera mass-produced from 1939 to 1966 by Argus in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. The camera was the best-selling 35mm camera in the world for nearly three decades, and helped popularize the 35mm format. Due to its shape, size, and weight, it is commonly referred to as "The Brick" by photographers (in Japan its nickname translates as "The Lunchbox"). The most famous 20th century photographer who used it was Tony Vaccaro, who employed this model during World War II
The C3 was constructed primarily of Bakelite plastic and metal castings. The design featured an unusual and simplistic diaphragm shutter built into the camera body, so the camera could make use of interchangeable lenses without the need for a complex focal plane shutter. The rangefinder utilized a separate viewfinder from that of the regular viewfinder and was coupled to the lens through a series of gears located on the outside of the camera body. The profusion of knobs, gears, buttons, levers, and dials on the camera lent it a "scientific" look that was found in customer surveys to be one of the things buyers most liked about the camera.
By virtue of its low price and reputation for rugged durability the Argus C3 managed to outlast most of its American competition and fend off precision German-built cameras and the cheap high quality Japanese cameras that began to enter the American market in the 1950s. But eventually the design simply became too outdated and clumsy and production ended in 1966 after sales had slumped. Interestingly, sales of the C3 had slumped many times during its production life, and each time Argus announced they were going to discontinue the camera, dealers and photographers would rush to buy what they believed to be the last of the cameras, leading Argus to reverse their decision to end production several times.
It has been argued the Argus C3 is responsible for popularizing the use of 35mm film, and considering the long production run and the high number of Argus C3 cameras made, this may very well be true, especially in its native United States.
Although the design is now over 75 years old, the C3 retains a strong following due to its simplicity and durability, as well as nostalgia value. Used C3s are cheap and plentiful, and their simple construction makes them relatively easy to repair.

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