The Argus C3 Matchmatic is a hefty camera made during the years 1958-66. It is affectionately known as the Brick, which makes sense when you hold it – it’s really heavy. Interesting points? It’s a rangefinder camera, which means you can use the rangefinder to be sure that your photo will be in focus, unlike using a focus ring, where you would have to estimate the distance and set the dial to 1m, 2m, etc. The rangefinder works by looking through one of the viewfinders on the back of the camera. The image will most likely show up as double. You then turn the focus dial until the image sharpens to a single image. The guesswork is taken out of it: it’s in focus!
I found this camera on eBay with the flash, a case, a selenium light meter, 8 flash bulbs, and a hard shell case to put everything in. My fiance, Matthew, was dead set on winning the bid since it had so many accessories. Unfortunately, when we received it, we realized that the light meter wasn’t working. Turns out, that was to be expected since light meters from this time don’t have a long shelf life and are not worth the trouble to fix. Too bad, because with both a rangefinder and a light meter, we might actually get a perfect roll.
The aperture and shutter dials are confusingly labeled. As a shortcut to actually listing the speeds and F numbers, they are listed as numbers 4 to 8. If you want a shutter speed of 1/60, you have to remember that it is setting #6. If you want 1/125th, set the dial to #7, and F/11 is #7 on the aperture dial, for example. I have to carry a screen shot of the manual to remember the codes.
The codes and their corresponding aperture and shutter values are:
3 1/2: F/3.5
4: 1/10 sec
5: 1/30 sec
6: 1/60 sec
7: 1/125 sec
8: 1/300 sec
I have also included in the gallery below a screen shot of the relevant page in the manual.
Matthew actually took the shots on this roll of film. Since he really liked the look of the camera and was responsible for the bidding process on eBay, the camera is unofficially his. Most of them are overexposed because, as with the Smena, we used my iPhone as a light meter and it led us astray with almost every shot.
Fun fact: In the second Harry Potter movie, The Chamber of Secrets, the character Colin Creevey uses an Argus C3 Matchmatic, which saves him from the Basilisk!
Camera: Argus C3 Matchmatic
Film: Kodak Elitechrome EBX100 35mm cross processed slide film