Sunday, September 06, 2009

Argus Reading List

Glass, Brass & Chrome: The American 35mm Miniature Camera
Kalton C. Lahue and Joseph A. Bailey

This is an excellent general history of American-made cameras, published in 1972. There are substantial treatments of the Argus A and C lines. The book is well researched and well-written. The editing is another story; it may be the worst I have come across, with lengthy footnotes spread over multiple pages that make following the story a challenge at times. The great virtue of the book is that the authors write from personal experience, providing real insights into the features and foibles of the cameras discussed. Used copies can be found on line for as little as $10, though first editions can go for as much as $200; check A lengthy preview of the book is available on line through Google Books.

Entering Germany: 1944-1949
Tony Vaccaro

Vaccaro, a WWII soldier carried his Argus C3 with him into Germany to record the end of the war there. I found a mention of this Taschen book in the Argus Camera Photographers Group on Flickr. A quick check at turned up a copy for less than eight dollars, so I couldn't pass that up. I'll report back once I have it in hand.

35mm For the Proletariat: A Modern User's Guide to the Argus A/A2 Camera
Hrad Kuzyk

This well-written book is an astounding labor of love by Kuzhk, who took his ancient Argus on a recent tour of duty in Iraq. I had it in the back of my mind to get an Argus A for a long time, and this book pushed me over the edge. As the author explains in his preface:

"This book is intended to be a user's guide, not a collector's guide. As such, it does not concern itself with current street value, scarcity, condition rating, or other such collector-related information. While there is much of this text of interest to a collector of Argus cameras, this book concentrates predominantly on those issues that would be of importance to a user."

Some features of the A-model Argus are not very intuitive, so this guide is a big help in getting started with the camera. The excellent illustrations of repair procedures just about guarantee that nearly any Argus A can be made functional. The book is available in its entirety on line as a pdf file at

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