Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Argus Model M

I was surprised to find myself the only bidder at eBay on a pair of late '30s Argus cameras, an Argus AF and a Model M.  Either one alone seemed worth the $20 I paid for the two together.

I was particularly pleased with the diminutive Model M because it has the 3-element Anastigmat lens.

The 828 roll film used in the Model M hasn't been made for a long time.  Luckily, the film is the same width as 35mm film.  I just taped over the two windows on the camera back, and then rolled some Kentmere 100 onto the little spools without any backing and inserted it in the camera in a dark bag.

Although the camera looks nearly perfect, it turned out to have some problems.  The pictures from the first roll were all out of  focus, and the negatives were riddled with light leak streaks.    I disassembled the camera and found that the spongy packing in the collapsible lens mount was deteriorated and loose.  The packing material was both letting some light by, and it also prevented the lens from fully extending to the proper focal length.  I removed the lens mount packing material, reassembled the camera and loaded up another roll of Kentmere.  The extended mount seemed to be making a good seal, but I layed on some black tape just in case.

The second roll looks fine.  The Kentmere is pretty grainy stuff, but the photos still show the good resolution and interesting tonal values that I was hoping to get from the lens.

I'm looking forward to trying some other film in the Model M, perhaps some Acros or TMAX 100.  I've also ordered a couple rolls of forty-year-old 828 Verichrome Pan, so that should be interesting too.


Jim Grey said...

Sweet. The vignetting on those images feels appropriate somehow. I'm very much looking forward to seeing how the 828 Verichrome Pan turns out.

Mike said...

The images are very similar to what I got from my Argus AF and A2F cameras.

I have a roll of Kentmere now in my Delco 828, which is a later and simpler version of the Model M.

robert said...

The model m has a unique style, it looks like an old table cigarette lighter I recall from my grandparents house. Nice set of photos and subject matter from that old beauty.

Mike said...

Regarding the vignetting, I think it is not the lens which is pretty nice. It seems unlikely that Argus would have gone to the trouble of calculating a lens formula with no apparent aberrations and not made it capable of covering the frame. My guess is that the darkening seen in the corners of the full-frame images is a shadow from the large spring which holds the lens mount firmly in the extended position. The pictures from the AF and A2F models show the same vignetting, and they also have a large spring in the lens barrel.

Julio F said...

Beautiful. I hope you would roll some 35mm perf stuff into that camera.