Monday, March 28, 2016

Argus A-Series Resources

The U.S. patent for the original Argus A showed C.A. Verschoor as the
 inventor, but the drawings and the design were surely the work of Gustave Fassin.

Literature on the Argus A cameras is not as copious as that for the later C3, but there are still some excellent resources available for learning about the first Argus cameras and their use.

1.   Glass, Brass & Chrome: The American 35mm Miniature Camera by Kalton C. Lahue and Joseph A. Bailey includes a good historical overview of the development of the Argus cameras. While the book's editing leaves something to be desired, 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 A lengthy preview of the book is available on line through Google Books.

2.   35mm For the Proletariat: A Modern User's Guide to the Argus A/A2 Camera by Hrad Kuzyk is a welcome recent addition to Argus lore . The author, improbably, took his ancient Argus A along on a 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

3.   Complete disassembly instructions for the Argus ILEX Precise shutter is available at the Camera Collecting and Restoration web site. Most Argus A cameras will not require that level of intervention, but the well-illustrated, step-by-step procedures provide the ultimate resource for the worst-case scenario.

4.  All the A-Series Argus cameras are illustrated on a page at the Argus Collectors Group site

5.  View the Argus A2F User Manual.

All of my A-Series photographs have been made with the Argus AF and the Argus A2F cameras.

 And, here is the real me, exposed at arm's length by the Argus A2F:


JR Smith said...

So nice to see posts here again. One of my favorite blog spots!

Mike said...

Much of what I am posting is recycled from my now-abandoned web site. I'm trying to beef up the info with more personal experiences. I have come up with a few new ideas to explore, and I also have a few new photo projects in the works.

Dan Coakley said...


This is all very interesting and I would like to hear more. I am quite interested in the Argus A series of cameras for actual modern day use.Any advice will be appreciated. I have heard that the lens "speed" might have been a bit optimistic. I have several A series cameras. This includes a CC ColorCamera with a meter that works and is reasonably accurate.
I also collect and use folding plate cameras (that were converted to cut film along time ago).
These are mostly German made.

Dan Coakley

Mike said...

Hi, Dan.
Always pleased to find another Argus fan. I had a lot of fun with the Argus A cameras. They turned out to be a lot more capable of making good images than they were generally given credit for when I first started playing with them.

I'm not likely to do any more shooting with my Argus A cameras. I think the best place to find current info on their use is probably the Argus Camera Group at Flickr. (