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Argus A Manual

Manual provided by Jaye W, member Argus Collectors' Group
Web version originally created by James Surprenant

Service Policy and Guarantee

    The Argus Camera is guaranteed against defective material and workmanship for 90 days after shipment.  This guarantee is limited to the return of the camera to the factory with transportation charges prepaid, where any defects will be corrected and the camera returned with transportation charges prepaid.

    In order that Argus owners may be assured of low upkeep cost of our cameras, after expiration of the above guarantee, the factory will put in first class condition any Argus Camera shipped to them, with transportation charges prepaid, and return it prepaid to the owner for the sum of $1.00.  This policy is effective for one year from date of purchase.  This does not cover replacement of camera cases broken through misuse or cameras which have been abused. When writing the factory, please mention the model and serial number of your camera.

International Research Corporation
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.


Wide Selection of Film Available

    The Argus Camera uses 35 millimeter perforated motion picture film available in different styles of packing:
  1. Daylight loading cartridges-36 exposures.
  2. Daylight loading spools with paper leaders.
    • These spools fit empty cartridges above mentioned or the spools may be used in special daylight loading containers, which are much more satisfactory.
  3. Argus-Agfa 18 exposure roll.
  4. Bulk film in 25, 50, and 100 foot lengths which can be loaded in dark room in empty daylight spools.
  5. Dufaycolor and Kodachrome natural color film are available in daylight loading cartridges.
    All of the above types of black and white film are procurable in several different American and foreign brands and in many different emulsions for every conceivable use.

    For ease of loading and simplicity the daylight loading cartridges, type 1, are the best.  For economy, bulk film loaded at home is the least expensive-800 pictures per 100 feet costing $5.00 or less.

    In using type 2 daylight loading spools, insert spool in an empty cartridge leaving a little of the paper leader projecting out of the slot and after threading on to winding shaft wind off all the paper leader until the actual film perforations can be engaged in the sprocket before closing the camera.  The daylight cartridges protect the unexposed film during this process.  Do not tear off paper leaders as this will be needed for rewinding back on to the spool so cartridge can be opened and refilled with a similar spool in daylight.

    In using bulk film, type 3, Agfa film is supplied in bulk lengths notched at intervals, just sufficient to fill 36 exposure cartridges, and so the film can be torn off in the dark without further measuring.

    Failure to properly use daylight loading cartridges in which to house film spools will result in stripping pressure pad from cover.  Bulk film on ordinary spools cannot be successfully used unless enclosed in a daylight loading cartridge.  Any used cartridge that has not been bent or jammed can be used in which to house film on open spools.

    If you do your own developing save all daylight loading cartridges as they will come in handy.  The best way to open them without damage is to hold at the top, turn the cartridge over, and hammer knob on table until bottom is driven off.  Do not press in on side of cartridge.

    Your Argus dealer will advise you as to the best type of film to use for your particular purpose.  We recommend that the beginner use the slower panchromatic emulsions such as Agfa Finopan, Eastman Panatomic X, or DuPont Superior.  These are films with a wide exposure latitude which are recommended where extremely great enlargement (over 8" x 10") is required because of their fine grain qualities.

    For photographing indoors and under artificial light, such as in theaters, Eastman Super XX or Agfa Ultra Speed available in daylight loading cartridges should be used.  This film is faster than the other super-sensitive films and makes possible indoor candid shots.

To Load the Camera

1. Remove the back cover by pressing in catch until lip clears slot on cover and pulling out on tab.  (See illustration).

2. Pull rewind knob on bottom all the way out and insert film cartridge in right hand compartment with keyed end of spool down.  Then lock in place by pushing in rewind knob and turn until shaft is fully engaged on spool drive pin.

3. Pull strip of film out of cartridge and thread end through slot of winding shaft so it projects well through the shaft.  Then hold the film snugly along the film track with the fingers and turn shaft one revolution until end of film is bent over and film grips shat securely.  (On the films where the lower perforations are cut away on the end, care must be taken to thread the film so it pulls level and straight along the track at the start.)

4. After securing end of film take up any slack by turning back the rewind knob and engage sprockets in perforations so film lies flat and straight and the sprocket teeth remain in the perforations.

5. Next put on the back cover, sliding the cover along endwise and seeing to it that rubber pressure pad on cover presses down on lip of cartridge.  Insert hook in case and pressing down on catch lock cover securely.

Caution-  If cover does not go down easily do not force, as probably cartridge is not down in place and case is apt to be broken.  Remove cover and repeat proper procedure.

The rubber pressure pad is merely to hold cartridge in place and must not come in direct contact with film. Jamming and damage is sure to result unless proper daylight cartridge is used.

6. You must now wind off the portion of film which has been exposed to daylight.  This is done by depressing the spacing button while turning the winding shaft.  The spacing button is immediately released so that the stop will again come into action.
If the film is properly loaded the exposure counter dial will now resolve as the winding knob is turned.  Go easy and stop turning the moment the spacing catch locks the sprocket; then press down the release button and wind another revolution of the counting dial.  When the film stops you will have an unexposed portion of the film in position ready for taking a picture.  Now set the exposure counter dial at "0" by turning counter clockwise.  Remember to set exposure counter dial by turning counter-clockwise after the film sprocket has locked.


Focusing Lens for Distance (18 feet to Infinity)

    Turn the lens and barrel slightly until it unlocks and springs forward.  This focuses the camera for pictures beyond eighteen feet.  When in infinity position the shutter and barrel of the camera can be rotated with ease. Make this test each time the camera is opened.  (If barrel is locked in extended position it is focused for close-ups and not for distance.)

Focusing for Close-Ups  (6 feet to 18 feet)

    With lens in infinity  position, turn either way until it locks against rotation.  This allows the lens to come forward slightly and camera is now focused for anything between 6 and 18 feet.

    Stopping the lens down by setting the diaphragm increases depth of focus, so that by stopping down to f6.3 clear pictures can be made in the short focus position from 5 to 20 feet.  For closer shots use portrait attachment.

Set Shutter Speed

    The speed of the shutter is set by rotating the engraved front plate until the speed wanted is opposite the grooved line on the metal ring just above the trigger.  "25" means 1/25 of a second, "200" means 1/200, etc.

"T" is for time exposure-the shutter opens when the trigger is depressed and remains open until the trigger is pressed a second time.  When set at "B" the shutter remains open as long as the trigger is held down and closes upon release.  When either "T" or "B" are used the camera must be held on a tripod or held firmly on a perfectly stationary object.  For correct setting of shutter speeds see "Time of Exposure".

Set Diaphragm (Lens Opening)

CAUTION-Always note diaphragm setting before taking a picture.

    The iris diaphragm regulating the aperture, or the amount of light passing through the lens to the film, is operated by moving the lens on the bottom of the shutter, which, in turn, moves the pointer on top of the lens indicating the various stops.

For the correct setting of the diaphragm opening and of shutter speeds see the table on "Time of Exposure" - or better yet, use a reliable exposure meter.

    With the camera loaded and focused, the shutter speed and diaphragm set, you are ready to take your first picture.

"Aim It and Take It"

    Aim the camera by looking through the viewfinder and snap the picture by pressing the trigger.

    The camera should be held steady, resting against bony structure of face, and the pressure on the trigger should be gradual so the camera is held as still as possible while the shutter is operating.

The secret of clear, sharp negatives with a miniature camera is firm holding and steady shutter release.  This is especially true when using shutter speeds slower than 1/50 of a second.  To avoid possibility of tremor, it is always advisable to use the highest possible shutter speed that light conditions will permit.  Illustration shows best method of holding.  Lens barrel can be turned to most comfortable position.  This position is particularly useful in taking vertical shots.

    The Argus wire cable release helps a lot in making exposures without disturbing vibrations.  Use the Argus Cable Release with the Argus Camera!  The plunger of other cables often slips by the release lever and jams the shutter, necessitating costly repairs.
Advance the Film After Each Exposure

    Immediately after taking a picture press down the release button and turn winding knob clockwise until resistance is met and the counter dial has revolved one revolution minus one Space.  Caution-Do not hold down release button after counter dial starts to revolve or the film stop will not be in operation and film will be wasted.
Should you fail to wind the film after an exposure a second picture will be taken on top of the previous one and both pictures will be ruined.  Do not continue to turn winding knob after resistance is felt as the sprocket is then locked and the film perforations will be torn.
When the end of a finished film is reached care must be taken not to tear it from the spool, otherwise it cannot be rewound.  To save the films the camera would have to be opened in the dark room.  So watch the exposure counter dial.

Rewinding Finished Films

    After 36 exposures, or number of exporuses provided by length of film, rewind the film back into the daylight loading cartridge by turning the rewind button on the bottom of the camera clockwise.

    When rewinding, back up winder knob slightly to relieve film tension.  Be sure camera is held to avoid any finger pressure on counter wheel or winder knob.

"Speed" and "Argus" Synonymous

    While the foregoing detailed description may seem complicated, when once understood the Argus is one of the fastest cameras in existence.  When it is carried with the shutter and diaphragm correctly set for the prevailing light conditions the camera can be aimed, focused, and the picture snapped in less than three seconds.  You simply unlock the lens, aim the camera, and fire.  The lens comes out automatically into focus.

Time of Exposure

    Correct timing of exposures determines the quality of your pictures.  The nearest approach to correct timing can be had through the use of exposure meters which measure the light and give you the shutter speeds for the various diaphragm settings and are adjustable for the different speeds of emulsions available in motion picture film.

    In the absence of an exposure meter the following table will give fairly accurate results.  It is based on use of films with a speed rating of 24 Weston.