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Art Deco Cameras

Argus Argoflex Seventy-five


Argus Argoflex Seventy-five
Argus Argoflex Seventy-five
Manufacturer: Argus
Produced: 1949 - 1958
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Pseudo Twin Lens Reflex
Film Type:620
Film Width:62mm
Image Size:2¼ x 2¼ in
No. of Images:12
Lens Type:Argus Lumar meniscus
Focus Type:Fixed
Focal Length:75mm
Focus Range: 7½ft to inf,
Aperture Type :Fixed
Aperture :f/12
Shutter Type:Leaf
Shutter Speeds:B, I*(1/50 sec)
Size (open)(w x h x d):80 x 158 x 80 mm
Size (closed) (w x h x d):80 x 115 x 80 mm
* measured on this camera

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The Argus Argoflex Seventy-Five was produced by Argus, located in Ann Arbor, MI in the USA, starting in 1949. Another name variant of the same pseudo TLR camera was the Argus Seventy-Five later becoming the Argus 75. It is described as a pseudo twin lens reflex camera because the top lens is just part of the viewfinder and does not aid focussing.

The main body was molded from Bakelite, a thermosetting phenolic resin, but the film door is a painted metal. The front panel and viewfinder hood are in a satin-finish metal. The viewfinder is large and bright. A cloth neckstrap is permanently attached to the top of the body.

It produced 6x6cm images on 620 film. It has a knob to wind on and a red window to indicated the current frame.

The 75mm Lumar single meniscus element is placed in front of a fixed aperture of approximately f/12. The shutter is released by a small rectangular button. It features double-exposure prevention including a reminder when the film has been wound on. A red-painted tell-tale blade is visible through the taking lens when it is ready to take a picture. A slider next to the shutter release selects between "Inst" (instant) and "Time" (actually bulb).

There are two connectors, vertically 1316" apart on the left hand side of the camera, to mount a two pin flash accessory. There is a tripod mount on the base of the camera.

Some cameras have a four-digit code printed inside film door. This indicates the year and month of manufacture. In my example the number was 5111 which corresponds to November of 1951.

How to Use

See Instruction Manual here:- Argus Seventy-five manual. This camera takes 620 film which is still available from selected photographic outlets. Although the actual film is the same as 120 film, the spools are different. The 620 spools are slightly shorter and have a smaller diameter. Do not use 120 film in this camera because it will jam and may snap. It is possible to cut down a spool of 120 film to fit or to re-spool some 120 film onto 620 spools in a darkroom or changing bag. Don't forget to ask for your 620 spool back when getting the film developed.

As the shutter speed is only 1/50s, it is advisable to use a tripod to get clear shake free images. However, holding it against a wall or other solid object would work as well. For quick snapshots, hold it firmly against your body.

If you don't want to bother with an exposure meter, follow the guide shown. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

The tables assume that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summers day in the UK.

Remember that the exposure guide in the manual may not be helpful as it is based on the use of old film with a low ISO value.

Using ISO 100/125 film - shutter speed 1/50s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/12+3 Stops
SunnyDistinctf/12+2 Stops
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/12+1 Stops
OvercastBarely visiblef/12Good
Heavy OvercastNonef/12-1 Stop
Open Shade
Nonef/12-2 Stops
Not Acceptable