Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tuesday Treasure: argus 40 camera

This camera belonged to my mom and is the camera she used to take my childhood photos.

It's also the camera with which I snapped my very first pictures when I was a kid, and later used to learn about f-stops and shutter speeds.

Made in Ann Arbor, it's body is made of Bakelite, and it used to have a leather case, a neck strap, and a flash attachment, but those are long gone.

To take a photo you'd open the hood, hold the camera at your waist, and compose the shot by looking down into the large square viewfinder.

My mom stopped using this camera sometime in the 60s when "Instamatic" cameras became popular. For the rest of her life she owned a series of crappy cameras that were never anywhere as near as special as the argus - none that were saved the way this camera was, so that it now sits on a shelf in my living room.

Sometime when I was a teenager I picked it up and started playing around. When it doesn't have film inside, you can open the back and see what happens as you click the shutter at different f-stops and shutter speeds - a great visual learning tool.

Another fun feature of this camera is that you can take two, or more, photos without advancing the film if you want - meaning you can take arty double-exposures.

I love this camera and wish I could still take photos with it, but 620 film is a little hard to come by these days. (Though I was surprised to learn it wasn't discontinued by Kodak until 1995. )

Here's a photo of me taken with the argus when I was three:

1 comment:

willow said...

It is a lovely piece of art. And it still looks brand new. It must have been lovingly cared for! (the wee you is cute as a button)