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wpe13B.jpg (28047 bytes)Argus C44 & C44R

Photographer Torture System

"Meet the camera you'll never outgrow!  The C-44 is your first step in a versatile system of 35mm photography.   This is the camera that will keep up with your increasing photographic ability" Argus Brochure


Many consider the C44 and C44-R the ultimate Argus interchangeable lens rangefinders, since they were the last and most expensive of the long Argus rangefinder line and probably because they are not aware of the Geiss C4's.    Of course another big plus is the C44's attractive glitzy shiny chrome styling.    Alas, looking good does not mean taking good pics.  It's my theory most C44 fans are C44 fans, because they have not used a C44.    

These Argus (Argi?)  get my vote for the worst interchangeable 35mm bayonet mount of all time. "Bad Design" does not begin to describe this  photographer torture system.    I suspect the design originated with the X Files Aliens  to test how quickly these little gems would drive photographers mad.   Agent Molder is no doubt hot on their trail. 

Following the winning Argus tradition of knowing consumer perceptions and the realities of the American marketplace, the C44 and C44R both look like they are a lot more camera than they really are.    The C44 was basically the excellent selling C4 with an incredibly inept bayonet mount added. The C44R added a not-so-well-done advance lever advance and lever rewind.    The 44's are aesthetically attractive cameras with some nice features, it's just that changing lenses is like pulling teeth.   On the other hand, they do have great style in a glitzy shiny sort of way.   

wpe127.jpg (35633 bytes) Ah yes, the allure of chrome and its promise ofwpe116.jpg (14966 bytes) precision.  The wonderful advances of Lever advance and rewind were the C-44R's claims to fame.  Unfortunately, they are suspect advances.     The retractable PLASTIC rewind lever is not so strong and often found broken off.    But it is cute.  The lever advance fairs better for reliability, but suffers from a not so quick and convenient double stroke.  Worse, it  has that cheap plastic chrome look to it.  

C-44/R Camera specs are the same as for the C4: see C4 profile. 

There are at least three variations of the C-44R.  Earlier cameras have a rewind crank which is mounted atop the top plate.  Later cameras like this one, have a recessed rewind crank.  The great majority of C-44 R's have aluminum top and bottom plates.   In perhaps a short lived experiment, this C-44 R has chrome top and bottom plates, serial # 1731340760.

Be Careful about using the C-44 R near the military, the police, or political candidates.  The C-44 R's loud shutter may be mistaken for a gun shot.

C-44/R lenses are quickly identified by their streamlined appearance and recessed  fluted barrels, the only Argus lenses so styled.   Four lenses were made: 35/4.5, 50/2.8, 50/1.9, 100/3.5.   All shared Series VI filters.       The 35/3.5 Cintagon has  f/stops 4.5 to 22 with a close focus of 3 feet.     The 100/3.5 Cintagon has f/stops 3.5 to 22 with a commendably nice close focus of 3 feet. 

  An Argus brochure claims C44 lenses were ground "from the finest 'rare-earth' optical glass."  I wonder if they were talking about silicon...

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The 100/3.5, 50/2.8, 35/4.5.  Not shown, 50/1.9.

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wpe13A.jpg (22227 bytes)What good are extra lenses without a viewfinder?   This three position parallax finderwpe126.jpg (26474 bytes) is most often seen on the C44R.    It does a relatively good job, but 40 years later is prone to fog and flare.   True to its lenses, you  can select 35, 50 or 100.  For its type, I rate its original styling a success.   There was also a three turret finder, which was earlier used on the C-44.

Incredibly Poor Bayonet System: If you want to have a bad photo day, try to change lenses on this little monster in a hurry.

   Laughably the Argus C-44 lens brochure proclaims "The ease with which lenses of the Argus C-44 are interchanged will amaze you."   They're right, I am amazed,  just not in a positive way.

  Another brochure proudly states "No matter what the photographic challenge, you'll be ready in an instant with the lightning-fast lens interchangeability  of the C-44 bayonet-type mount.  In seconds you replace the regular 50mm lens with either the 100mm telephoto or the 35mm wide angle lens, and each focus precisely with the regular coupled rangefinder!"

Of course it's true if you break down minutes into seconds.   Was he lying?  No, he was an advertising man!!   I have no idea who wrote this stuff, but he wasted a great talent if he didn't sell used cars.

LENS REMOVAL -- if you are lucky

LENS INSTALLATION -- maybe anyway

If someone you DON'T LIKE wants to learn Photography, give them an Argus C44R WITH a set of lenses.    

If living well is the best revenge, watching them suffer has got to be a close second. 

For more info Visit: the Argus Collector's site and the Argus Discussion Forum

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Revised: January 31, 2016 Copyright � 1998-2002  Stephen Gandy. All rights reserved.    This means you may NOT copy and re-use the text or the pictures in ANY other internet or printed publication of ANY kind.  Information in this document is subject to change without notice.  Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.