First shots with the Argus Argoflex E

Argus Argoflex E

The art-deco bakelite-bodied Argus Argoflex E was made in Ann Arbor, Michigan from 1940 to 1948. It’s a cute little twin-lens reflex camera, with a gear-focusing front element lens similar to the Ricohflex. But based on my first roll of film through the Argoflex, the lens isn’t as good as the Ricohflex.  I’ll add some photos of the camera and more information about it soon.  It’s a fun little camera – nice and light; real focusing (unlike the psuedo-TLRs like the Duoflex from Kodak), 1/10 – 1/200 sec shutter, plus B and T; f/4.5 to f/18 75mm lens.  It’s made for 620 film, but a nice thing about it is that 120 spools will fit. In the take-up spool position, the 120 spool is a bit tight in mine, so winding the film takes some force. But the supply spool area holds a 120 spool nice and loosely, so even though it seems like you’re forcing it to wind, the film shouldn’t be under any stress or extra tension.  I ran my first roll through with a 120 roll of film in the supply side (bottom of camera) and an old 620 spool in the take-up position just to make sure things went smoothly.  It’s easy to come by 620 spools if you find some old brownie cameras at rummage sales (they’ll usually have one spool left in the camera from the last roll of film shot), and you can just ask your processor to return the spools to you.  I haven’t lost one yet.

In this first roll of film I found that the lens produces very low-contrast images.  I had to boost the contrast significantly in Lightroom, but was able to get decent images out of it.  They have a slight softness to them that’s kind of nice.  More about – and from – this camera to come.

These images shot on Fuji Pro 160S color negative film.  Scans by Dwayne’s Photo, adjustments in Lightroom.

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3 Comments on “First shots with the Argus Argoflex E”

  1. Jim says:

    Nice to know this one can work with 120 film. The lens does impart a dreamy quality to the photos.

  2. Laurel Foley says:

    Thank you for this post! Your photographs are beautiful! I was given my Grandfathers Argoflex and I would love to use it, but it needs cleaning first. Would you recommend I take it in to a professional, or is that something that can be tackled at home? Thanks!

    • Rick Schuster says:

      So great that you got your grandfather’s Argoflex. I hope you put it to use. It’s up to you, but I would tackle cleaning it myself. Q-tips and lens cleaner can do wonders. You can easily clean the front of the lenses, obviously, and the back sides from inside the camera. If the lenses are very dirty between the front and back elements, then maybe it would need professional cleaning, but it’d be worth just trying to clean it as well as you can and shoot a roll of film to see how the photos turn out.


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