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edmund j. kowalski | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Argus 75 Modified for 35mm at Transport Museum tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Argus 75 Modified for 35mm at Transport Museum

The Argus 75 was popular in the 1950's, largely due to its simplicity.
The lens had a single aperture, about f/16, and could not be adjusted.
The shutter had two only settings: "TIME" which kept it open, and "INST" for "Instant," about 1/50 second.
You could not adjust anything for action or for different lighting conditions,
so it worked best either in full sun, or indoor with flash attachment.
There is no way to adjust the focus.
Film size was 620.
This was basically 120 size medium format, but on spools smaller in diameter.

This camera was included in a box lot with other cameras in an online auction a few months ago.
It came battered and bruised, and missing the winding knob,
but the glass and shutter were good.
I thought it was a good candidate for an experimental modification.
I used a knob from a broken Argus Model 21 Markfinder body, and it seemed a good fit.
The lower film chamber turned out to be just big enough to squeeze in a 35mm film cartridge.
Using an assortment of materials around the studio I built masks to narrow the image plane opening
to match the width of 35mm film.
The rear window needed to be blacked out, and I needed to build a pressure plate for the back door,
since 35mm film has no paper backing.
The original style 620 film takeup spool was just fine to wind 35mm film when kept centered.
A couple pieces of cardboard masked the waste level viewfinder to match the film coverage.

I was able to load film in the light, but had to put the camera in a dark changing bag
to open the back when done and to rewind the film into its cartridge.

On a bright cool winter day in February I loaded it up and took it to the Museum of Transportation.
No frame counter, so I had to estimate how many turns to crank the winder for each frame.
A little extra space was given to prevent overlap, and I was able to fit ten exposures
on a roll of Kodak Gold 100, nominally 24 exposure, before coming to the end.

Film was sent off to Kansas for processing and returned in an uncut roll.
I did the scans myself after some trial and error using my Epson Perfection 4490,
in Professional Mode, Color Negative selected, film in a 35mm strip holder,
"Thumbnails" shut off and area cropped after the Preview scans.

The process was mostly a success
I did see signs of a minor light leak,
but cannot tell whether the leak was in the camera body or in the opening to the film cartridge.
Images are a little soft, not surprising from a simple one element glass lens with no adjustments.

Please click on thumbnails to see enlarged.
All images are 2018 E.J.Kowalski.
Thanks! Ed
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