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edmund j. kowalski | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Soligor 135 mm with Argus C3 at Missouri Botanical Gardens tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Soligor 135 mm with Argus C3 at Missouri Botanical Gardens

This chrome Soligor 135 is a fairly uncommon prime focus lens made to fit the Argus C, C II, and C III cameras.
To find one in such clean condition complete with both front and back chrome caps, clip on chrome viewfinder mask, front lens shade, and original red linen covered presentation box is rather rare.
It was made in Japan and imported to the USA for Argus camera company in 1954.
Although a nice looking item, this lens presented me with numerous issues.
The threads did not want to fit smoothly on most of my Argus bodies. The first body I tried, the lens got stuck part way, and I had to disassemble it from the front to get it loose, then reconstruct the lens.
Then in checking the focus calibration, I discovered that the distance scale on the lens would not agree with the distance scale of the camera's rangefinder dial. Best I could do was get them to agree at the infinity mark.

Finally I had the lens cleaned up and mounted to a very early example of a C3, serial number C310604, and I was ready for a film test.

November 20 dawned a pleasant cloudless Fall day. There was a light humidity haze, kind of a "Sunny 11" sort of day, according to my exposure meters.
Camera loaded up with a fresh roll of Walgreens' best ASA 200 print film, I headed for the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis city.

Scans were made from the negatives using my Epson Perfection scanner.

Although the lens is impressive looking when mounted to the Argus C3, I was not entirely thrilled with the optical performance, despite the cleanliness and clarity of the glass. Contrast and flare resistance was acceptable, but it lacks corner-to-corner consistency in sharpness. It was difficult to aim and frame with the tiny little finder mask. And due to the discrepancy in rate of progression between distance scales on camera body and lens body, accurate focus was sometimes problematic.
Here is the best of the roll.

Please click on thumb images to see enlarged.
All images are 2009 E.J.Kowalski.
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