Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Argoflex E is alive and well

I recently have been searching for a cheap, reliable Medium Format camera on-line and in the local flea markets.  I found the Argoflex E on Ebay for 12 Dollars.  It was made in Detroit, Michigan USA in the latter 1940's.  Its body is made of bakelite and it has a good reputation for clarity, sharpness and reliability.  It was manufactured to accept 620 film, which is no longer manufactured, but due to great engineering foresight, the makers of the Argoflex decided it should also be able to accept 120 film, if the kodak product became a success. Fortunately, it did, and the camera accepts the larger 120mm rolls nicely.
I loaded a roll of 2-tmy (tmax 400)  and walked the few miles down to the rocky river to give the Argoflex it's trial run. I am not a huge fan of the Tmax emulsion, and I have heard lots of horror stories about higher speed films in medium format being less than quality, but I have to say that I enjoyed the results of this roll. The Argoflex's shutter speed goes only to 200 and the f values on the lens are from 4.5 to 18.  The overall sharpness of the lens is going to take some work on my end to achieve the full effect.  The finder is rather dark, even in bright daylight, which makes it a bit of a pain to focus, but it looks VERY sharp in the finder, so I imagine that it will be VERY sharp also when I get the hang of it. I expected some overexposure and compensated in development for it, but I still came out with a few 'bad' frames.

Here are what I would consider to be the 3 best, I scanned  them in, adjusted the levels in photoshop, though the thing produced very viable negatives with little adjustment. Since I was using the 'sunny 16' rule and not using a meter, I am even more impressed with the performance of this WWII era camera.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks good, and looks like everything is there that needs to be there.