The Argoflex. A Lesser, Virtual Brillant?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by momus, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. momus

    momus Member

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    I decided that I'd like a cheap 6x6 camera just for fun, and to take portraits and still lives to make pastels from, so I bought this old Argoflex TLR. It's in amazing shape, and looks like to be a good shooter, given the limitations of its lens and shutter. What immediately struck me was it's similarity to an old Voigtlander Focusing Brillant that used to be around here. The Bakelite body is an almost exact copy, including the sports finder on top, the strap lugs, the chrome back clasps and hinge, and the red window and wind-on knob. Fortunately, Argus went w/ a regular ground glass focus screen instead of that ridiculous little focus spot on the Voigtlander, and they eliminated the troublesome automatic film stop feature that never did work right on my Brillant.

    Does anyone know if Argus simply copied the Voigtlander design, or bought the body blanks from Voigtlander? I've never owned a Lubitel, so for all I know Argus copied their design, but it's eerie how similar this camera is to my old Voigtlander TLR.


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  2. elekm

    elekm Member

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    With a TLR, it's always difficult to say because nearly all are variations of the original Rolleiflex or Rolleicord theme. After all, there's only so much design difference that you can do with a twin-lens camera - although there certainly are some unusual ones.

    I was thinking that your Argoflex is a bit Voigtlander Brilliant and a bit early Rectaflex.

    I'd also like to mention that Argus seemed for the most part to create its own designs that didn't like knockoffs of other popular cameras at the time. But I'm not Argus expert - Argonian? Argusian? - so maybe others can provide some answers.

    The Brilliant had a little side door to store a cable release. I can't recall if there was enough room for a filter, too.
     
  3. momus

    momus Member

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    Thanks for the info Mike. I could use a cable release on this one, as that self cocking shutter makes it hard to trip w/o the camera shaking. Argus left that little door off on this model.

    The Argoflex cameras were budget TLRs, like everything Argus seemed to make (at least the cameras that I've seen), and it's probably not fair to compare them to the Voigtlanders. It certainly seems better built than the Lubitels, although I've been fortunate and never owned one of those :]

    My old Brillant had that little door on the side, and inside was a yellow filter and an extinction meter/filter that slipped over the viewing lens. Very ingenious. One of my Brillants also had a Heliar lens that was, well, brilliant. I don't expect the same imaging out of this Argus triplet, but you never know, it may be pretty good. I have the negs drying now, and will make some contact prints and post them when I can.
     
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  4. piu58

    piu58 Member

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    Once I had a Lubitel, it was qute similar.