Since I turned 13, my camera has always been my favorite accessory (let’s be honest – it’s actually more of a limb than a mere accessory). It literally goes where I go. In 2004 I bit the budget bullet and joined the affordable, ground-breaking world known as digital (well, affordable after the camera was purchased). It was a difficult transition, though I appreciate it now. But I still have an affinity for film.
Recently, my Aunt sent my husband (who shares my love for the medium) and me three of her father’s cameras. Let’s just say it was like Christmas in September (albeit 104 degrees) and we are over the moon to receive this family gift. Here’s what was among our loot:
A 35mm Argus C3 camera and cover. I did some research and based on Todd Goodheart’s expertise at photo.net, this is from around 1950 (the bottom portion of the RF is yellow instead of blue, which means it’s probably not older than 1949, but the side hinge has 10, not 8 screws, which means it probably predates 1951 – not that it matters, I just love this stuff and also fancy myself a detective). Argus was the first American-made camera in 1936 and sold for $12.50 (inflation calculator says that’s about $207.18 today!)
This Contax II was manufactured between 1936 – 1945, and the serial number on the Carl Zeiss Sonnar 1:2 lens suggests it’s closer to 1937. There’s a lot of interweb discussion on this bad boy! Contax has a complex shutter mechanism, which increased speeds from 1/1000s to 1/1250s – pretty ground breaking to avoid blur with movement! Photo journalists ate.this.up.
And my personal favorite, the 1935 Super Ikonta B 530/16 camera. The B series body is horizontal, unlike the A, C and D models. It’s fitted with a Compur Rapid shutter and Carl Zeiss Jena lens. According to my Aunt, my Grandfather went to India in the late 1930’s and took a bunch of photos that he would later show as slides to dinner guests after he married my Grandmother. More than likely he shot with this camera while there. Unfortunately, all of those images were destroyed during heavy rains many moons ago.
These are great additions to our “little” camera collection and I loved learning a bit of history from my mom’s side of the family! My Grandfather would have been 100 this March…thanks for the cameras, Pop.