I bought this Argus Argoflex Seventy-Five for $25 from a classified ad. I wanted to jump to medium format but didn’t want to invest too much before I had had a little experience working with larger negatives.
It’s an odd little camera — almost a toy, really. The limitations of this camera are both exasperating and charming. There is one shutter speed (~1/60s), one aperture (f/11), no modifiable ASA, and no focusing capabilities. There is a BULB mode, but I can’t imagine it is of much use due to inevitable shaking. Everything 8 feet or farther away is (allegedly) in focus. The camera takes 620 film, which is the same size as 120 film simply wound onto a narrower spool; you can find 120 wound onto 620 spools online.
The manual suggests shooting (now discontinued) Verichrome or Kodacolor film, but doesn’t specify an EI. I ordered some Fujifilm NEOPAN 100 ACROS and hoped for the best.
These photos were some of the first shots I took with this particular camera and were mostly just a test to see if it even worked. I foolishly neglected to bring a tripod with me, so almost every photo suffers from significant shake.
It’s a very difficult camera to hold steady, and then pressing the shutter without a jolt from the spring-activated shutter is almost impossible. Given the results, there is a strong possibility that the shutter speed has slipped somewhat slower than 1/60s, but I haven’t been able to verify.
I took the photos from one of my favorite spots in the Quabbin Reservoir, not far from my house in western Massachusetts. Walking in at Gate 5 brings you down an old road which dead-ends into the reservoir.
You can see the water through the arched trees from about a quarter-mile up the road. When you reach the water the view opens up to the entire western side of Quabbin. The views pictured in the photographs are out over what was once the town of Enfield.
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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