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Interestingly, sales of the C3 had slumped many times during its production life, and each time Argus announced they were going to discontinue the camera, dealers and photographers would rush to buy what they believed to be the last of the cameras, leading Argus to reverse their decision to end production several times.
It has been argued the Argus C3 is responsible for popularizing the use of 35mm film, and considering the long production run and the high number of Argus C3 cameras made, this may very well be true, especially in its native United States.
Fondly known as "the Brick," the camera brought 35mm rangefinder photography down to a price affordable by amateurs who could not dream of owning a Leica or Contax.
In the present day, it has become something of a cult classic, despite its rather basic list of features, due to its ruggedness, kitschy aesthetic, and usability, not to mention its massive availability on the antique market.
The C3 is made of bakelite and metal framings, with the front and rear panels covered in leatherette.
True to nickname, the C3 is quite brick-shaped; heavy and hard to hold, but surprisingly compact for a budget 35mm camera from the period.
But eventually the design simply became too outdated and clumsy and production ended in 1966 after sales had slumped.As a senior citizen and long time photographer, dating back to my first camera, an Argus C3, followed by an Exacta VX, with 58mm Biotar lens, which I used in my teen years back in the late 40s, I have always been a full frame image photographer, and currently use a Sony A7RIII, with both Sony native and Voigtlander manual focus lenses.I process my images in Lightroom and Photoshop CC, and decorate my walls with framed enlargements.Indeed, for a small, low-priced camera, it has a decent range of features, allowing professional results from a well-adjusted, competently used example.One way the engineers of the C3 kept these systems compact and cheap to manufacture was by simplifying each mechanism as much as possible.