In its day the name Argus was as well known as Kodak is today. Their bread and butter was 35mm camera sales, but they also produced a few economical medium format cameras such as this Argus 75, which is modeled after the Twin Lens Reflex. However with a true TLR the matching lenses are usually coupled and allow for full focus. On the Argus 75 the “taking” lens is a fixed focus, two-element, Argus-made Lomar 75mm, while the “viewing” lens is even more basic. This single element, meniscus lens is mounted in front of a large mirror that reflects the image up to a large, bright, glass viewfinder. Argus produced several cameras of this type using the Seventy-Five moniker, each with slightly different modifications. This model was one of the last in the line and the only to feature the brown Bakelite construction and a red “75” printed on the front. The ribbed Bakelite body makes the camera fairly solid and comfortable to hold. The other Seventy-Five models are black Bakelite. The Super Seventy-Five being the only model that had any kind of focusing option. All Seventy-Five models take the near-obsolete 620 roll film and produce square 6x6cm negatives. 120 roll film can be used after a slight modification.

There is a single aperture setting of f/11 and the option of Instant or Long exposure; the Instant shutter speed being around 1/60. There is a double-exposure prevention system and the film must be advanced after every shot to reset the shutter. A red indicator covers the shutter after every exposure to inform the photographer the shutter has been tripped and the film needs to be advanced. It also features a synched flash connector on the side, for a pin flash attachment. Earlier more advanced models such as the Argoflex E and EM were true TLRs with coupled lenses, full shutter and aperture settings, and some actually made of metal instead of Bakelite.

Not much to do here, Windex cleans everything on this camera. Bakelite cameras tend to hold up well over the years as long as they are not abused. The only scratches on this model are a couple of small marks on the metal faceplate and viewfinder cover. Some cotton swaps dipped in Windex are perfect for cleaning the edges of the viewfinder window and other hard to reach areas. Just remember not to drown the cotton swab in Windex when cleaning the lenses. Just a little will do. If fungus and/or haze is present use a 50/50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and ammonia. This camera was fairly clean when I got it and I had no need to take it apart. It doesn’t appear to be a difficult chore however.

There were several different variations of the Argus ‘Seventy-Five’, however the brown Bakelite ‘75’ is not as common as the black Bakelite ‘Seventy-Five’ and ‘Super Seventy-Five’ models.  Even though they are less common, they’re still only worth about 10-15 dollars.  Be patient and it can be found for only five bucks or less if you’re the only bidder.  Since they use 620 roll film and just have a basic lens and single shutter speed, anything more than 15 dollars is excessive.  Shipping should be around 8-10 bucks depending on destination and method used.  Other than being dusty and/or haze or fungus on the lens, most of these cameras hold up pretty well over the years and generally in good condition on EBay auctions.

Argus Camera Company
Other Argus Cameras
Argus Camera Photo Exhibition
Argus Candid Camera
Argus 75 
Matt’s Cameras – Argoflex E

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