Argus C4 (1951)
The Argus C4 is an American Rangefinder camera produced from 1951-1958 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It takes 135 film. Intended as the successor to the venerable C3, it never gained the same popularity.
The entirety of the camera is made of stamped metal. It feels sturdy in the hands, and is a bit more ergonomic than the C3.
Only one lens can be used with the C4, the Argus Cintar 50mm f/2.8-- a close relative to the Cintar 50mm f/3.5 found on the earlier C series. Likewise, it produces superbly sharp negatives that are able to be enlarged to large sizes.
Also inherited from the C3 is the continuous shutter range. This is selected using the dial on the front of the camera. This achieves speeds of 1/10 to 1/300s and Bulb mode. The shutter is automatically cocked when the film is wound on, also preventing double exposures. Unfortunately, the shutter release is a hair trigger, so it is not advisable to wind on if the camera is to be carried around. Of a lesser importance is the fact that this is by far the loudest leaf shutter I've ever heard. It is a veritable artillery piece. The shutter may be synchronized with both X and M syncs, selected with a switch on the back. The flash may be attached with the hot shoe on top. As for the aperture stops, it stops down to f/22, which is quite small for an Argus model.
Unlike its predecessors, there is a combined and coupled rangefinder and viewfinder. I dislike this arrangement because it is difficult for me to focus on due to my poor eyesight. This is no fault of the camera, and it is actually very precise.
To open the camera, the catch on the bottom is rotated and the back completely removed. Film is loaded in the normal manner and the back replaced. Film is wound using the silver knob on the top right of the camera-- it is unlocked when the shutter release is depressed. To rewind, the winding knob is pulled up and the rewind knob rotated.
The C4 is really an excellent all-around camera. It performs exceptionally well. There have been several things added, for the better or worse, and this makes the C4 a great camera. However, it is no C3. I prefer the C3 over the C4; the C3 gives more control over the images, and has more accessories. I particularly appreciate that the C3 is noticeably more manual than the C4 (even though they are both fully mechanical). If the C3 did not exist, the C4 would definitely be my daily use camera.