Cleaning Up An Argus Golden Shield


The Golden Shield is probably the rarest version of the C3. It was produced in 1960 and 1961 which was after Argus had been acquired by Sylvania. Sylvania had another subsidiary called Golden Shield and they made special versions of Sylvania owned products like cameras and radios. The Argus Golden Shield C3 replaced the normal leatherette covering with a silvery metallic padded covering. Otherwise it is a C3 Matchmatic with the funky Exposure Value System as you can see by the lack of shutter speeds on the upper right dial.

Instead of using a normal light meter to determine the shutter speed and aperture combo directly, you would use the special LC3 meter with EV markings on it. If the meter read 12, you could set a shutter speed of 7 plus an aperture of 5 or shutter speed of 6 plus aperture of 6, etc.

These old selenium cell meters have petered out over time. I bought 7 of them, some with cameras, others separately. People on eBay say they work, or that the needle responds to light, but I haven't found one yet that actually could be used to expose a picture.

As the rarest C3, they usually command pretty high prices as compared to other C3s. The one I bought on eBay was a bargain, mainly because it was pretty covered in crud. Look at the edges around the back and it was also pretty bad on the front.

I had to work for a couple of hours with an Exacto knife to gently pick crud out of all the individual indentations in the metallic covering. But when finished, it looked much better. You can still see the mark the case snap leaves on the back of all C3 cameras.

As with all C3s, I needed to adjust the rangefinder and clean the viewfinder and rangefinder windows.

The pictures it takes aren't bad. It was a challenge taking pictures of the Blue Angels. I used the Sandmar 100mm lens for this picture.

The C3 system of having to move a lever to start winding the film, then let go of the lever, then finish winding to the next frame, then remember to push down another lever (on the front) to cock the shutter, then take the picture while remembering not to hold the camera where the lever will snap up and hit your finger and mess up the timing is a real barrier to working quickly.

50mm lens used for this picture.

Another picture with the 100mm.

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