This is the camera that popularized the 35mm film format. Released in October 1939 with easy to use range focusing gears it became one of the most popular cameras of all time.
It was used extensively during WWII. Quick to focus and rugged, made of Bakelite and metal. The new 35mm concealed film stayed stable until it could be developed.
The C3 has frequently appeared in movies, including The Philadelphia Story (1940), Max Showalter’s Niagara (1953), used by Gwyneth Paltrow in Sky Captain the World of Tomorrow (2004), and Harry Potter.
Tony Vaccaro – The most famous Argus C-3 “Brick”
In 1943, with the Allied invasion of Europe imminent, a newly drafted 21-year old Tony Vaccaro headed to WWII. Tony went out and purchased a $47.00 Argus C3, and carried the camera into the war with him.
He would fight with the 83rd Infantry Division for the next 272 days, playing two roles – a combat infantryman on the front lines and a photographer who would take roughly 8,000 photographs of the war.
His photographs are considered the most visceral and close up pictures of WWII on record.
HBO created a feature documentary film about his work and amazing life in 2016. After the war he became a renowned photographer working with Life Magazine taking pictures of John F. Kennedy, Sophia Lauren, Leonard Cohen.