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Argus C44R

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The C-44R is the C-44 with three modifications:

-- The metal wind and rewind knobs were replaced with a two-stroke rapid wind lever and a rewind knob with recessed, pop-out crank handle respectively.

-- The shutter speed dial had a socket added to it, with a plastic cover and a mounting post was added to the body below the dial to allow attaching the CM-2 exposure meter that coupled to the shutter speed dial.

-- The shutter speeds were changed to 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/25 and 1/300 and bulb.

Popular Photography’s 1958 “Photographic Directory and Buying Guide” (presumably compiled in late 1957) listed the C-44 and below it, the “Argus C-44 Color-Slide Camera”, with no picture but a description matching the C-44R. Both cameras were mentioned in an Argus technical service bulletin dated July 1958. While later publications from Argus referred specifically to the “C-44R” or “C-44 Rapidwind”, Argus advertisements in 1958 and 1959 simply referred to it as the “C-44”.

The rapid wind and rewind were functional improvements, but the slightly gaudy chrome finish and plastic trim didn’t convey quite the same look of quality as the simple metal knobs of the C-44. The advantage of the coupled exposure meter was countered somewhat by its location, which made holding the camera slightly more awkward. The meter also lacked a low-light booster or incident reading capabilities and necessitated an ungainly redesign of the eveready case. Argus did sell the front flap of the case separately to people who had the old case and wanted the new meter.

The camera was produced in two versions, mainly distinguished by difference in design of the top housing. The first version’s top housing is aluminum and has the same profile as the C-4 and C-44, with the rangefinder housing “separate” from the rewind knob housing. The second version’s top housing and bottom back cover are satin-chrome-finished brass and its rangefinder housing is a continuous structure to the left side of the camera, into which the rewind knob fits flush with the top. According to an Argus parts list, revised October 30, 1960, the first version ran from serial number 1738100001 to 1739327057, the second from 1739327058 “and up”. This implies that the second version appeared in 1959.

The C-44R, like the C-44, did not readily divulge the secret of rewinding the film. The wind lever had to be pushed inward (opposite the direction of winding) and held there while the film was rewound.


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