Argus Autronic II Vintage Camera
Argus Autronic II Specifications
|Country of Origin:||USA|
|Made in:||Ann Arbor, MI, USA|
|Dimensions (cm):||13.5 x 9.2 x 7.5|
Argus Autronic II Review
The Argus Autronic II is an automatic fixed-lens rangefinders produced by Argus in 1962. Like many Argus cameras of that era, the Autronic II is fairly unremarkable at a glance with its simple but vaguely awkward styling.
A 50mm f/2.8 Cintar lens dominates the front of the camera and is coupled with the ever-ubiquitous German-made Compur shutter with four presets: “FLASH” (1/30), “SCENE” (1/60), “ACTION” (1/125 and 1/250), and 1/500. While aperture and shutter speeds are set via conventional rings on the lens, focusing is done by rotating the smaller nob to the side of the lens which also houses the shutter button and standard cable release socket.
Interestingly, the film door on the Autronic II opens downward like a squat drawbridge instead of outward like most other cameras. The grey latch for the film door—located on the back between the viewfinder and the film advance lever—is poorly designed and difficult to use; I find that the best method is to rotate the camera counterclockwise in your hands and then use your right thumb to pick fruitlessly at it while priceless moments flit away.
As I picked this surprisingly heavy Argus up off the shelf at the thrift store, a middle-aged man who was standing nearby glanced over and said “An Argus? Those things are worthless.” I obviously don’t agree with him since I paid $1.99 for it but, at the same time, I kind of see his point. Technically speaking, the Autronic II may not be that much worse than your average ’60s era fixed-lens rangefinder but yet it exudes an inexplicable bleakness that makes me glad that it didn’t cost me more than a couple of dollars.
Want one for yourself? Find your very own Argus Autronic II on eBay.
McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown’s Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 2001-2002. (Grantsburg: Centennial Photo Service, 2001), 64.