Saturday, January 14, 2012

Argus HFM II half frame camera

Even through I know that the ghost of the real Argus company has long been departed there is still something in the Argus name for me.  I also have some liking for the diptych photos that can be made with a half frame camera.  And then add that I have been having some curiosity about the point & shoots of the 80's and 90's.  So when I saw that there is a point & shoot Argus with a half frame option I decided to go looking for one.

From what I have seen it looks like there were two versions made in China starting sometime in 1988.  The first was the Argus Dual HFM and the second was the Argus HFM II which is pictured here.  Both were distributed by Argus Industries of DesPlaines Illinois. It took about a month to find this one on Ebay.  It came to me in almost brand new condition in a box with a manual.   I would guess from a lack of information about this camera on the internet that it was not popular when it was released and there is not much interest in it today.

The Argus HFM II other than its half frame feature is typical of fixed focus point & shoot cameras of its era.  The lens is 38mm with a minimum aperture of 3.5.  Details of what the other aperture settings are or what the shutter speeds might be are not given in the manual.   It does have some kind of auto exposure mechanism, however I could find nothing to explain how it works.  The choice of half frame or full frame must be made before a roll of film is started by setting a switch within the film compartment. The film speed is read from DX coding.  200 ISO film is recommended.

So far I have ran a couple of rolls of Legacy Pro 100 through the Argus HFM II and with the second roll I admit I am warming up to the camera.  As time goes on I expect to have more to report on this camera.
Argus HFM II Image Gallery