Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Argus/Cosina STL 1000

Introduced: 1971
Type: 35mm
Shutter: Copal Square metal focal plane.
Shutter speeds: B, 1 to 1/1000 sec.
Viewfinder: Reflex viewfinder with fresnel screen, micro split-image focusing spot.
Exposure Meter:      Matching-needle Thru-the-Lens CdS meter. ASA range 25-1600.

I remember back in the 1970's that all-black cameras had a little more status than the chrome ones.  The all-black camera was considered to be the less conspicuous type of camera that a professional would prefer. It may seem silly now, however I remember back then many took it seriously, and were willing to pay a premium for an all-black version of their favorite camera. Now I don't think that no matter what the color, that the Argus/Cosina STL 1000 was ever popular among professionals.  It lacked features like interchangeable viewing screens and a provision for a motor drive that most professionals at the time probably valued more than color.   Still the Argus/Cosina STL 1000 is a very fine camera.  It has all the basic features you need in a very solidly made reliable camera.  It was even one of the first cameras with the excellent Copal Square shutter.

By 1971 Argus was no longer making their own cameras. However the Argus name still had value and was applied to many cameras made by others.  Quite often it is a mystery as to who the manufacturer of some of these Argus cameras was.  With this camera the name Argus/Cosina STL 1000 makes it clear that  this camera was made by Cosina.  Cosina made a lot of camera equipment under other names from the 1960's up to the 1990's.  I think that "it was made by Cosina" is the first guess that many make when they come upon a mystery camera or lens. 

I got this camera off Ebay a while back mostly because I thought it looked good and because of the Argus name.  Also of course the price was right. My actual experience with the Argus/Cosina STL 1000 leads me to include it among one of the best of the 1970's classic all-metal mechanical cameras. There isn't anything fancy about it, however it is always ready for almost any picture taking need that I have.

I like the M42 mount 50mm Cosinon f1.8 that comes with this camera. I even made a Cosinon f1.8 gallery a while back.

The Argus/Cosina STL 1000 is another of the underrated cameras that often show up for a good price on Ebay.  Although I do think that because some people are using the standard lens for the Argus/Cosina STL 1000 on their digital cameras that the price has gone up in the last year or so.  Still if you do find one for an agreeable price I don't think that you will be disappointed.