Argus 21 Film Tearing
The manual has been very helpful but my model 21 is slightly
different. The flash speed switch is on top and there is a flap of
metal that rolls down over the film take up reel. I try to feed the
film end through the reel according to the manual but it always
breaks. Any suggestions? Thanks.
I looked at my 21 last night. It was as Tom described. I
don't think it
is unusual for the instruction manual to differ in a few details from
late production samples, but this might be a particulary telling case.
The metal flap over the take-up spool is a bit perplexing but the spool
itself seems to grab the film well if you feed enough leader into it and
give it a turn or so to tighten down. I threaded the film through in the
most straightforward manner possible (over the cylindrical cross piece
and under the flap) and it advanced and cocked the shutter OK but not
quite in a "silky smooth" manner.
I suspect that the origin of the film tearing is the extraordinary force
that is necessary to tension the 21's shutter. This shutter must be re-
lated to the C's shutter, perhaps even a little beefier. It could quite
well be used (in a less humane time) as a leg trap for small animals.
But of course the C had a lever for shutter tensioning: on the 21 all
this torque has to be supplied by the film sprocket holes as they engage
the film sprocket gears. While examining all this with the back off I
found a tendency for the film to be forced from the sprocket gears due
to the torque reqired to cock the shutter.
Which brings me to the following assertion: The metal flap over the film
take-up spool area is probably an attempt to force the film back down on
to the sprocket gears to avoid the film buckling I observed as the shutter
was tensioned. It clearly would facilitate this once the back is put back
on after loading and it is hard to come up with any other value that the
flap adds to the film transport path. The instruction book may not show
the flap because it may not have been added until prototypes were fully
tested or even after some early customer feedback was obtained and Argus
decided to bite the bullet and address this weakness. The serial number
on my 21 is something like 0000007XXX. I wonder if earlier numbers have
the film spool flap.
This is all of course pure conjecture or BS, take your pick.
I think you're onto the answer here. On my Markfinder,
there is a metal guard
that pivots on the film spool axis. Mine also has a small diameter roller on
the "guard" assembly that seems designed to improve the angle that the film
hits the take up spool and more importantly, forces the film to lay on a full
90 degrees worth of sprocket teeth. Given the high forces Mike talks about,
getting that last drive tooth of engagement is probably important. My film
advance knob turns in the clockwise direction as viewed from the top deck.
Were they all this way?
The 50mm Cintar on the 21 looks pretty similar to the C3's lens, though I
notice that Argus once again made sure that there was not one shred of
interchangeability between their various cameras. Were there ever the
equivalent of the Sandmars available for the 21?
I notice that the 21's lens thread is tantilizingly close to a Leica
screwmount thread, but just a little bit smaller in diameter.
Mike, does the film turn the sprocket in your 21 which
in turn sets (winds)
the shutter? My 21 will wind the shutter even with no film in the camera. As
a matter of fact, the 21 body is identical to the C4 in it's film and
shutter winding operation.
I wonder if Tom, while following the instructions carefully, could be
lifting the rewind knob as advised and slipping the film tongue under the
little roller)turning the takeup spool the wrong direction before closing
the camera back and beginning to turn the wind knob. The slack in the film
should be taken up by turning the takeup spool with your finger in the SAME
direction as the arrow on the wind knob, which is clockwise when viewed
from above. With the back off the camera this can look like the wrong
direction to turn it.
As far as Mike's 21 shredding sprocket holes, that may have something to
do with that extra flap of metal. Mike, does your camera have that extra flap?
My 21 is in quite poor shape, but loads and advances the film and cocks
the shutter as smoothly as any ARGUS I have ever handled.
Well, let's see if this might help Tom get his beast (21) loaded up and
running, and what kind of comments my remarks spark.
Regards to all and good collecting and "shooting",
Charles E. Spickard - Old Geezer - Retiree
And I Love ARGUSES
It has been established that the 21 comes in (atleast) two varients,
one which has the film guard and which requires the sprocket gears
to turn to cock the shutter, and one which does not have the film
guard and which cocks the shutter simply by turning the film
advance knob (no film necessary). We have for the most part been
calling the film guard type "version 1" and have been trying
to figure out what the serial number break is. So far there are
version 1's reported at 7XXX, 16XXX, 17XXX, and 30XXX (though
the latter was identified at a time when the the definitions
for "version 1" and "version 2" were in flux). The first firm
version 2 that has been reported so far is 42XXX. The official
serial number list as transcribed by Phil from the 1955 Modern
Photography listing says the 21 goes from 19218 to 64785. I pub-
lished a table suggesting that the cut-off was about 17XXX but
the 30XXX observation contradicts that.
In any case (you will be glad to know) we have designated version
1 as "valuable/collectable" and version 2 as "worthless/user"
(assuming the definitions of versions 1 and 2 above).