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Art Deco Cameras

CMF Bencini Argo



CMF Bencini Argo
CMF Bencini Argo
Manufacturer: CMF Bencini
Produced: 1939
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Folding Bed
Bellows Deployment:Self Erecting
Film Type:120
Film Width:62mm
Image Size:2¼ x 3¼
No. of Images:8
Lens Type:Meniscus
Focal Length:105mm
Focus Type:fixed
Focal Range:6ft - inf.
Aperture Type :Fixed
Apertures :f/16
Shutter Type:Rotary
Shutter Speeds:P(bulb), I*(1/100s)
Size Open (w x h x d):87 x 175 x 135 mm
Size Closed (w x h x d):87 x 175 x 39 mm
* Measured on this camera

Art Deco Credentials

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Noteworthy: Worth giving special attention


The Argo Camera was manufactured by CMF of Italy in 1939. A pocket folding camera giving 6x9cm exposures on 120 roll film. The camera is made of metal with a leather covering. The exposed metal is painted black. The camera is self erecting. The struts are chrome plated. There is a press plate under the lens to release the strut mechanism to fold the bellows into the body.

The waist level viewfinder swivels to provide both landscape and portrait views.

The camera is fitted with an Aplanat lens with a focal length of 105mm. The simple shutter has both instantaneous (I) and Pose/Bulb (P) modes.

The red window on the rear has no cover and a tripod socket is not provided

How to Use

This camera takes 120 film which is widely available.

The aperture is fixed at f/16. The measured speed on this camera was 1/100s. As the shutter speed is only 1/100s, it is advisable to hold it against a wall or other solid object. For quick snapshots, hold it firmly against your body.

The table shows how this camera will perform using ISO 100/125 film. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Modern film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

The tables assume that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summers day (May-August) in the UK.

Remember that the exposure guide in the manual may not be helpful as it is based on the use of old film with a low ISO value.

Modern film is sensitive to red light so you should cover the red window with black tape when not winding on.

Using ISO 100/125 film - shutter speed 1/100s

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailApertureExposure
with sharp edges
f/16+1 Stop
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/16-1 Stop
OvercastBarely visiblef/16-2 Stops
Not Acceptable
Heavy OvercastNonef/16-3 Stops
Not Acceptable
Open Shade
Nonef/16-4 Stops
Not Acceptable