Especially after WW-II put an American 35mm camera in the hands of the masses. It was produced from 1939 to 1966 and has been argued that the Argus C3 is responsible for popularising the use of 35mm film, and considering the long production run and the high number of Argus C3 cameras made, this may very well be true, especially in its native United States.
The Argus C3 may have been "popular" but that was more due to the fact it was cheap, really nothing more than a miniaturized Kodak Box Brownie. I doubt seriously that it encouraged any more people to become more interested in photography than its really lousy quality and poor performance discouraged people.
After WW 2 there were many camera's little more costly that were easier to use, better designed and provided much superior result for very little more money, made by Kodak, Agfa, Zeiss. Ansco and others.
Argus finally made a half way decent camera in the C-4, but it was a day late and a dollar short, and the C-3's reputation for cheapness was too well associated with the brand.
I respectfully disagree with Mr. Brooks. Certainly the C3 was inexpensive. So was the Ford Model T. But it put us on wheels and to say that it is not important because there were better cars at the time misses a very important point. Similarly the C3 and its earlier brethern, as the Argus A series brought American photographers to 35mm, which is almost all the film we have left.
As for the quality, when I was a kid in about 1954, I saved and bought a C3. I used to say that the lens was obviously made from Coke bottles. But I have recently been speaking to local service clubs, giving them the history of Argus and shot with some very used C3's which I purchased for a very few dollars on the auction site. I was amazed by the quality. At 13 or so I didn't know what I was doing. I guess I learned something in the ensuing years.
I have to think that one of the criteria being used for this series is cameras which started major trends. The choice of the Kodak Instamatic was not based on the quality of the product. The Reflex Korelle was chosen because it was one of the parents of the modern reflex. The C3 qualifies easily by these criteria.
From a purely historical and American perspective the credit you give the Argus C3 is deserved. However, it led nowhere as far as an American 35mm camera history is concerned. Of course Kodak had the excellent Retina, but it was made in Germany. So did the C3 really have any influence on 35mm cameras to come. I doubt it, even though it did get some people involved and interested in 35mm photography.
By the time you bought your C3, the Nikon era had already begun, I got one via an Air Force PX in Japan in 1953. And, it was clear the Japanese were following the European 35mm design lead, not the Argus C3. And even in the 50's some of the Japanese 35mm compacts were as inexpensive as the Argus C3, and many were a lot better camera.
I was not going to prolong the debate, but . . . Look at the choice of the Instamatic 100. Quality - no. Better cameras readily available - yes. Deadend - You betcha. Production length compared to the C-3 - minimal.
I guess the question is: By what criteria are the choices being made?
"I guess the question is: By what criteria are the choices being made?"
I would have to agree with your conclusion. I have no idea what criteria are being applied if any other than the brand names people find most familiar.
It is a great camera. I love taking pictures too. I spend a lot of time on parks taking pictures. Whenever I go to another city I ask for guide to parks in order to show me where I can take the best photos.
I think that a good camera will help you take great photos.I work for a Media Powers company and I build logos for different companies. First I take pictures of their products so a good camera is very important because I want to know and see all the product`s characteristics.