Argus Instant Load 270

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In the late era of Argus camera when all its models had become rebadges of foreign models, the 1966[1] Instant Load 270 was one of their nicer offerings for 126 film. The body is well-finished and unexpectedly weighty, if a bit idiosyncratic in styling. A 1967 magazine profile[2] notes that the CdS meter cell sets programmed exposures from 1/30 second at f/2.8 through 1/800th at f/22,[3] indicated in pairs with a needle and scale at the top of the viewfinder. (This is illuminated by a clear panel on the camera's top deck.) When aperture is set manually, the shutter remains at 1/30 (as would be used for flash exposures). A 1.35v mercury cell is needed for power.

The autoexposure system actually operates with a pair of notched blades which serve both as shutter and as aperture stop; this leads to a very deformed teardrop-shaped opening at intermediate f-stops.

The camera uses scale focusing with a pointer indicating three subject icons at the bottom of the viewfinder. The Instant Load 284 was a similar high-specification model, but promoted as having a unique lens design (both are 40mm f/2.8 however). Henry Gambino's Argomania attributes manufacture of the both models to Sedic.[4]


  1. Popular Photography lists it as presented at the March, 1966, Cleveland MPDFA show (Vol. 58, No. 4; page 99).
  2. From a photocopied March 1967 Popular Photography (?) via the Argus Museum Flickr account.
  3. Although 1/750 at f/18 is the maximum shown in the viewfinder. Considering that the most sensitive 126 emulsions of the era topped out at ASA 160, 1/800 second at f/22 would never be needed under natural illumination at the earth's surface; this may be marketing in the same category as auto speedometers going up to 130 MPH.
  4. Pgs. 129–131, Gambino, Henry J. Argomania: A Look At Argus Cameras and the Company That Made Them. Doylestown, PA: Aeone Communications 2005. ISBN 0-9770507-0-X. It should be noted that there are numerous small styling and assembly differences between the 270 and the 284, which would seem improbable if both models came from the same manufacturer in the same span of years.