Argus Wet-110 Camera Goes To Bottom Of The Sea... Or Pool
It's vacation time in the USA, and many take the warm-ish weather as a sign to head for water. Folks try all manner of new underwater sports in these days, and while memories are water resistant, cameras usually aren't.
Today you can find a lot of affordable underwater digital cameras, but back in the film era they were rare and expensive items. While a digital camera has few moving parts that need waterproofing, a film camera needs a waterproof door for film access, the winding mechanism needs to be water resistant, along with battery hatches, etc. A $10 hermetically sealed digi-cam for kids can visit the depths, but you had to work a little harder to find an affordable underwater camera a few years back.
The Argus Wet-110 (cute name, thanks marketing department!) is a cheerful yellow number that uses 110 cartridge film. 110 film has been out of style for a while. The simple drop-in cart was a response to consumer complaint that loading conventional 35mm could be difficult. The answer was in these tiny 110 carts, that unfortunately seldom yielded a very good picture. In the case of the Argus Wet-110, it enabled designers to create one of the smallest underwater cameras I've ever seen.
Often underwater cameras are oversized to offer controls large enough for a diver to use while wearing underwater gear. The Argus is made more for splashing around than taking historic photos of the Titanic, so the small size was great for popping the camera into the pocket of your trunks on the way to the beach. I also imagine that the squat size also stands up to underwater pressure a bit better than a larger camera, but I can't imagine a diver taking this camera to a depth where that would be an issue.
The flash that latches on is a nice surprise. Again in the pro world an underwater flash used to be a rather spendy affair (I always wondered whether all that stored up charge could electrocute someone nearby underwater... I've seen too many James Bond movies...), but the addition of this compact unit would make the camera kit even more useful.
I couldn't find any additional information on the internet. I was especially interested in what this camera kit might have cost. Would it have been a little pricey since underwater gear usually is, or would it have followed the credo of 110 film equipment and be quite cheap? I'd also love to see some photos from this camera, no matter how distracting the characteristic grain might be. I'd test it myself and report back to you, dear readers, but the closest body of water to me is Lake Michigan. All I'd get back from the drug store is photos of sunken shopping carts.