Do you have questions?
Write us! We will be happy to answer your questions within 12 hours!
Your question
Have a good day!
Helios lens

Sokol camera - automatic review

It so happened that the Sokol-2 camera came across to me earlier than the Automatic Sokol. Therefore, for Sokol-2, I already have a review and there is interesting information about the history and design features of the entire line.
For this article, I also tried to find interesting material, while minimizing duplication.

Therefore, if you are interested in the topic of the Falcon, then it is better to read both articles. With this and about Sokol-2.

The development of the Sokol apparatus began in 1964. The project was called "Automatic ZKM". The project was based on the need to use the new FZ-14 shutter in a domestic camera.

FZ-14 is a licensed copy of the Japanese Copal magic shutter, which was very advanced at that time.

The FZ-14 shutter made it possible to flexibly and in a rather original way control the exposure in automatic mode and at the same time demonstrated high reliability and a significant operating life.

The task of creating an apparatus based on FZ-14 was given to two enterprises - LOOMP and MMZ. At the same time, the role of the developer of the main technical points was assigned to LOOMP.

The designers did not set specific tasks and restrictions, and they tried to implement the most daring ideas. Not all proposals, however, were implemented.

For example, they abandoned a replaceable backdrop with a film, which could be quickly changed, switching from black-and-white film to color, etc. It was not possible to fit into the body and the spring drive for moving the frame and cocking the shutter.

Nevertheless, the device at LOOMP still turned out to be innovative, tk. firstly, the exposure metering was built on a photoresitor (before that, it was mainly used selenium), and secondly, the automatics showed in the viewfinder a specific exposure pair, which was going to work, which was just very cool and convenient.

Automation is insidious, and when pressing the shutter, the photographer often had to be prepared for the fact that he would suddenly have to "withstand" a long exposure. Conscious control of the depth of field is also questionable, if the diaphragm is controlled by automation.
In this case, in addition to the more flexible FZ-14 program, the photographer is also fully informed. And forewarned, as you know, means armed.

In December 1964, technical projects were defended for both Leningraders and Minskers at the same time. Both projects were successfully defended.

MMZ has prepared a project for the Orion-KM camera. This is a rangefinder camera with two exposure control modes: a) automatic with shutter priority b) manual mode. Cocking the shutter and transporting the film - by the trigger. The center shutter operates from 1/30 to 1/500 and V.

There were two modifications of Orion-KM - with a photoresistor and with a selenium photocell.

The washer on the front panel to the right of the lens is most likely a film speed selector.

No modification of Orion-KM was mass-produced.

The automatic falcon, on the other hand, began to be produced, not to say that a lot, but in fair quantities. Serial production and sales of this device began in 1967.

There is information that Sokol's designers-developers with the start of sales for some time took the place of sellers in photo shops and personally advised buyers.
The first 1,800 vehicles produced in 1967 had numbers starting with zero. It is this early modification with the number 001458 that is presented in the review. The device is in excellent condition, the shutter is good.

Additional, in addition to the number, distinctive features of the model of the first releases:

- in the upper part of the lens there are six light-receiving windows;
- the power control button is located on the top cover of the case from above;
- there is an inscription “Made in USSR” on the back wall of the upper cover of some cameras.

At the end of 1967, another 200 devices were produced, the first two digits of the number of which already contain the year of manufacture.

In 1967, the Automatic Sokol was immediately awarded the Gold Medal at the Leipzig Fair, and was also awarded the Gold, Silver and three Bronze medals at the Exhibition of Economic Achievements.

During 1968 the device received a seven-digit year number and the power control button was moved behind the back wall.

In 1969, the six apertures on the top of the lens were replaced with three.

Here is a photo of a later modification of the device

By the way, here is a very rare modification called Ladoga.

Falcon immediately had a great export potential, because the apparatus was indeed advanced. Several variants of the name of the export models of the Falcon are known.

For example, Aurora Automat.

Or Revue Auto RS.

Moreover, since 1970, most of the manufactured devices began to write the name in Latin letters - "SOKOL".
In 1973, two modifications were produced on the basis of Sokol: LOMO-130A (original name Sokol-MA) and LOMO-130AL (original name Sokol-MS).

Both cameras had a single light-receiving window and hot-contact flash brackets.

LOMO-130AL, when shooting with a flash, had an automatic aperture setting depending on the distance to the subject being shot. This model did not go into series, only a few prototypes are known.

LOMO-130A did not know how to control the aperture when shooting with flash and was produced in limited quantities from 1973 to 1975. Now these devices are very rare.

In 1978, the production of the Sokol apparatus was curtailed, tk. a new model was released - Sokol-2. I recommend reading his review.

I will add that the resource contains a photo of experimental attachments for cameras of the Sokol family. These attachments made it possible to change the focal length of the object and at the same time correct the image in the viewfinder and rangefinder window.

Such attachments are the only attempt I know of to change the FR of Soviet rangefinders with fixed lenses.
Well, let's take a look at my copy of the Falcon.

Sokol-automatic camera
The falcon was produced at LOMO from 1966 to 1978. The production volume of this model was about 185 thousand units.

Rangefinder device.

Sokol has a so-called five-program automatic exposure control with shutter priority.

The shutter is central, inter-lens. Bounces shutter speeds 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1/500 and V.

How the Sokol automatics work and how the exposure is reflected in the viewfinder, I recommend reading in the Sokol-2 review. There is no difference in comparison with this model, we will not repeat ourselves.

Lens - non-removable Industar-70 2.8 / 50. The lens is made according to the Tessar scheme (Carl Zeiss) - four lenses in three groups.

There is information that the objective lenses are made of lanthanum glass.

Aperture limit - f16.
The device is equipped with a "cold" flash bracket. Synchronization is wired, for two types of flashes - magnesium and electronic.

Self-timer - absent.

The weight of my copy is 805 grams.

Control elements:

The falcon is a large and weighty apparatus. The design of the case is detailed and not devoid of style. The device lies comfortably in the hands.

In front, the entire upper part of the body is occupied by a decorative frame (unequal in height), which covers the front window of the viewfinder, a light receiver for the formation of luminous frames, a rangefinder window, the area in which the name is applied - the words "Falcon" and "automatic".
The rangefinder base is quite wide - 67 mm.

To the right of the lens is an unusually large, narrow shutter release button with a long vertical travel.

The descent of the device is soft, but for me this implementation of the descent is traditionally inconvenient. The key is too low and has too long a stroke.

Around the lens is a film speed selector ring. The window with the selected value is at the bottom of the front end of the lens.

Above the lens is the main distinguishing feature of the Sokol series - the eyes of the light detectors of the exposure metering system. In this case, the early version of the device has six eyes. It is for this six-eyed nature that the Automaton Falcon is loved by collectors.
Interestingly, with any number of eyes, the photoresistor was in any case behind only one of them. The rest are decoration.

Perhaps it was originally intended to use several photoresistors to improve accuracy, but definitely not six pieces. So, we have before us explicit marketing, which is commendable.

Behind there is a large rectangular viewfinder eyepiece in a black frame and a metal trigger for the shutter cocking and frame advance.

The Sokol-Automatic has a good viewfinder - large and light. In the field of view, glowing framing frames.
Parallax compensation is automatic. This means that when focusing, the frames in the viewfinder move so that their displacement compensates for the parallax for each specific distance.

The viewfinder spot has a rectangular shape and is clearly defined, although it is not large in area. Focus is comfortable.

The main highlight of the Sokol viewfinder is, of course, the display of the exposure pair.
The numbers are displayed medium-sized and according to the same technology, by which the luminous frames are superimposed, because it is not always good to see them. You can see them in the photo if you enlarge the picture. They are located on the right side of the viewfinder.

The expopara is displayed only in automatic mode.

The numbers appear when you half-press the shutter button to the first perceptible stop. When the shutter is not cocked, the numbers also pop up, but they do not reflect the real measurement!

In the process of pressing the button, you can see how the numbers in the viewfinder change as if (most likely they are), they are applied to the disk that rotates. At some point, the pairs stop replacing each other, and the actual one continues to remain in the field of view as long as the button is half-pressed.

At different exposures, the exposure pairs appear slightly in different places. At shutter speed 1/30 - the highest, at 1/500 - below.

From the bottom of the device, from left to right, are located:
- 1/4-inch threaded tripod socket protruding downward;
- a small window of the frame counter in the form of a short arc;
- shutter release button for rewinding the film;

The large cylindrical part to the right is nothing more than an additional anchor point.

The back cover lock is located on the left side at the very bottom. To open the lock, you need to pull the bracket down. The lid of the device is hinged to the side.

On the top of the same end there is a rewind tape measure.

On the top panel of the Sokol-machine you can see:
- "cold" bracket for flashes;
- round slot for release cables;
- rotary switch of the battery validity control system;
- round screw cover of the battery compartment with a reminder of the type of film.
The device operates on one RC-53 battery. A separate article is devoted to the topic of selecting a modern replacement for Soviet batteries.

Shutter speed and aperture control is carried out using the selector rings that surround the lens.

This is not typical for central gates, therefore I write in lowercase. The rule is strict, if not observed, the shutter fails!

If the device is used in automatic mode, the diaphragm ring should be in position A.

Using the shutter speed ring we set the shutter speed recommended for the device, aim at the scene, half-press the shutter release, control the exposure.

If everything suits you, press the descent to the end.

You can set an arbitrary aperture. This should be done only when the shutter is cocked, I repeat.

Apertures are switched using a leash on the bottom of the ring, and to remove the ring from position A, you also need to move a small lever on the lens towards the body. He's close to the shutter button. This is such a blocker against accidental switching.

Both rings switch with clear latches and clicks.

The ring on the lens farthest from the body of the device is responsible for focusing. The ring has a fairly wide knurl.

The distance scale is duplicated with values in feet.

The designers have not forgotten about the depth of field scale.
The wire sync jacks are located on the barrel section of the lens base at the bottom right.

Below are a number of pictures to compare the early Sokol-machine with Sokol-2.

Attitude towards the camera.

I was very fortunate to meet this early specimen in good condition. Sokol devices in six-eyed design are quite rare and are in constant demand among collectors.

Made on