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Sokol Automat
Lomo 130AL, -130A
2006. Sovietcams.
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The first camera in the series was the Sokol ("Falcon") Automat, that appeared in 1966. LOMO was obviously inspired by the novel Japanese rangefinder cameras that had a lot of functions for a competitive price. So they designed the Sokol, as a Soviet-Russian attempt to copy what made Japan one of the rising stars in the industry.

The first Sokol has quite some functions up its sleeve. For starters, it had an automatic exposure mode that made things dramatically simpler for the amateur photographer - you push the button, the Sokol does the rest. Manual control was, of course, still an option. The Sokol also had parallax correction and a quite nice one at that: as you focus closer, the framelines shift to the lower right corner. Much better than the usual set of framelines for infinity and close-up. Other features include a large rangefinder base (72mm), a good lens, a Copal-licensed shutter and flash sync at all speeds.

The original Sokol was succeeded in 1969 by a model unchanged except for the number of cells in the lens facade: three instead of six. LOMO probably figured that half the cells did the job just as well for half the price, or perhaps they just doubled their sensitivity and added a transistor. This configuration stayed in production until 1979, when the Sokol-2 was released into the world.

Perhaps noteworthy is the budget Sokol that was for sale in 1974 and 1975 on the domestic market: this LOMO 130A had only one light meter cell and, in a clear effort to cut the most dramatic costs, lacked the strap lugs. (source: http://cameras.alfredklomp.com/sokol2/)


An earliest version of Sokol-Automat camera from Salbiy Pseunok (Russia) collection.