Sokol 2

What? You want big camera?



Sokol 2, my first thought was. Big... The Sokol is big. It is almost twice the size of a Lomo or a Kiev 35a. This camera is huge for a mere rangefinder. So my second thought was, how do I remove the lens? Well, you can't. This lens is fixed. Big Industar 70 50/2.8 mm. It does have a nice shutter though. No cloth in this camera. Still it is a big camera. Bigger than my Fed 2. Just for measurement, look at that tiny roll of 35 mm film next to that Sokol 2. And yes that is a Lomo LC-A on the right and a Zenit SLR in the background.



But the Sokol has some good points. It has a rangefinder it can even operate in an automatic mode. When I got it it was supposed to be broken. It worked only in manual mode. But for some strange reason only on a fstop of 2.8. Time to search princelle. I want bore you with historical details. For me the only interesting thing was that it did not use selenium to power its lightmeter but cds cells. Cds cells need power. So somewhere on this big camera must be a hidden battery compartment. At first I couldn't find it. There were scratches on the bottom so pherhaps the previous owner thought the compartment was there. It was not... in fact after some searching I found out that the batterycompartment was located under the filmreminder and it was stuck. To make a long story a bit shorter. I unstuck it and put in a battery. Suddenly the automode worked. And it is one very interesting system. If you look through the viewfinder, you will see the speed and aperture it is working on. Slowest speeds (1/30th) are on top highest speeds on the bottom (1/500th). When put in automode it will refuse to fire if there is not enough light. Mechanicly it is very well made. The whole lightmeter/viewfinder system a small marvel of mechanics. The electronics are simple, battery feeds the cells, those are the 3 little holes on front of the lens. Cells turn the metercoil inside, metercoil works the mechanics for the shutter aperture and viewfinder. If there is not enough light a red block will appear in the viewfinder and the shutter is blocked. You can set the maximum speed yourself in automode. So it has a speed priority mode. When there isn't enough light it will adjust the speed itself independent from the controls on the lens. These also house the filmsensitivity switch, which has a little drawback. Not only is it made in gost but it only goes up to 250 gost. No 400 asa for you....
But still this is one big SOB of a camera. Did I mention it has straplugs? Well you need them. Sokol is big AND heavy. Sokol by the way means Falcon. I'm sorry, Falcon? This big and heavy camera shouldn't be called after a gracious hunting bird. Turkey would be better. But it isn't a bad camera. You can use filters on the frontend of the lens. It HAS a rangefinder, a square block which is cleary seen in its bright viewfinder. It is very very strong. The shutterbutton isn't located on the top but on the front. It is a very big shutterbutton. But I did not have a problem with it being on the front. On top we find a small hole for a remote release cable (nice touch) and on the back located in the middle the Lomo Logo. Yes, the company that brought you the infamous happy small shooter called LC-A also brought you this big one. Also on the right of the back a very enigmatic little round button which function eludes me. The button is there, it even can move but what it should do? I really don't know. I hear you thinking, it is the film release! No that is the one on the bottom.

Small update.... that little enigmatic button? Its the battery test button.

Bottomline;

  • Big and heavy
  • has straplugs
  • lens is fixed but fast and multicoated
  • can function without battery (only takes one)
  • has a rangefinder and lightmeter
The Sokol 2 is a nice throw around camera. Put it in your car or take it to the beach. The Sokol can take a little roughness. You can even hit muggers over the head with it. No, one will steal it because it looks outdated. The Sokol 2 is very capable of taking good shots. It might look old, big and bulky but it is still a fun camera.

Copyright © Tom A.H. Piel

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