As the description of this review suggests, the Sputnik is a no-holds-barred, meat and two veg, gloss white skirting boards, cuckold enforcing, brick of a camera. It is essentially a bakelite brick with a central divider. The two separate chambers within said brick have a 75mm lens at one end, and a 6x6 gate at the other. Capturing 12 images as six stereoscopic pairs, the Sputnik uses the sequential method of image capture. You must wind on two frames at a time viewing the frame number via the small red window on the rear of the camera. Enough about the camera. It is in summary two Lubitel-166 stuck together with crude metal arms that sort of link it all together.
One thing to observe in many of the example images provided in the context of this review is that one image is often brighter than the other in each stereo pair. I scanned the negatives in image pairs to ensure that they were each given the same exposure and setting applied to each side of the stereo-pair. This issue can often occur in poorly serviced stereo cameras. Either, the aperture irises fall out of synchronisation causing each lens to transmit a noticeably different amount of light to the other. Alternatively, the individual shutters that serve each lens can open for a different amount of time, rather than both opening for the same amount of time as intended.
It is really quite functional when in use. It doesn't have any frills or bells, but it doesn't need them. Just a few levers and switches to make up the exposure and focus controls and you're good to go. It takes 120 film that is still incredibly easy to find and will be for a long time. The red window is pretty clear and makes it easy to read the frame numbers through in all but the most challenging of lighting situations. All things considered, it is not at all heavy for what could be considered two medium format cameras stuck together. In other words, it just goes, and goes, and is a real joy to shoot with. The controls are small but effective and once a process has been established, it's very quick and easy to operate efficiently and accurately when it is behaving itself.
You'd be fucked in a pinch if you dropped it though.
Lastly, two final points in favour of the Sputnik. When compared to almost any other medium format option, it costs about 10 per cent as much to acquire as the next best option. Secondly, the camera's design and styling are genuinely, unapologetically Soviet, Brutalist, and in my opinion, make an extremely attractive camera.