James's Light Meter Collection: Rapri E201
Rapri exposure meter USSR
Maker: Rapri
Model: E201
Circa: 1979
Measure type: Comparometer
Measure type: Spot
Batteries: six PX625 button cells

Russian stuff is notoriously difficult to research. The vast gulf in language and culture is bad enough; add the fact that they were a closed society for decades and publishing their product history was a non-existent priority. Add the fact that even though there were "companies," everything was state-owned and products could be developed here, produced there, and moved here there and elsewhere at the whim of a government beaurocrat who had the power to make it happen for any reason he saw fit. It's tough to learn much about Russian equipment.

This is the only Russian meter of its kind that I've seen; it's a spot photometer: it works on the same principle as the SEI Photometer and the Phaestrons. There's a little red LED that lights up when you press the button, the intensity control is a wheel on the drum on top. You look through the eyepiece at the scene you want to measure. There's a filter so everything looks red. You push the button to turn the light on, then rotate the collar until the LED blends in with whatever you're measuring. Then read the calculator slide-rule on the top for your combinations.

There's a way to turn either the center or bottom ring to set the film speed, but I haven't figured that out yet. The manual's in Russian and I haven't finished scanning it.

Another oddity to this thing is the secret battery compartment. On the right-hand side of it (if you were to look through the viewfinder) there's a circular logo. Press on that with your fingertip and it'll push the battery drawer out the left side. Load it with batteries (I'm still figuring out what it needs) and push it back in, and you're set.

There's a nifty website on this meter. The original is in Polish, and here it is through Google Translate. According to them, it takes six PX625 cells. Enzo Calabresi, who also owns this meter, confirms this.

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