James's Light Meter Collection: Leningrad 2
Leningrad 2 exposure meter USSR
Maker: Leningrad
Model: 2 (YU 11/2 - ю 11/2)
Circa: 1964
Cell type: Selenium
Measure type: reflecting/averaging; 2D incident with attachment

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 a Leningrad 2, the follow-up to the original Leningrad. Considering the number of them I've seen for sale (don't go by eBay. Everything is "rare" on eBay), this must have been a brisk seller. One thing going for it is that it's quite pretty: that big red dial and the white meter face look very attractive on it. Most meters, both foreign and domestic, were very drably colored well into the 60s, and the only used splashes of color on the label.

This was also made by the Vibrator factory in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia), but again I believe it was based heavily on an East German make that was part of Pentacon (the East German side of Zeiss/Ikon). The Russians liked to take an East German meter and make a few changes and brand it as Russian. The Germans did the R&D and the Russians manufactured it. Why duplicate the effort?

This meter was so popular it was also produced at another plant and sold under the Moscow brand. It's identical except for the nameplate in front, even down to the model number (ю 11/2). This was common practice in the USSR: if they felt like it (perhaps as make-work for an idle plant; perhaps as a way to increase production without increasing capacity at an existing factory), the Russians would take a popular camera and produce an identical version at another location, sometimes with the original badging, sometimes with new badging.

Here is a cross-reference chart for film speeds (ASA / ISO / DIN / GOST / others) .

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