Helios 44 2/58

Helios-44M_1

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  • I just got myself one of this. Still haven’t have the chance to try it out again… I bought it mainly for the swirly bokeh, really looking forward for that. I’ve tried to take some photos at home and I find it a bit hard to get the right focus and distance… perhaps need to go through a few more practice. By the way, it will be much appreciated if you can also include the production years and maybe a bit of history to make all the vintage lenses more interesting 😀

    just a humble opinion. love your work!

    • Hey Daniel,

      congrats on your buy. It is easier if you start focusing with the aperture closed and only open it once you are ready to shoot (or get an adapter with a AF confirm chip). And obviously you should try to do it with good lighting conditions (ie outside).

      I will be working on updating the content (production years and history) as soon as I have time!

      Thanks for your feedback!

  • Brett Rogers

    “It was manufactured with M42 mount, Pentax K mount and even Leica M39 thread mount.”

    Was it? I have not previously heard of a version made for Leica screwmount cameras.

    There was however a version made in M39 for early Zenit SLRs, using an M39 instead of M42 mount. Eg the Zenit 3-M 35mm SLR. I actually have a black M39 Helios that I acquired with my own 3-M.

    Because of the difference in lens register of M39 rangefinder lenses and Zenit M39 SLR lenses they are not really interchangeable and should not be confused with each other. As I recall, there may even be a slight difference in the thread pitch of each type.
    Cheers,
    Brett

    • Personally I never came across a M39 version but the official Zenit page states that a few were made in M39 mount: http://www.zenitcamera.com/archive/lenses/helios-44.html

      But you are totally right it is not a Leica M39 but a M39 for SLR mount. Thanks for pointing that out, I will rectify it!

      • Brett Rogers

        Well, the 39 millimetre thread version of the Helios 44 exists: I have one! It is definitively *not* M42. 😉

        • Zos Xavius

          I really don’t know why people are so surprised by this. M39 is the ancestor to M42 which eventually became K-mount.

          • antony_northcutt

            is the 3-M the only body the Helios 44 will work with ? I made the mistake of thinking it would fit a Leica now I need to buy another body for it to focus more than what’s about a millimetre in front of me !

          • tsinik55

            While the thread diameter in Leicas and Helios-44 is the same, their flange focal distance (FFD) is different. The FFD of old Helios-44 is the same as in all M42 bodies – 45.5 mm.
            In order to use your lens on Leica, you’ll need a M39 ring adapter 16,7mm thick – to compensate FFD length (like on picture). https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5e1f514f540add58bd4fb203e36f036b9d9673fe3e8a0ddf80688c92499f2b5f.jpg

  • Pixel

    I’m interested in Helios 44M-2, 4 or 6, but can I use them on a 5D III with M42 adapter? I will not spoil the mirror.. Wich one is to prefer for swirl bokeh?

  • Alex A.

    I have the 44M-2 mounted on a Canon 5D Mark II with an M42 Adapter. the 44M-2 is the one with the most beautiful bokeh. Infinity focussing locks/blocks the mirror… other than that it’s just perfect…

  • Zos Xavius

    I have the M6 in M42 mount and I must say that it is really sharp wide open and its probably true that they are sharper than the earlier 1,2 and 4 versions. After version 2 they changed the formula of this lens so that it produces less swirl in the bokeh. It can still be provoked in my copy, but does take some effort to easily see. That said, even version 6 has some really out of the world rendering in OOF areas. Speaking of cult classics that are total sleepers, if the admin is reading this, you need to review the rexatar 135/2.8. I recently finally started using one that someone had given me a couple of years ago and found it to be razor sharp widen open. Its only real downside, like the helios is flare and back lit subjects.

    • tsinik55

      The M-number on Helios (not counting early 44-2) is not its version, its a quality number (again, plain Helios 44M is somewhat an exception here). The 44M-7 were best, while 44M-2 and 44M-3 were the worst.
      The lens formula didn’t changed at all, its just the quality (or the lack of it).

      • Zos Xavius

        oh I know its the quality number. I like my M6 🙂

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  • Richard Pena

    I have an early Helios 44 (silver) and it is M39 screw mount. I use an M39-to-M42 adapter for use with my Pentax DSLR using a Pentax M42-to-K adapter. The Helios 44 has a 13 blade aperture design while the newer 44-2 has an 8-blade aperture design.

    • tsinik55

      You’re lucky to have that 🙂 I have one M39 Helios-44 too – but it has 8-blade aperture and black finish with silver stripes (zebra).
      The pure silver version is hard to find even here, in Russia.

  • Andrea Bertuzzi

    Got a 44-2 from the KMZ plant, class of ’74 (well, two actually, but one is permanently on my dad’s old Zenit and he won’t let me use it!) and while it’s not the fanciest lens around I love its OOF, the smooth long focus and the stepless preset aperture (not that I ever use the preset ring, but still)… and mind you if you need sharp it can be respectable once stopped down. Only quirk is the diaphragm scale ring set backwards (it reads 16 at WO down to 2 at fully stopped down), the Soviets really had a funny notion of quality control.

    • Funny. the preset ring on mine is backwards too. I thought it was just that someone in the past had put it back together the wrong way !!

  • The Helios 44 is really an excellent lens. One of my faves. The earlier versions were more prone to flare and veiling contrast than the later models. There’s also a simple hack that will amplify the swirly bokeh on this lens even on a micro 43 digital body. I have outlined my review with photos here: http://sjp.id.au/photography/helios-44-lens-review/

  • Cindy J Worthley

    I am hoping to buy one of these lens on Etsy,has any one ever purchased one from there?

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