Detailed review of MC HELIOS-81H 2/50 (aka ARSAT H 50mm 1: 2)

MC Helios-81H 2/50

MC Helios-81H 2/50 lens on the camera Nikon AF N8008s. Enlarge Image.

In short

MC Helios-81H 2/50 (or MC Helios-81H 2/50, or Arsat H 50mm 1: 2) is one of the best standard lenses from Helios family... This lens is most often called a 'fifty-kopeck piece' because of the focal length of 50mm. On full-frame cameras (film and digital cameras with a frame size of 36 x 24 mm) it is standard (in terms of focal lengths and angle of view) and is suitable for everyday use for a wide range of tasks. Helios-81 can also be used as a portrait and creative lens on modern cropped cameras.

In my opinion, Helios-81 earned its popularity due to its compatibility with Nikon digital SLR cameras with Nikon F mount. The bulk of the lenses of the Helios-81 family do not require any adapters and work similarly to the original manual Nikon Nikkor AI / PRE-AI lenses. ...

Also, the popularity of the lens is associated with a special twist of the background, inherent in many lenses of the Helios family, as well as good optical capabilities at a fairly low cost. On average, Helios-81N can be found for $ 30.

It is difficult to overestimate the creative potential of such fifty dollars. Photo enthusiasts often use it as a portrait lens. Many people just want a fast prime, especially in addition to their stock / kit lens. Aperture F / 2 approx. three steps wider aperture of f / 5.6, which is used in 'dark' kit lenses at the long end. In numerical terms, this means that Helios-81 is approximately 8 times brighterthan, for example, whale Nikon DX VR AF-P Nikkor 18-55mm 1: 3.5-5.6Gwhich use a maximum relative aperture of only 50: 1 over a 5.6 mm focal length. The calculation of the difference in the relative aperture (count the aperture) is performed elementarily: (5.6 * 5.6) / (2 * 2) = 7.84, which is rounded to the value '8'.

History

Helios-81 is a descendant of the Helios-65 (HELIOS 65 AUTOMATIC 2/50), which, in turn, is a shortened descendant of the lenses family Helios-44.

The family of lenses Helios-81 includes many models and their modifications. In general, the development of the line proceeded as follows: Helios-81 AUTOMAT -> Helios-81 M -> MC Helios-81 M -> MC Helios-81 N -> Arsat H. Each of the modifications has several sub-versions.

For practical use, the latest versions of MC Helios-81 H (aka 'MC HELIOS 81 H') and Arsat are best suited for which the serial number is indicated on the lens barrel, and not near the front lens.

Appearance # 1

Lens shown below MS HELIOS-81H 2/50 with serial number 9227112, presumably produced in 1992. The front and rear lenses of the objective have cyan, blue, lilac, violet and red anti-reflective shades.

Appearance # 2

Lens shown below MC HELIOS-81H 2/50 with serial number 9315003, presumably produced in 1993. The front lens of the objective has green, purple and red shades of enlightenment.

Appearance # 3

Lens shown below MS HELIOS-81M 2/53 with serial number 8204223, presumably produced in 1982. The front lens of the objective has blue, lilac, violet, red and yellow anti-reflective shades. The petals of the diaphragm are shiny, yellowish-orange (copper-colored). The focus ring rotates 315 degrees (7/8 of a full turn). Three intermediate clicks between F / 2 and F / 2.8 and two intermediate clicks between the other pairs of f-numbers (rare). Does not sit on without alteration Nikon D70, D70s, D80, D90... Nikon is installed on the rest of the CZK without problems. No protrusion for the diaphragm rheostat, with a long 'skirt' of the diaphragm control ring (but the skirt does not rest against the diaphragm rheostat). Nikon F mount, letter 'M' stands for 'M' blinking aperture.

Appearance # 4

Lens shown below ARSAT H 50mm 1: 2 with serial number 9417121, presumably produced in 1994. The front lens of the objective has green, purple and blue shades of enlightenment.

Main technical specifications MC Helios-81H 2/50

The name of the instance from the review (as it is written on the lens itself) MC Helios-81H 2/50 with the logo of the Arsenal factory (there are a lot of other ways to write the name of the lens)
Basic properties
  • Н - H mount, similar to Nikon F, AI or PRE-AI compatible
  • manual focus only.
  • aperture control ring, as well as semi-automatic control of the diaphragm using the aperture ring and the diaphragm pusher of the cameras in which it is available.
  • MS - multi-layer optical coating.
  • the lens is suitable for full-frame cameras (an analogue of modern Nikon FX cameras)
  • metal case
  • lanthanum glass in the optical circuit
Front Filter Diameter 52 mm (there are options for 49 mm)
Focal length 50 mm (according to some sources - 52 or 53 mm), EGF for cameras with APS-C sensor is approximately 75 mm
Zoom ratio 1 x
Designed by for film cameras with a frame size of 36 mm X 24 mm
Number of aperture blades 6 petals. Petals form a hexagon of approximately the correct shape. Petals are dull metal, not blackened.
Labels
  • focusing distance only in meters
  • DOF scale for F / 4, 8, 16 (explicitly indicated) and F / 11, 5.6, 2.8 (stripes only)
  • scale with aperture values ​​for f / 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16
  • bayonet attachment mark (red dot, applied directly to the metal part of the bayonet)
Diaphragm From F / 2 to F / 16.0, it is regulated by the aperture ring, there is no diaphragm operation method switch on the lens. The ring has one intermediate fixed value between the indicated pairs of numbers (between F / 11 and F / 16 there is no intermediate value).
MDF (minimum focusing distance) 0.5 m, maximum magnification ratio is 1: 7 (approximately)
The weight 214 grams measured without caps (lens itself only)
Optical design 6 elements in 4 groups, ('Planar' type scheme)

Optical design of the lens Helios 81n

Lens hood screwed into the front filter, marking of the original hood not found.
Manufacturer country USSR, Arsenal plant (later the lens was produced under the 'Arsat' brand in Ukraine).
Period Several years, the exact period of production is unknown.

Lens modifications

Please note that there are many modifications of the lens and many spellings of its name. The main ones are:

'AUTOMATIC' versions

  • Helios-81 2/50 Automatic - you can see an overview of this modification here
  • Helios-81 2/53 Automatic - you can see an overview of this modification here
  • Helios 81 2/50 Automatic (no dash between 'Helios' and '81')
  • Helios-81 2 /53 Automatic

Versions 'М 2/53'

  1. Helios-81М 2/53 with H-mount, metal silvery unblacked petals, you can see an overview of this modification here
  2. Helios-81М 2/53 H-mount, copper colored metal petals not blackened
  3. MS Helios-81M 2 /53 H-mount, copper-colored, unblacked metal petals (appearance # 3 from this review)

Versions 'H'

  1. MS Helios-81H 2/50 (with serial number near the front lens, long skirt of the aperture control ring, wide focusing ring)
  2. MS Helios-81N 2/50 (serial number from the bayonet side, short skirt of the diaphragm control ring, lilac enlightenment, one of the most common and classic options)
  3. MS Helios-81N 2/50 (serial number from the bayonet side, short skirt of the diaphragm control ring, green enlightenment, one of the most common and classic options)
  4. MS Helios-81N 2 /53
  5. Helios-81Н 2/53 (analogue of Helios-81M 2/53)
  6. ARSAT H 1: 2 50mm - an almost complete copy of MC Helios-81N 2/50, the differences are described here
  7. MC Helios-81h 2/50 - full copy of MS Helios-81H 2/50, export version, this version looks like like this.
  8. MC Helios-81 2/50 - full copy of MC Helios-81N 2/50, export version

Other versions

  1. Helios-81 2/50
  2. Helios-81 2/52 (diaphragm ring on the front of the lens)
  3. Helios-81 (GK-81)
  4. GOI << HELIOS-81 >> 2 / 52,4 (silver metal case)
Different names

Just different names: ARSAT 1: 2 50mm МС ГЕЛИОС-81Н 2/50

Optically, they are the same lens. The difference between lenses with different names lies in different mounting threads or mounts, body rims, enlightenment and age. Many new lenses MS Helios-81Nreleased in Ukraine (after the collapse of the Union) are called Arsat. This review discusses one of the most popular lenses, namely MS Helios-81H 2/50.

View of the Helios-81N MS lens on a Canon camera

View of the Helios-81N MS lens on a Canon EOS camera 350D Digital The lens is mounted using a cheap adapter Nikon mount F - Canon EOS.

As usual, the first thing you feel and pay attention when using the old lens is its weight, the lens is small, very short, it resembles a pancake. The weight of this “pancake” is quite large. The build quality is usual - a lot of metal and glass. The lens has no backlash.

Example photo on MS Helios-81N 2/50

Example photo on MS Helios-81N 2/50

Interesting: 81-H is read not as 81-'ash ', but as 81-'en'. Easy to remember 81-Nikon, as 'H' mount is Nikon F mount (Nikon F mount)

MS Helios 81-N produced at the Arsenal plants in Kiev or Uman in Ukraine. The lens used special lanthanum glasses - super-heavy crowns with high resolution, this allows you to partially get rid of chromatic aberrations.

So there are two versions of the Helios 81 lens

So there are two versions of the Helios 81 lens

How to use with modern cameras

Nikon F-mount DSLRs

To use the Nikon MS Helios-81H 2/50 lens on Nikon DSLR cameras just install the lens without any adapters and shoot for your own pleasure without any tangible limitations. Possibility focusing on infinity, as well as semi-automatic iris control... This is due to the fact that MC Helios-81H 2/50 uses the same bayonet mount (mount type) as the native Nikon lenses. All lenses from cameras Kiev-17, Kiev-17m, Kiev-18, Kiev-19 and Kiev-19m, Kiev-20 use the Nikon F mount, the same as that of modern Nikon DSLRs. Some cameras will even have automatic metering exposure. Exact list of cameras that support metering exposure with manual lenses (such as this one) you can see here or here. For more information on how to use manual lenses, see my article. Soviet optics.

Important: although the lenses MC Helios-81N 2/50 have a protrusion for transmitting the aperture value to the camera through the aperture rheostat (copy AI Nikkor Lenses), while the diaphragm skirt may be too long (like PRE-AI Nikkor Lenses) because some Lenses Helios-81 2/50 without additional modification cannot be installed on modern Nikon DSLR cameras. Some can only be installed on a specific list of cameras. To treat such a disease can be very simple - just cut off part of the diaphragm control ring, as shown in the figure by Sergei Elizarov here.

It's important: if you come across a lens that does not sit on your camera and you don’t want to cut it, you can still easily use the lens on any Nikon DSLR with macro rings... MC Helios-81N 2/50 can be easily installed on any Nikon F cameras via Any extension tube for Nikon F-mount cameras... However, this loses the ability to focus to infinity and medium focusing distances.

Important: to immediately find a variant of MC Helios-81H 2/50, which can work on any Nikon F-mount SLR camera, you need to look for lens options with the name MC Helios-81H 2/50 (or MC HELIOS-81H 2/50) and without a serial numbers near the front lens, as well as any lens variants with the modern name ARSAT.

Important: if something is not clear, or there is a desire to clarify - write in the comments under this review, I and other readers will try to suggest.

Nikon 1 mirrorless cameras

To use the lens on a series of mirrorless cameras Nikon 1 (Nikon 1 S1, Nikon 1 S2, Nikon 1 V1, Nikon 1 V2, Nikon 1 V3, Nikon 1 J1, Nikon 1 J2, Nikon 1 J3Nikon 1 J4Nikon 1 J5, Nikon 1 AW1) use the adapter Nikon F - Nikon 1. The cheapest adapters can be found aliexpress.com. For example, such an adapter can be easily purchased. here.

Important: there are no problems with any versions of Helios-81 for Nikon F mount (Nikon 'N') and any corresponding adapters.

Nikon Z mirrorless cameras

To use the lens on a series of mirrorless cameras Nikon Z use an original Nikon FTZ adapter.

You can use any inexpensive Chinese analogue, for example, such an adapter Nikon AI -> Nikon Z.

Important: there are no problems with any versions of Helios-81 for Nikon F mount (Nikon 'N') and any corresponding adapters.

Canon (EF, M, RF)

In order to install MC Helios-81N 2/50 on any modern digital SLR camera Canon EOS, you will need to use the adapter Nikon mount F - Canon EOS. Possibility focusing on infinity saved. The cheapest adapters can be found aliexpress.com. For example, adapter Nikon mount F - Canon EOS EF (aka Nikon AF-> Canon EF) easy to buy here.

It's important: all lenses of the Helios-81H family (with 'H' / 'Nikon F' mount), regardless of the year of manufacture and the features of the mount, can be installed on any camera without any problems Canon EOS using the specified adapter Nikon mount F - Canon EOS EF (aka Nikon AI-> Canon EF).

To use the lens on mirrorless cameras series Canon EOS M use adapter Nikon F - Canon EOS M (aka Nikon AI-Canon M). The cheapest adapters can be found aliexpress.com. For example, such an adapter can be easily purchased. here.

To use the lens on mirrorless cameras Canon EOS R series, use an adapter Nikon F - Canon EOS R (aka Nikon AI-> Canon RF). The cheapest adapters can be found aliexpress.com. For example, such an adapter can be easily purchased. here.

Sony (A, E)

Using the lens with SLR cameras Sony (DSLRs as well as SLT cameras with a translucent mirror) is difficult. For use, an adapter with a corrective lens should be used, which may negatively affect the image quality. If you still want to use MC Helios-81N 2/50 on cameras Sony / Minolta with A-mount, use the adapter Nikon F - Sony A. The cheapest adapters can be found aliexpress.com. For example, such an adapter can be easily purchased. here.

To use the lens on mirrorless cameras Sony NEX, Sony ILCE, Sony ALPHA with Sony E mount or Sony FEjust use an inexpensive adapter Nikon F - Sony E. The cheapest adapters can be found aliexpress.com. For example, such an adapter can be easily purchased. here... Also available for these cameras autofocus adapter Techart PRO Leica M - Sony E Autofocus Adapterwhich can be found at this link.

FUJIFILM (X, GFX)

X-mount mirrorless cameras require an adapter Nikon F -> Fuji X (aka AI-> X). The cheapest adapters can be found aliexpress.com. For example, such an adapter can be easily purchased. here.

For mirrorless medium format cameras with mount GFX need adapter Nikon F -> Fuji GFX (aka AI-> GFX). The cheapest adapters can be found aliexpress.com. For example, such an adapter can be easily purchased. here.

SIGMA / PANASONIC / LEICA (L, M)

An adapter is required for mirrorless cameras with Leica L mount (T, TL, SL) Nikon F -> Leica L (aka AI-> L). The cheapest adapters can be found aliexpress.com. For example, such an adapter can be easily purchased. here. For cameras with a Leica M mount need adapter Nikon F -> Leica M (aka AI-> M).

PENTAX

Using a lens with Pentax SLR cameras is difficult. For use, an adapter with a correction lens should be used, which can adversely affect image quality. If you still want to use Helios-81H 2/50 MC on Pentax cameras with K mount (and its modifications), then you should use the adapter Nikon F - Pentax K. The cheapest adapters can be found aliexpress.com. For example, such an adapter can be easily purchased. here... The same goes for a mirrorless camera. Pentax K-01.

To use the lens on Pentax mirrorless cameras with Pentax Q mount (Pentax Q, Pentax Q10, Pentax Q7, Pentax Q-s1)just use an inexpensive adapter Nikon F - Pentax Q. The cheapest adapters can be found aliexpress.com. For example, such an adapter can be easily purchased. here.

SAMSUNG (NX)

NX mount mirrorless cameras require an adapter Nikon F -> Samsung NX (aka AI-> NX). The cheapest adapters can be found aliexpress.com. For example, such an adapter can be easily purchased. here. For the camera Nx mini adapters do not exist yet.

OLYMPUS / PANASONIC / KODAK / XIAOMI (mirrorless, MICRO 4/3)

To use the lens on mirrorless cameras OLYMPUS / PANASONIC / KODAK /  XIAOMI (and some others) with a Micro 4/3 mount, it is enough to use an inexpensive adapter Nikon F - MICRO 4/3. The cheapest adapters can be found aliexpress.com. For example, such an adapter can be easily purchased. here.

OLYMPUS / PANASONIC / LEICA (mirrors, 4/3)

For SLR cameras with a 4/3 mount (not to be confused with Micro 4/3!) An adapter is required Nikon F-> 4/3. The cheapest adapters can be found aliexpress.com. For example, such an adapter can be easily purchased. here.

Attention! Lenses of the HELIOS AUTOMAT series

Very important: the lenses Helios-81 2/50 AUTOMATIC и Helios-81 2/53 AUTOMATIC cannot be used with modern cameras. Simply there are no corresponding adapters. Attackers often give out Helios-81 2/50 Automatic (a review of this modification you can see here) и Helios-81 2/53 Automatic (a review of this modification you can see here) for the lens MC Helios-81N 2/50. Be attentive!

Sample photos on Nikon DX (APS-C, crop 1.5X)

Examples of photos on the Helios-81H and Nikon DX MS (APS-C, crop 1.5X)

In the gallery below everything is filmed on Nikon D200 without treatment, with a fully open (maximum) aperture F \ 2.0. Reduced size to 1600 * 1200 and imprinted data from EXIF

Sample photos on Helios-81H and Nikon FX MS (APS, full frame)

All photos were taken on a Helios-81N MC and a full-frame camera Nikon D700 FX no processing. Reduced size to 1920 * 1080 pixels and imprinted data from EXIF.

Sample photos on MC Helios-81N and Canon APS-C (crop 1.6X)

The photos below were taken using a camera Canon 350D and here such an adapter. EGF is 80mm.

UPDATE

Photographer shared examples of photos on MC Helios-81N 2/50 with readers of Radozhiva Lilia Nemykina:

My experience

I like Helios-81N, with it you can feel the spirit of Soviet lenses, get nice shots and feel like a real manual technician (a photographer who uses manual lenses).

Unfortunately, I must state the fact that in general this fifty kopeck piece loses in many respects to any autofocus similar lens. Helios-81N is very popular, but still, if possible, I recommend using autofocus fifty dollars. Some of them, for example, Nikon 50 / 1.8 AF MKI / II / III (for cameras with a focus motor) or Yongnuo 50 / 1.8 (for any Nikon cameras) are only slightly more expensive than the Helios-81N.

Results

Helios 81H - one of the best full-time Soviet aperture lenses... First of all, Helios 81H is interesting for its twisted bokeh, compact size and low cost.

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. For the selection of a variety of photographic equipment, I recommend E-Catalog, Socket и AliExpress.


Material prepared Arkady Shapoval... Look for me on Youtube | Facebook | VK | Instagram | Twitter.

Add a comment:

 

 

Comments: 1 938, on the topic: Detailed review of MC HELIOS-81H 2/50 (aka ARSAT H 50mm 1: 2)

  • anonimus

    Um .. In the last pictures, some kind of brutal processing. There is only a name from the gelik. One of the eyes of the girl cut out from Satan are worth something. Why do that? It also makes you shudder.
    Probably fashion?

    • Novel

      The sign of the cross to help. You can pour St. water in the system unit of the computer, I assure you, will help.

      • anonimus

        You have strange methods, but in the case of such processing, it may not be a bad option for the one who processed it like that. Aspen stake as an addition may not be superfluous

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    Is there somewhere data on the resolution of the Helios-81N optics? And which old manual lens from 50 to 100mm is considered the best in resolution?

    • Rodion

      Well, this helios is on par with the usual old 50 / 1.8 lenses. Better results will be given by lenses that are no longer built on this old scheme, but on something newer.

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    And if you choose between this and the U37A?

    • Oleg

      Between so different focal points, you need to choose not only in quality, but in ease of use. Here it is already difficult to focus on other people's impressions, only on your own.

    • Boris Alexandrovich, 77 years old

      Try Jupiter 8, a pure portrait lens. You should like it.

      • B. R. P.

        If you put on the bzk, then yes.

  • Sergei

    Hello, I got Helios 44m-4. I like the picture. I'm thinking about 81H, tell me, is there any point in changing it? Attracted by Nikon's bayonet. Will there be the same bokeh torsion on 81H as on 44m-4 on a d7000 crop?

    • B. R. P.

      The twist will be less and of a slightly different character. But there will be a tip from mdf to ∞. It is possible not to change, but to supplement the collection.

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    Is there a big difference with Helios 44m? Should I specifically buy 81? Applied to Canon.

    • Novel

      With regard to Canon, you can have ANY manual fifty dollars to play with and put on the shelf and a standard autofocus 50 / 1.8 STM (50 / 1.4) for full shooting.

      • Aleksey68

        why put it on the shelf? with a good manual, you can shoot almost as easily as with AF glass. in any case, my percentage of accurate focus on the manual is higher than 50 1.4, which is fine-tuned and hits exactly, but only in laboratory conditions.

        • Andrii

          Well, okay, just like that, simple and accurate. Maybe even faster, so that everything was up to the heap?

          • Aleksey68

            and what is surprising? good glass, with minimal SA, the correction in the EMF chip is matched. and if in LV, then ML helps to shoot just as easily as in any UPC.

            • Novel

              No thanks. I understand that a Soviet engineer can do a lot with cancer, sideways and oversubbing, but when shooting, the last thing I want to think about is LiveView, did I get into focus, cover this fucking diaphragm with my hands. Why ignore thirty years of photography?

              • Aleksey68

                to whom what. I repeat, I have no problems getting a high-quality frame on manual glasses. because the same haste is not always needed, as when catching fleas)), however, the quality of the image formed by the old Germans and Japanese is very high.

                and for the reportage there is a “unit” and a third mark and a certain amount of AF optics.

                (I do not urge to shoot ONLY on manuals, not at all, I just replied that they are more than suitable for shooting than for collecting dust on the shelves)

              • Novel

                Yes, you can, of course, they were filming for almost a hundred years before the invention of autofocus, and they are still filming. It's just that I can recall the cases where Helios' drawing was successfully used on my fingers. A pseudo-macro with snails and mushrooms, where twisting gave this feeling of magic, and the locals immediately started howling about post-processing and Photoshop. And there are many portraits shot for fifty dollars, where, by and large, the drawing did not solve anything, and the use of manual was a show of the photographer. In most typical scenarios, the MF creates much more inconvenience.

                However, given the dull nature of the subject, the blurriness of the image often matches the subject well.

            • Andrii

              Reading nothing surprises you.

        • Victor

          The devil, as usual, is in the details - in this very “almost”, almost, but not so simple)) For some, this “almost” is enough to just put the manual on the shelf and take the autofocus glass, especially if you shoot something moving ...

          • Aleksey68

            I shoot the dynamics on one unit and AF glass, statics - on manual glasses.

            • Andrei

              Fundamentally)))). With a tripod?

              • Aleksey68

                on FR 50mm and shorter - from hands, on longer focal length - from a tripod.

              • Andrei

                That I already understood that the sruk, it was necessary not to answer.

        • Serge

          I never learned how to work with autofocus, so for everyone, including modern ones, only manual focusing.

          • Andrei

            Well, yes, autofocus is very difficult to learn how to use. Available only photo guru 60 lvl, not lower.

    • B. R. P.

      The 81st is sharper in the open, a little wider than 44m, the color rendition is slightly different. With regard to Kenon, the advantages of a skipping rope working on Nikon are lost.

    • Oleg

      At 81 there is no background swirl. In any case, as obvious as on 44. But in terms of picture quality, 81 is better. It depends on what priorities to set.

      • Oleg Shevchenko

        There is a swirl of the background, not always of course, but there is. And even on the crop it is noticeable.

  • Dmitriy

    The text says that the filter thread for the 52 mm lens, on my 87 copy is 49, in order to put filters on 52 and even have to buy a raising ring for the hood.

  • Я

    My copy 8602964 has a 49mm filter.

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