Helios 44 Lens Overview

This review presents exactly old Helios-44 lens 2/58 for M39 thread, and not its subsequent modifications. Its number 0220423, issued at the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant (KMZ), as evidenced by the emblem of the plant on the lens. Also, part of the old white Helios-44 was produced in Belarus.

Aperture limits2.0-16.0
Number of aperture blades: 13
Thread: M39
Focal length: 58mm
Optical design: 6 elements in 4 groups

Helios 44 lens overview, front view on a modern camera

Helios 44 lens overview, front view on a modern camera

The optical design was taken from Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 2 / 58. Zeiss lenses are still famous for their excellent quality and picture.

Photo at Helios-44

Photo at Helios-44

The lens is in a classic white metal frame, characteristic of the years of its release. Resolution 35/14 lines / mm. The focus limit is from 0.5 meters to infinity. Please note that there was also Helios-44 for the “Start” with a special bayonet mount. You can look at Helios-44 2/58 with 8 aperture blades.

Photo at Helios-44

Photo at Helios-44

The first thing, of course, that catches your eye is his white metal frame, which looks unusual on a black camera.

Sample photo on Helios 44

Sample photo on Helios 44

Advantages of the Helios 44 lens:

  1. Excellent aperture. What does the lens have enough sharp already at full aperture. On F / 2.0, good sharpness is obtained, which allows you to use it in poor lighting, and on 2.0 you can get good portraits.
  2. There is aperture preset ring. You can set the aperture to the desired value, focus on sharpness with the F / 2.0 aperture fully open, close the ring to the set value and take a picture.

    The photo on Helios-44 is old, white, with 13 aperture blades. No processing.

    The photo on Helios-44 is old, white, with 13 aperture blades. No processing.

  3. This lens can be used with full-frame cameras. On the crop matrix, the angle of the field of view is narrowed, the equivalent angle will be as for 87mm in the full frame. This is a great focal length. for portraiture, because the lens is great for photographing portraits - and therefore it is still very loved by modern photographers.
  4. Excellent sharpness. This lens is one of the first, after it there were a large number of modifications, different models were produced at different factories. In general, modifications of Helios-44 (m2, m3, m4, etc.) made it one of the most popular lenses in the world. Because of this, in later periods there was more marriage and later versions are considered to be worse in quality in comparison with such old people as Helios-44. Remember that when gossip becomes obsolete, they become myths. So the myth was created, that Helios are rather unpleasant lenses.

    The photo on Helios-44 is old, white, with 13 aperture blades. No processing.

    The photo on Helios-44 is old, white, with 13 aperture blades. No processing.

  5. Its design will survive both me and you, my dear reader. This is not modern Chinese plastic. Illusions about the super-high quality of modern lenses, like teeth, are lost with age. Helios-44 removes so far.
  6. 13-blade aperture. So many of modern aftofocus lenses boast units. Of the manual ones: only Jupiter-37a, Jupiter-11, Tair-11 can compete with this Helios in the number of petals and the correctness of the circles in the blur zone. It's funny that the diaphragm has an odd number of petals, which is not typical for Soviet optics. Using a round aperture, you can easily get rid of the “nuts” in the bokeh, which are very undesirable for portraiture.
The photo on Helios-44 is old, white, with 13 aperture blades. No processing.

The photo on Helios-44 is old, white, with 13 aperture blades. No processing.

Disadvantages:

  1. Inconvenient focuser ring, described the problem below.
  2. Weakly holds lateral light.

The bokeh is excellent, slightly twisted in the Helios (Biotar) style. But in my opinion Helios-44 twists bokeh much less than its subsequent modifications. HA noticeable only on open diaphragms when closely studied. Lens gives a sharp, but at the same time soft picture (sharp contours, but even and soft color filling). On crop, I did not notice a serious drop in sharpness at the edges of the frame, nor was there a visible vignette. In order not to read a lot - see the gallery on Helios-44 in this review. (Pictures 1600 * 1200 are adjusted to the size of your display to open the picture completely, just copy the address of the image and paste it into the browser line).

How to use with modern cameras?

Mounting lenses M39 (for SLR cameras, M39 X 1 / 45.2), such as the lens from this review, are very easy to use on almost any modern digital camera (both SLR and mirrorless), for this it’s enough to choose correct adapter. The cheapest adapters can be found aliexpress.com.

For use on modern digital SLR cameras Canon EOS need M39-Canon EOS adapter, you can buy such an adapter (adapter) here. Also, an adapter M39-Canon EOS can be easily replaced with two adapters: M42-Canon EOS + M39-M42. Detailed information on the use of such lenses with any Canon EOS cameras will find here.

For use on Nikon SLR cameras, you need an adapter M39-Nikon F, you can buy such an adapter (adapter) without a lens and a chip here. Also, one adapter M39-Nikon F can be easily replaced with two adapters: M42-Nikon F + M39-M42. Detailed information on the use of such lenses with any modern Nikon cameras will find here.

How to use this lens with cameras of other systems (Pentax, Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, Samsung, Sigma etc.) - ask in the comments and you will be prompted. If you have any questions on compatibility and adapters, ask in the comments (comments do not require any registration at all, any user can add a comment).

In the comments, you can ask a question on the topic and they will answer you, as well as you can express your opinion or describe your experience. For the selection of photographic equipment, I recommend large catalogs, for example E-Catalog. Many little things for the photo can be found on AliExpress.

Sample photo on Helios 44

Sample photo on Helios 44

Features to watch out for:

It turned out to be quite enough for me inconvenient focusing ring. That is, the focuser is arranged rather inconveniently near the camera mount, the ribbed “nut” of the focuser is also located on the side of the mount, and the second part of the focuser is smooth metal, which is also not very pleasant and convenient to turn.

The photo on Helios-44 is old, white, with 13 aperture blades. No processing.

The photo on Helios-44 is old, white, with 13 aperture blades. No processing.

Aperture has fixed values ​​from 2.0 to 16.0. The lens on the cropped matrix becomes very sharp at 2.8-5.6. Helios 44 has a single-layer enlightenment, which does not greatly help in the fight against backlight and side light. The resulting picture on a fully open aperture exceeds all my expectations.

The photo on Helios-44 is old, white, with 13 aperture blades. No processing.

The photo on Helios-44 is old, white, with 13 aperture blades. No processing.

Reviews for the Helios-44 2/58 lenses:

  1. Helios-44 2/58 [KMZ, 13 petals, M39, silver, No. 0220423]
  2. Helios-44 2/58 [KMZ, 8 petals, M39, silver]
  3. Helios-44 1: 2 F = 5,8 cm П [KMZ with replaced lenses, No. 0007220, a review of the lens from the reader Radozhiva]
  4. HELIOS-44M 2/58 [KMZ, 8 petals, serial number 7843528]
  5. HELIOS-44M 2/58 [Jupiter plant, Valdai, 8 petals, serial number 8027170]
  6. HELIOS-44-2 2/58 [plant 'Jupiter', Valdai, 8 petals, serial number 83052779] + autofocus review
  7. MS Helios 44-3 2/58 [MMZ, 8 petals, 8619437, 9167912]
  8. MC Helios-44M-4 2/58
  9. Helios-44K-4 58mm 1:2 [KMZ, 6 petals, Pentax K]
  10. MC Helios-44M-4 58mm 1: 2 [plant 'Jupiter', Valdai, 6 petals] + autofocus review
  11. MC Helios-44M-5 58mm 1: 2 [Jupiter plant, Valdai, 6 petals]
  12. MC Helios-44M-6 58mm 1: 2 [Jupiter plant, Valdai, 6 petals]
  13. MC Helios-44M-7 58mm 1: 2 [Jupiter plant, Valdai, 6 petals]
  14. An article about most of the major modifications of the Helios-44 series
  15. Gallery of pictures on MC Helios-44M-4

Original 'Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 2/58 ':

  1. Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 1: 2 f = 5,8cm T [17 diaphragm blades, M42]
  2. Carl Zeiss Jena Biotar 2 / 58 T [12 diaphragm blades, M42]

Look at modern the lenses 'Zenitar' и 'Helios' can at this link.

All photos in the gallery below and in the entire review - without processing (NEF, Auto tone, Resize and JPEG convert Q80%, watermark)

UPDATE

Examples of photos on Helios-44 2/58 (13 petals) and a camera Nikon D810 photographer shared with readers of Radozhiva Anastasia Tretyakova.

Results

A great old-tempered lens, suitable for all types of shooting. For cameras with a cropped matrix, it serves as a good short portrait portrait, since already at F2.0 it gives a high-quality image.

Familiarity with the Soviet Helios brand lenses I recommend starting with an inexpensive and common lens Helios-44-2 2/58 (aka HELIOS-44-2 2/58). The following links can look at modern lenses Zenitar и HELIOS.

Here on the site, comments do not require any registration. In the comments, you can ask a question on the topic and you will definitely be answered, and you can also express your opinion, leave your feedback or describe your experience. For the selection of photographic equipment, I recommend E-Catalog. Many little things for the photo can be found on AliExpress.

The material was prepared by Arkady Shapoval. Take a look to the Radozhiva group on Facebook.

Add a comment: Igor-Vitebsk

Comments: 327, on the topic: Helios-44 lens review

  • Igor-Vitebsk

    Hello. Who will tell you why the pictures are blurry with aperture 2.0? Nikon D40, Helios-44 2/58, m39. On 2.8 pictures are obtained, but on 2.0 - nothing! The maximum exposure is 4000. Well, no problems, just sports interest.

    • Rodion

      Throw out your adapter and remake the lens on Nikon as it should.

      • Arkady Shapoval

        not the fact that there is an adapter with a lens

        • Rodion

          Fact (see below).

          • Arkady Shapoval

            I see already :)

        • Arthur

          Which of the first Helios 44 is better, the one with h105 or h102 (with a minimum aperture of f22)?
          And is there a review specifically h102?

          • Valentine

            Helios should be looked at for specific instances, since there was a variance in quality, a dispersion in terms of storage and operation, repairs, alterations, etc. is also added to it. Covering the aperture up to 22 instead of 16 in itself, especially for a digital camera, is unlikely to ever be needed at all. Well, if you take it under a film, then you yourself must understand whether it matters to you or not.

      • Igor-Vitebsk

        Tell me an explanatory link to the alteration of Helios -44. Thank you.

        • Sergei

          I bought an express adapter on Ali, screwed it onto the lens, made a groove on the adapter under the jump pin. Autofocus indicators work, you set the aperture manually, you catch the focus, use the button to close the aperture and take a picture. Aperture-priority settings or auto.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      failed instance software on f / 2.0

    • Dmitry

      Perhaps the lens was rebuilt with non-native lenses.

      • Rodion

        Here in one review they say that if you rebuild with non-native lenses, then you can improve the picture, if we are talking about the old lens)

        • KalekseyG

          In the start, I changed both front and back, everything is OK.

          • Rodion

            Here I am about the same)

          • Dmitry

            Well, then, with the G44, everything is easier. My G81 did not allow 81 lenses to be changed from arsat without consequences of the lens.

  • Igor-Vitebsk

    The lens came from my grandfather with Zenit-3m. Do not cross 100%. Adapter with a lens. If without a lens, will it not be soft?

    • Rodion

      Will not. Alteration is similar to alteration 44-2 (one that does not “unscrew the lens / lens block”, and alteration of the helicoid - there are thousands of adaptation instructions, there are no favorites). Only the segment must be shortened by an additional 0,3 mm more.

      • Igor-Vitebsk

        Here is a way to go? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwRdx7UOAJk

        • Rodion

          No. It is impossible to unscrew parts of the lens block during alteration and substitute or change something there. Or get the bullshit.

    • Maria

      Alternatively, buy Canon on a secondary, and no rework is required. Well, this is, of course, a shock option.

  • Alain

    Tell me which adapter is needed for Sony A77?

    • Edward

      Better 2
      M39-M42
      M42-Sony A

      It will be universal than the M39-Sony A and the cost will come out
      also approximately (m39-m42- costs about 0.5 $)

  • Andrei

    Good time of day!
    Please tell me, is there any sense in buying a Helios 44 with 13 petals for Nikon or is it better to buy a native nokkor 50 mm with 1,8?

    • zengarden

      They are too different. Nikkor will be with autofocus and (for sure) more sharp, although more boring. Helios - for a leisurely artistic shooting (if you get a good copy).

    • Dmitriy

      take nokor, helios the last century. Although, if you want exotic ...)))

    • Edward

      If you put the question this way, then Nikon is unambiguously sharper, it has autofocus, everything is fine with the work of flashes, it’s brighter, it catches less glare, etc.

      Helios makes sense if you get tired of Nikon. It’s no better, it’s just different, it has a different boke, a different shape of the rings is not sharp, the colors are different, there are adventures with focus and focus on infinity

  • Sanya

    Will this lens be compatible with Sony a6300? What kind of adapter do you need?

    • Edward

      Will need m39-m42 + m42-nex

  • Dmitriy

    Good day!
    You specified a resolution of 35/14 lines / mm. These values ​​were obtained on photographs from the middle of the last century, in which the characteristics were not very impressive by modern standards. Therefore, it would be good to measure the resolution of this lens on modern equipment. I think the results will surprise us.

    • Rodion

      For an ordinary person, it’s important not the absolute value, but the ratio of these values ​​with those of other lenses.

    • Edward

      Resolution is independent of photographic materials, it is determined by the lens optics, all data is relevant

      • anonym

        It is not true, old data are sometimes obtained from low-resolution photographic material and are underestimated. Good data were obtained from Mikrat films with very high resolution.

  • Dmitriy

    Yuzayu such. Shoals: The diaphragm does not close completely (wedges). Backlash of a focusing ring. I can’t catch the sharpness on it. Previously, the lens was not used, took a new one. I read and fucked up with the coolness of this device, in fact, not really. Although, maybe this is caught.

  • anonym

    Hello, I have a white helios, it’s just not convenient when you set the preset ring to a high number and you turn the aperture ring it closes on a small number, and opens on a large one, it is inconvenient to use.

  • Boris

    Arkady, good afternoon! Tell me how to set the year of release? HELIOS 44 2/58 Krasnogorsk white No. 0175853
    Thank you in advance!)

  • Elena

    Finally acquired MC Helios-44-M-4 58 1: 2 KMZ 👍🏻 I will understand and try 🤗 Thank you very much for such detailed and detailed descriptions

  • Vitaliy

    Tell me how to determine the year of my lens by serial number? # 0112343

  • Andrei

    :) Actually my favorite glass, although there are top ones from Canon

  • Tomasglavina

    Hello, here is a tutorial for the Helios 4-2 i ade some time ago, have fun :)

    http://www.verybiglobo.com/restoring-helios-44-2-cla-tutorial-by-tomas-glavina/

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    I like the works of Anastasia, for their "fabulousness" or something)) they give new energy, I want to create, create something like that) Arkady, well done, you add such photo examples to your reviews! Creative success!

  • Irina

    Hello, Arkady. Can you find out more about this lens? Helios-44 2/58, black.
    Thanks for your reviews, a lot of useful information.

  • Novel

    Good day. I like this lens. I want to ask which lenses have a similar pattern, I heard that Zeiss have something similar

  • Maria

    I got a pretty sharp copy. Immediately I wanted to do macro with him, since the X Mark 2 photos are sharp and interesting even at high magnification.
    And what macro rings are better to use with it. Maybe someone already had this experience? thank

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