Review Helios-81M 2/53

For the ability to view the lens Helios-81M 2/53 Many thanks to Igor Burkov, who sent me a lens from another area.

Review Helios-81M 2/53

Review Helios-81M 2/53

Helios-81M 2/53 is very similar to his brother MS Helios-81H 2/50. In fact, this is the same lens, but with a different frame and enlightenment. The difference in focal length is more related to the designation itself than to real differences.

It is very strange that Helios-81М 2/53 has the 'M' designation in its name. Usually, all lenses from cameras of the 'Kiev' brand with 'H' mount have the letter 'H' in their name. My Helios-81M 2/53 lens is mounted on Nikon cameras such as D700, D80, D40 without any adapters or alterations.

Attention: Lenses Helios-81M 2/53 of different years of production may require light alteration and may not always be installed on some modern Nikon CZK. Here you already need to look at each individual instance. To install a lens on the camera that does not want to be installed just like that, it is enough to cut off the back of the skirt on the aperture ring. How to do it, see here.

Attention: my instance is not passing aperture value to the camera. My Helios-81M 2/53 is similar Non AI lens - the aperture is controlled automatically, but older cameras do not adjust the exposure to this change in aperture. In this case MS Helios-81H 2/50 much more convenient to use on older Nikon camerasthan Helios-81M 2/53. For younger Nikon cameras there is no difference.

How to use Soviet old lenses on modern Nikon cameras read here (article updated, navigation added), and on Canon here. For other systems, it's easy to find your adapters.

The lens has a single-layer enlightenment, visually weakly expressed.

Enlightenment of the front and rear lens of the Helios-81M lens

Enlightenment of the front and rear lens of the Helios-81M lens

The lens diaphragm consists of 6 blades, the blades are not blackened. In bokeh you can see 'nuts'at closed diaphragms. Can be set to F / 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16.

View of the aperture blades of the Helios-81M lens

View of the aperture blades of the Helios-81M lens

The focusing of the lens is smooth, the focusing ring rotates approximately 270 degrees, while the front lens does not rotate, and the lens extends its trunk by 1cm. The minimum focusing distance is 50 centimeters. On the focusing distance scale, infinity 'starts' after 12 meters. The lens has a depth-of-field scale.

View of the lens Helios-81M 2 53

View of the lens Helios-81M 2 53

Sample Photos

Photos without processing. Almost everything is filmed on F2.0. The lens is a little yellow.

View of the lens Helios-81M 2 53

View of the lens Helios-81M 2 53

Personal impressions

The lens is very sharp, at full frame it gives a noticeable vignette at F2.0. It does worse with side and back light than the MS version. Helios-81M 2/53 is better to use with a hood, since the lens catches hares and different  glare... In general, a good fifty dollars. Crop can serve as a portrait lens. Of course, Helios-81M 2/53 twists bokeh :) and for this we are very fond of many photographers.

View of the Helios-81M 2 53mm lens

View of the Helios-81M 2 53mm lens

It is a pity that at the time of writing the review, I did not have my Helios MC to compare lenses. That's what two fifty dollars look like.

Two fifty dollars with F mount

Two fifty dollars with a bayonet mount F. Helios-81M and Nikkor 50mm F1.8G

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. Many different photographic equipment can be found on AliExpress.


Helios-81M 2/53 a good fast fixed lens. Generally worse than your brother MS Helios-81H 2/50but not so much as not to pay attention to Helios-81M.

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.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 100, on the topic: Review Helios-81M 2/53

  • Vladimir

    I bought such a lens on Nikon 5500 and I can’t focus, can you tell me what I’m doing wrong.

  • Denis

    After reading all the articles, I chose Helios 81M 2/53 78 0324. I cut the ring, according to the instructions. But the lens diaphragm lever rests on the lever inside the Nikon D90 camera; when shooting, it does not work accordingly. Tell me the solutions. thanks

    • Tetramaddon

      Saw off the leash of the diaphragm then you will have a working lens with manual iris control

  • Vladimir

    Hi all!
    These Helios, which are not an instance, are something new. From time immemorial I have had Kiev-20 with Helios-81H 2/53 MS 1985. I decided to try it out today on my Nikon. Took for this lens a normal expandable cover with a diameter of 52 mm, bl ... but it does not fit him. I remember that they have a 52 mm filter, but here - no, 49 !!! How so?
    I want to add that I have a couple more of these lenses:
    MS HELIOS-81N 2/50 from Kiev-19 1986 and 1990 of release, then both have a thread thread filter 52 mm

  • Natasha

    Good afternoon, please help!
    There is a camera Nikon D 5300 crop
    There is a lens Helios 81M
    What adapter should I buy with a chip for automatic metering ?!
    Autumn is grateful❤

    • Michael

      No. The adapter is not needed - it will sit on the Nikon anyway. For automatic metering, you need to buy a Lushnikov chip (dandelion) or similar and stick it on the lens

    • Arkady Shapoval

      You need to glue this chip (dandelion) onto the lens yourself. I would recommend doing without it, you can get used to the selection of shutter speed very quickly :)

  • Stas

    Arkady, colleagues, the devil break your head with Soviet designations. Here I ordered 81N - 2/53, namely “N”, not “M”. I don’t understand, will it fit on the nikon 5200?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Everything will be okay

  • Vladimir

    Tell me, please, how is it easier to free the helicoid (for lubrication), so as not to disassemble everything to the screw?

    • Vladimir

      twist the tail, twist the front decorative nut. from under the front nut you twist three bolts, the lens block falls into your hand from the front. the helicoid remains. then you work with him)
      make labels!))

      • Sergei

        I overcoated the entire Internet, but I still did not find a clear video on disassembling and lubricating the helicoid exactly 81, although 44 are complete. Strange considering the popularity of the model

  • Victor

    Nowhere on the net I can find how to remove the aperture jumper from this lens. Nobody will tell you?

  • HaZarD96

    The lens turns yellow (reddish).
    Without photoshop - the color comes out pretty nasty on Auto WB. Somewhere in Magenta.
    Lens - Terribly Sharp. Didn't see it again.
    (on Crop, oversharpening, as if sand all over the frame, the picture loses depth from this).
    If you take a picture of a panorama, landscape, then this sharpness worsens the frame.

    It seemed interesting - a photo of architecture.
    The lens, due to oversharping, strongly emphasizes artificial edges, and elements of everything that is created by man, so to speak.

    It seems that the lens should (should) work well with portraits and subject shooting.

    The main problems, as I understand them, are oversharp, blunt with color.
    I hardly managed to get a nice photo, but if you understand what exactly this lens loves, then you can probably become satisfied.
    You definitely don't have to add sharpness.

    If you manage to take a photo so that it is not loose and sandy, then it will turn out well.
    FF is probably better.

    Conclusion - a peculiar lens, like everything Sovkovoe. But you can dig.

    • HaZarD96


    • HaZarD96

      more flowers

    • HaZarD96


    • HaZarD96


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