Helios 44-2

Front view of Helios 44-2 lens.
Front view of a Helios 44-2 56mm 2 lens.
Helios-44-2

Focal Lenght: 58mm
Max Apeture: 2-16
8 aperture blades
Lens Mount: M42
Min. Focus: 0.5 mm
Filter Size: 49mm
Weight: 230 gram
Year – 1979
Factory: Valdai
Preset

LENS STORY

I have no idea where this Helios came from. The first Helios I had was a 44-M-4 , which I later gave to a friend, who just got into photography. 

Ever since reading about swirling bokeh I knew I had to have a Helios, the older the better. (As I read older copies and versions, had a more pronounced effect)

Although this copy has some wear on the black paint and visible oil on the aperture blades, it works well – focus is smooth, aperture works.

My copy has a small bubble in one of the internal elements – I recall I read up on those when I first noticed it in a lens I have from 1942. – These little bubbles formed when glass was still made and polished by hand. 

HANDLING

 

This is as simple and barebones as you can get with a lens – You get exactly what you need, no frills or bells.

It’s a good and pleasant to use lens.

Keep in mind that “copy variation” everyone insists on mentioning when talking about old russian lenses, might mean your milleage may vary. (whoops, I just did it too, darn.)

OPTICAL PERFORMANCE

Apart from the swirling bokeh you probably want when you get this lens, it has some bits going on for it.

Sharpness is okay, better in the centre as expected.

Colors are natural, a bit on the colder side, which makes them feel a bit gloomy.

Contrast is lower than I usually like, but this deal is more of a package deal, where you go for the specific feel and “character”. 

Flaring is common, washing over your images like a rainy day.

If you want to get film looking, “Instagram filtered without using Instagram” portraits, this is your go-to lens.

FINAL THOUGHTS

There’s plenty to go around and at the price you can find a Helios 44 , go get one, stop reading this. 

It’s worth having one when you want to get cool portraits that make people ask “when was this taken?”