Focus and iris operation
Focusing (focusing) is performed by rotating the ring with the marked distance scale. The distance scale index is the central red line of the depth-of-field scale. The design of the diaphragm presetting unit allows you to change the position of the diaphragm limiter, which is done by turning the ring on which the diaphragm scale is applied. The index of the pre-set stop is a point marked on the fixed part of the frame.
The actual diaphragm is performed by rotating the diaphragm ring. The lens is screwed into the camera until it stops and tightened slightly. Before starting work diaphragm set to the maximum hole by rotating the ring until it stops by aligning two points. Turning the ring, set the stop in accordance with the selected working diaphragm by aligning the index with the required number on the diaphragm scale.
At the same time, you should feel a slight click, confirming that the preset ring is locked. Focusing by turning the ring for curly knurling at the maximum aperture lens, without interrupting the observation of the subject, turn the aperture ring until it stops, and then press the camera shutter button. If the distance to the subject is known in advance, find it on the distance scale and turn the ring to set this value against the red index. The distance to the subject is measured along the optical axis of the lens from the plane of the matrix or film, usually indicated on the camera.
When photographing objects at different distances from the camera, it is recommended to use the depth-of-field scale. It consists of pairs of divisions, symmetrically located on both sides of the index. Each pair corresponds to a certain value of the set aperture. Against these divisions, you can read two values on the distance scale, within which all objects will appear sharply in the picture. These two distances are referred to as the near and far limits of the depth of field.
Depth of field control
Due to the smooth rotation of the focusing ring and the absence of a clamping aperture value, the Helios-44-2 is better than other Helios for video recording with sound and soft focus shifting with control of the depth of field “on the fly”.
Due to the shallow depth of field, focusing on cameras with a small viewfinder size may have trouble hitting the target. You have to use LiveView mode much more often than with autofocus lenses.
As an alternative to LiveView, you can use the distance scale and depth of field of the lens itself, or adapter rings with a focus confirmation chip (more expensive).
Aberrations, bokeh Helios 44-2
On an open aperture, there is a noticeable "twisting" in the out-of-focus area, as well as color aberrations in contrasting transitions. Twisting is highly regarded by some users as it gives a photo an extra artistic touch. The bokeh of Helios 44-2 is blurred enough to separate the subject from the background. However, the blur is not complete, and in the bokeh of Helios 44-2 you can see the texture of background objects. It is worth considering this when choosing the compositional component of a future photograph.
Color aberrations appear as purple or blue lines at the edges of the transitions. Easily cleaned up in photo editors when developing RAW. Coma and distortion are well corrected in "Helios-44-2".
Lens mounted on full-frame cameras produce severe vignetting at the corners up to f / 5.6. On cropped cameras, this effect is almost invisible.
Sharpness, contrast, color
Sharpness in the center is appropriate, at the level of modern lenses, at an open aperture it drops sharply towards the edges. Contrast at lens at a normal level, however, it sags when exposed to light. Shooting without a lens hood (which cannot be found) in backlight and sidelight turns into a real hell. Even though the front lens is recessed into the frame. It's about weak enlightenment. In Helios 44-2, it is simple, has a bluish tint.
The aperture blades, which are usually smeared with a large amount of oil, contribute to additional exposure. The lens is capable of creating reflections from the surfaces of the elements of the optical circuit when light is incident at a certain angle.
Sharpness lens increases from the center to the edges as you aperture, and at f / 5.6 almost completely covers the area of the frame. At open aperture, the lens swirls the background. Sharpness when open is sufficient only in the center of the frame. The rest of the field draws distortion, decreasing at f / 4 and disappearing at f / 5.6.
Nevertheless, for the most part, frames with lens, "At the exit" is only pleasing to the eye.
Find out the weak points of your Helios in order to avoid knowingly failing compositions.
Housing and build quality Helios 44-2
Helios 44-2 is a great multitude. Of the 20 copies that I came across - only two were in good condition. Nevertheless, even on lenses in good condition, one could notice the play of the aperture rings and its presets. Overall, the build quality is decent. However, when compared with contemporaries from Germany in similar cases, the produced copies of the USSR seem clumsy and ponderous.
Advantages of Helios 44-2
- Any serviceable Helios even now it is able to compete in the lower segment for quality, with modern plastic autofocus competitors.
- Lack of autofocus It should not be embarrassing, because, for example, in portrait photography, you can not use it.
- DOF calculator and distance scale is absent in the vast majority of modern lenses. Helios-44-2 can be set according to the marks on the lens itself and shoot without looking through the viewfinder.
- Availability and low cost Helios-44-2 gives a tangible advantage when choosing a lens for a novice amateur photographer. Lenses Helios-44-2 have been produced since the 50s of the twentieth century, they were used as staffs for Zenit-E cameras.
- Indestructible construction. The lens is not afraid of frost, temperature and humidity changes, drops. The metal case will not crack upon an accidental impact, and the absence of electronics will not fail at the right time. The lens is easy to disassemble and maintain. The higher the difficulty, the lower the reliability.
- Can be used with almost any digital camera, through the appropriate adapter. About adapters below.
- High artistry. Even in the absence of special skills in processing, you can get a warm tube photo. Signature torsion hips, good color rendition, pleasing to the eye the transition from the sharpness zone to the bokeh zone - the firm German roots affect.
- Great choice novice portraitist. 58mm in full frame, and almost 93mm in 1.6 crop.
Use on modern cameras
To work on digital cameras, you will need an adapter from the M42x1 threaded connection to your camera. Helios-44-2 is easiest to install on a Canon EOS with an EF (-s) mount, due to the insignificant difference in working lengths. Adapters without focus confirmation chips on Canon cost mere pennies.
By ordering adapters using the links below, you are helping the project to cover the costs of site maintenance and development. List of adapters, systems and bayonets (direct links for ordering):
- Canon EF / EF-S adapter M42-Canon EOS (without chip or with chip).
- Canon EF-M adapter M42-Canon EF-M.
- Nikon DX / FX as well as Fujifilm and Kodak with Nikon F mount M42-Nikon F adapter with lens и without.
- Nikon 1 adapter M42-Nikon 1.
- Pentax K adapter M42-Pentax K.
- Pentax Q adapter M42-Pentax Q.
- Sony / Minolta A adapter M42-Sony A (without chip or with chip).
- Sony NEX and Sony Alpha E-mount adapter M42-Sony E (M42-Sony Nex).
- Four Thirds, aka 4/3 (Olympus, Panasonic) adapter M42-4 / 3
- Micro Four Thirds - Olympus, Panasonic, Kodak, Xiaomi Micro 4/3 (Micro 4: 3) adapter M42-Micro 4/3.
- For Fujifilm X mount cameras adapter M42-Fuji X.
- Samsung NX adapter M42-Samsung NX.
- Leica M adapter M42-L / M.
- For Leica T mount adapter M42-L / T.
When ordering, it should be borne in mind that cheap adapters of poor quality with a lens on the Nikon F mount significantly spoil the picture. Adapters without a lens reduce the maximum focusing range (due to the difference in focal lengths). Adapters with chips come across poor quality, exposure metering and confirmation of focus on some models of cameras may suffer from this.
Helios 44-2 on a full-frame camera
Has a field of view similar to 58mm standard lens. Vignetting will be observed around the edges of the frame at wide apertures.
Helios 44-2 on crop 1.6
Will have a FOV equal to 93mm full frame, FOV closer to the tele-range, but no properties. The vignetting will not be noticeable, the depth of field will increase slightly, and the background blur will decrease insignificantly. All other parameters lens will not get worse.
Installed through the M42 - Canon EF adapter, you can read about the adapters here... Adapters without chips, from Helios 44m-6 to Canon EF are cheap. In general, you just need to buy an adapter with or without focus confirmation, and the lens is ready for use.
It is problematic to install without adjusting the gaps for the Nikon system, however, without it, although it disappears focusing infinity, the available range will allow you to take a bust portrait. To preserve infinity, the optical scheme must be "moved" to the camera matrix by about 3,5 mm. It is possible to buy an adapter with a corrective lens, but the picture quality will be deteriorated.
Helios-44 on Fujifilm, Canon EOS R
On any mirrorless camera, Helios, like other M39 \ M42 lenses, will work in full force, through the appropriate adapter. Don't forget about the crop factor and the equivalent focal length.
Alternatives to Helios 44-2
The main likely use for Helios 44-2 is in bust portraits. On cropped cameras like Canon EOS 1100D, EOS 60D, EOS 650D, EOS 1300D, EOS 300D, EOS 600D, etc. with an EF-s mount and a crop factor of 1,6 will have an equivalent focal length 58x1.6 = 92,3mm. For video shooting, as already mentioned in the article, the lens suits better than other Helios due to the smoothness and noiselessness of the rotation of the focusing rings and aperture.
The lenses below are a legacy of yesteryear that is still in use today.
Helios series "M"
Helios of older modifications have improved optical characteristics, slightly more resistant to back light. Lenses with multilayer coating slightly exceed the cost of Helios-44-2 and are quite common.
Sharp, clear. Virtually no aberration, razor sharp from open aperture. Due to the shape of the aperture blades in hips asterisks are obtained from glare. Cheap and common lens.
Rare, true German quality from the 60s-80s. With a perfectly circular 13-blade diaphragm, sleek design.
It is a good choice for leisurely shooting portraits with shallow depth of field, as well as artistic background blur.
Examples of photos on Helios 44-2
Helios 44-2 on Canon 6D
Helios 44-2 on Canon 60D
Video examples on Helios 44-2
Canon 1300D with the converter of the USSR "K-1 2x"
Helios 44-2 sample video from Canon 60D
Helios 44-2 sample video (Canon 6D)
Focal length: 58 mm (58,60 mm) Relative aperture: 1:2 Field of View: 40 ° 28' Frame size: 24 x 36 mm Number of lenses / groups: 6/4 Front vertex focal length: −34,25 mm Rear vertex focal length: 38,05 mm Distance from first to last surface: 39,80 mm First surface luminous diameter: ∅29,5 mm Luminous diameter of the last surface: ∅24,7 mm Resolution (0/10/20 mm) 3): 46/33/26 lines / mm Resolution according to technical specifications (center / region): 38/20 lines / mm Light transmission coefficient: 0,82 Geometric vignetting: 58% Color formula: 10-0-1,5 Enlightenment type: single layer, chemical Near Focus Limit: 0,5 m Aperture scale limits: 1: 2-1: 16 Number of aperture blades: 8 Working segment: 45,5 mm Connections: lens with a camera: M42 × 1 for screw-in nozzles: M49 × 0,75 for slip-on attachments: ∅54 mm Dimensions: length lens without covers: 47 mm largest frame diameter: 60 mm Weight: 0,23 kg Year of development: presumably: November 1951, XNUMX
Despite the sufficient prevalence of the lens associated with its production at several factories, and the mass character, the lens does not show any very negative qualities.
Of course, compared to modern lenses, the lens cannot boast of any improved image quality or usability. However, this is offset by its reliability, unpretentiousness and price. Helios-44-2 are widespread in the secondary market and are quite inexpensive, so they can be perfect for beginner amateur photographers.
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