Helios 44M is an improvement of the Helios 44-2 model with M42 connecting thread. A blinking diaphragm mechanism has been introduced. TTL open aperture metering can now be used with this lens.

Helios 44M is a kit for cameras.Zenit-11","Zenit-ET“, Has a focal length of 58mm and a maximum aperture of f / 2.

Name Helios 44M
A type standard
Focal length, mm 58 (87)
MDF, cm 50
Maximum aperture, f/ 2
Installing on FF/Crop Yes
Focusing Hand
System Any DSLR and mirrorless camera through adapter with M42
Price On avito

Soviet lens Helios 44M (Helios 44M) 2/58 | review with photo examples

Helios 44M 2/58 (Helios 44M 58/2)

Instances of Helios 44M for the most part have an inscription on the case in Latin, of the form Helios 44M. It seems to simplify production (first of all, in order not to launch a separate series of engraving for export).

The Helios 44M case is very similar to Pentacon 50mm f1.8, only looks more "clumsy", and used, also sloppy. But even despite the unsatisfactory cosmetic condition, the lenses retain their basic qualities - shooting on Helios can be a pleasure, as long as the glasses are without critical damage. frame lens made of aluminum, the paint is peeled off once or twice.

Scheme Helios 44M

Helios-44m schematic

Looks like a diagram Zeiss Biotar 58mm f / 2, the ancestor of all "Helios" is "Biotar Krasnogorsky". In turn, BTK was recalculated from Zeiss Biotar 2/58. The scheme of these lenses refers to the varieties of the planar.

Helios 44M in action

Focusing Helios 44M focusing range from 0,5 to approximately 14 meters, values ​​on the focusing ring are approximate. There is a scale for calculating the hyperfocal distance lens, as well as calculating the depth of field. The output of the front edge of the lens frame at the maximum focusing distance is about 1,1 cm. Starting with Helios-44M, the model range has acquired a different position of the focusing ring. The focus ring has changed places with the aperture ring due to the introduction of a push mechanism. The aperture control has moved closer to the camera mount.

The Helios-44M focusing ring is grippy, ribbed, focusing is done by rotating the focusing ring around the lens unit axis. Native grease in the Helios 44M focusing mechanism thickens over time to such an extent that the lens has to be disassembled and serviced. A properly serviced lens, as a rule, does not have any comments on the rotation of the rings. How to service your Helios - in this article. In the cold, there were problems with the rotation of the rings - due to the old grease, the aperture ring and lens focusing could not be rotated. Replacing the grease with a new one eliminated the problems and returned a smooth ride to the controls.

Soviet lens Helios-44m lens

Aperture Helios 44M

The first model of the Helios-44 series, which has a pressure diaphragm and a switch for its operation mode. There are eight aperture blades. Lenses produced after Helios-44M have only 6 blades. Insufficient blackening of the petals in Helios 44M leads to additional spurious illumination of the optics by re-reflected light.

Helios-44m lens


The aperture on the body is set by a ring with a value lock. Switching occurs with considerable effort, there are intermediate values ​​​​(half-stops). The relative aperture is adjustable from 1:2 on the open and up to 1:16 on the fully closed aperture.



Helios 44m canon 60d, soviet lens

Modern digital cameras estimate the exposure level in the frame at an open aperture lens (in fact, old films too). When using any manual lenses at aperture other than open, you will have to enter exposure compensation. In the case of this Helios, I had to correct it by 1 \ 3-2 \ 3 stops in minus.

There is no aperture preset mechanism for use on modern cameras. Because of diaphragm Helios-44M has eight petals, and does not form an even circle, nuts in hips visible already at f / 4.



In the resulting picture, in the out-of-focus area, there is a firm twisting of the background. Due to the shallow depth of field, the on-screen focusing mode has to be used much more often than with autofocus lenses. As an alternative to LiveView: you can use the distance scale of the lens itself, or use adapter rings with a focus confirmation chip (more expensive).

Depth of field control

Helios-44M will not be suitable for filming with sound without removing the aperture ring value; soft focus shifting, on-the-fly depth-of-field control. Since the "ratchet" makes loud clicks, and its hard switching will in any case affect the quality of shooting. The relative aperture of Helios-44M, as mentioned above, is adjustable from 1: 2 when the aperture is open and up to 1:16 when the diaphragm is fully closed. DOF is very small at a wide aperture. It is so small that it is almost impossible to get into focus even on cropped cameras without using additional funds.

Helios 44M lens aberration and bokeh

On the open aperture of the Helios 44M, there is a noticeable "twisting" in the out-of-focus area, as well as color aberrations in contrasting transitions. Twisting the background is highly regarded by some users as it gives the photo an extra artistic touch. Helios 44M turns the background noticeably stronger than Helios 44-2. Coma and distortion are well corrected in Helios 44M. The background twist is most pronounced when the distance to the subject is 2 meters, and to the background - 10. Moreover, it is advisable to choose tree branches as the background.

Helios-44m sample photo


Sharpness, contrast, color

The quality of the optics of the Helios 44M is the same as that of the Helios 44-2. A lens with a single-layer coating of a bluish lens. Sharpness in the center is appropriate, on par with modern lenses ... but falls towards the edges. Strongly noticeable on full-frame cameras.

Contrast at lens at a normal level, when shooting in a backlight - it sags. Very much. In general, shooting without a hood in strong back and side light is contraindicated in view of "weak optics" - one hundred percent loss of detail throughout the entire field of the frame is ensured.

helios 44m sample canon 7d liveviewer.ru 114



Aperture blades, which are often smeared with a large amount of oil and do not have sufficient blackening, contribute to the decline in image quality when working in difficult lighting conditions. The lens is capable of showing flare from the surfaces of the elements of the optical circuit when light is incident at a certain angle.

The sharpness of the Helios 44M increases from the center to the edges with aperture, and at f / 5.6 it almost completely covers the area of ​​the frame. Sharpness when open is sufficient only in the center of the frame. The rest of the field draws distortion (that same twisting), decreasing at f / 4 and disappearing at f / 5.6.

For the most part, the frames from Helios 44M are only pleasing to the eye. Taking into account the weaknesses of your Helios, you can avoid knowingly failing compositions as a result.


The Helios 44M, mounted on full-frame cameras, produces vignetting in the corners up to f / 5.6. On cropped cameras, this effect is almost invisible.

Helios-44m lens

Housing and build quality Helios 44M

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. Despite the external unpretentiousness, Helios 44M has only one "proprietary" gripe - it is necessary to change the lubrication of the mechanisms lens.

Advantages of Helios 44M

  • Any serviceable Helios 44M able to compete with modern plastic competitors in terms of price and picture quality.
  • 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 modern lenses. Helios-44M can be set according to the marks on the lens itself and shoot, without looking through the viewfinder, according to the scale.
  • Indestructible construction. Helios 44M is not afraid of frost, temperature and humidity changes, falls. The metal case will not crack in case of an accidental impact, the absence of electronics will not let you down at the right time. The higher the difficulty, the lower the reliability.
  • Can be used with almost any digital camera, through the appropriate adapter. About adapters below.
  • Artistry. In the absence of special skills in processing, a warm lamp photo can be obtained through the lens. Signature torsion hips, good color rendering, pleasing to the eye transition from the sharpness zone to the zone hips - a good arsenal for creativity.
  • Great choice novice portraitist. 58mm in full frame, and almost 93mm in 1.6 crop. Sufficient sharpness and popular focal length.

Use on modern cameras

On a camera with APS-C sensor (kf = 1.6) the camera will have a field of view equal to the equivalent 93mm focal length, and the aperture will correspond to the value f / 3,5... Why is that? Because, firstly, because of the narrow viewing angle, you will have to move further. Secondly, the camera's sensor receives 1,6 times less light than a full-frame 35mm sensor. Thirdly, although this does not apply to the previous two statements, the lens on the crop has a drop in sharpness due to the denser arrangement of pixels on the matrix and their concentration in the center of the lens.

On a full frame, the lens works as intended - it has a more flexible picture and characteristics corresponding to the declared ones.

The easiest way to shoot is in the mode Aperture Priority (Av)when the camera adjusts the required shutter speed based on the current aperture value and the light in the frame. To work on digital cameras, you need an adapter from the M42x1 threaded connection to your camera. Helios-44M 2/58 it is easiest to put on Canon EOS with EF (-s) mount, due to the insignificant difference in focal lengths. Adapters without focus confirmation chips are cheap.

Helios 44 on Fujifilm, Canon EOS R

On any mirrorless camera, Helios, like other M39 \ M42 lenses, will work through an appropriate adapter. Don't forget about the crop factor and the equivalent focal length.

Where to buy an adapter for Helios?

To work on digital cameras with Helios 44M, you will need an adapter from M42x1 to your system.

I recommend buying the adapter directly from trusted sellers at ali, for example. If you are from Crimea or other territories where it is not possible to order from Ali, then use the offers of sellers on sites such as Avito, Sack, etc. Sending adapters across the territory of the Russian Federation and to the Crimea usually does not cause problems even by Russian post. The article

you can find direct links for ordering adapters at ali, and also read about the compatibility of other systems with adapters.


will help you navigate the issue of installing Helios on Canon and Nikon.

Alternatives to Helios 44M

The main likely use of the Helios 44M is bust portraits. For video shooting with changing the depth of field "on the fly", as already mentioned in the article, without removing the aperture ring retainer is not quite suitable.

The lenses below are a legacy of yesteryear that is still in use today.

  • Helios of the Mkh-X series

Helios of older modifications have improved optical characteristics, slightly more resistant to back light. Lenses with multilayer coating slightly exceed the cost of Helios-44M and are also 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.

Video examples Helios-44M

Helios 44M and Canon 60D


Sample video. Helios-44M and Canon 6D

Sample video Nikon D5100 and Helios 44M

Video review

Sample photos on Helios 44M

Canon 6D and Helios 44M

Helios 44M and Canon 60D

Helios 44M and Canon 7D

The sharpness of the lens is enough even for the resolution of cropped matrices with a high pixel density. And even an equivalent FR does not relieve the lens of its portrait properties.

Helios 44M on Nikon D5100 sample photos

How to install Helios 44M on Nikon - here. Unfortunately, the camera on which the bundle was tested did not have a shutter and was resurrected from oblivion. But he could record video. Therefore, still frames of the video are used as examples of photos.


In general, Helios 44M lenses are very common (as standard ones for Zenith cameras), and it will not be difficult to find a more or less suitable copy for photography. In the secondary market, they are quite inexpensive, so they can be perfect for beginner amateur photographers.

The lens unleashes its artistic potential on full-frame cameras. On models of cameras with an APS-C sensor, the background twisting will not be very noticeable, since the central part of the lens is working.

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