Series "Helios-44" in operation

Helios-44 and Helios-44-2 are similar in appearance to the Zeiss Biotar of early releases, and starting from Helios 44M - to the German Pentacon 50mm f1.8. In both cases, they look more “clumsy”, and when used, they are also sloppy. However, it is worth noting that externally worn specimens retain their basic qualities in the absence of damage to the lenses. The frame of the lenses of the series is always made of aluminum, and steel elements are found in the mechanism.

Helios 44-2, front lens view


The focusing of common lenses is within the range of 0,5 - approximately 14 meters, the values ​​on the focusing ring are approximate. There is a scale for calculating the hyperfocal distance lens, the risks of the depth of field limits calculator. The Helios focusing rings are grippy, with ribbed knurling. The factory grease in the focusing mechanism often requires replacement. Due to the old grease, many examples have problems with the rotation of the rings.


The aperture of a widespread series of lenses has from six to eight blades (G-44 white M39 had biotar 13). Six and octahedrals in hips already appear at f/4. Modern digital cameras estimate the exposure level in the frame at an open aperture lens (old film as well). In the resulting image, in the blur zone, there is a proprietary "Gaussian" torsion of the background.

Due to the shallow depth of field, when focusing visually through the viewfinder, it is quite possible not to hit the target on cameras with a small viewfinder. Better to use focus on display mode or adapter rings with focus confirmation chip.

Aperture control mechanisms

  • On Helios-44 and 44-2, aperture control is implemented by two rings, one of which is a presetting mechanism. Focusing was carried out at an open aperture, and immediately before the release shutter closed to the required value by the photographer independently. The first model of the "Helios", which has a jumping (push) diaphragm and a mode switch for its operation - Helios-44M.
  • The diaphragm on the body of modifications, starting with Helios 44M, is controlled by a ring with a ratchet-lock of values. Focusing is done on an open aperture, the pressure mechanism is actuated by the mechanics of the camera before the descent shutter.

Sharpness, contrast, color

On an open aperture, Helios 44 series draws purple halos at the boundaries of contrasting transitions (easily corrected in photo editors when post-processing photos). 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.

Helios 44 sample photo, portrait at aperture 5.6 processing

Many examples show a dramatic drop in contrast and detail from the center to the edges. The lens does not like a bright background; when shooting in backlight, details in the image are lost throughout the entire field of the frame. Color rendition is good, and modifications with multi-coating have a certain resistance to various aberrations. Coma and distortion are well corrected in "Helios".


The lens, when mounted on full-frame cameras, produces vignetting in the corners up to f / 5.6. On cropped cameras, this effect will hardly be noticeable.

Advantages of "Helios-44" lenses

  • Any serviceable Helios 44 series even now it is able to compete with modern plastic autofocus competitors of the lower price segment, both in price and in picture quality.
  • Lack of autofocus You should not be embarrassed, because, for example, in portrait photography, you can not use it.
  • Availability and low cost series of lenses Helios 44, gives a tangible advantage when choosing lens for novice amateur photographers.
  • Indestructible construction. The lens is not afraid of frost, temperature and humidity changes, drops. The metal body will not crack in case of an accidental impact, the mechanics will not fail at the right time.
  • Can be used with almost any digital camera, through the appropriate adapter. For example, a Canon EF / EF-s lens can be mounted using the M42-EF adapter without significant waste of money and loss of image quality.
  • High artistry. Even in the absence of special skills in processing, you can get a warm tube photo. Signature torsion hips, good color rendering, contrast and sharpness - all this for little money.
  • Great choice novice portraitist. 58mm full frame, and nearly 93mm at 1.6 crop is quite popular focal length and in modern times.

Using Helios-44 on modern cameras

On a camera with an APS-C (kf=1.6) sensor, the camera will have a field of view equal to the equivalent of 93mm focal length, and the aperture will correspond to f/3,5. At full frame, the lens works as intended - it has a more plastic picture and the characteristics corresponding to the declared ones.

The easiest way to shoot is in Aperture Priority (Av) mode, when the camera adjusts the required shutter speed based on the current aperture value and frame illumination. To work on digital cameras, you need an adapter from the M42x1 threaded connection to your camera. Helios-44 with M42 thread is easiest to install on Canon EOS with EF (-s) mount, because of the insignificant difference in focal lengths. Adapters without focus confirmation chips are cheap.

By ordering things from the links below, you help the project cover the costs of site maintenance and development. List of adapters, systems and mounts (direct links for ordering)

When ordering, it should be borne in mind that cheap adapters of poor quality with a lens on bayonetf Nikon F spoil the picture significantly. 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 focus confirmation on some Canon EOS models may suffer from this.

Helios-44 on Canon

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.

Helios-44 on Nikon

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. Everything you just read has nothing to do with lensm s bayonetom Nikon (KP \ AN).

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.


Video examples from Soviet lenses "Helios-44"

Helios 44 on crop, converter "K-1 2x"

In this video, the lens was used in tandem with the K-1 2x converter. Video for acquaintance with the capabilities of the line as a whole. Not all models are suitable for handheld video. On some, when you switch the aperture, you will hear the clicking of the locking mechanism. Shot with Canon 1300D.

Video Helios 44-2 in full frame

Helios 44-2 in full frame (Canon 6D)

Sample photos from the lens Helios 44


In general, the lenses of this series are quite common, and it will not be difficult to find a more or less suitable copy of Helios 44. Helios of various versions are very common in the secondary market and are quite inexpensive, so they can be perfect for beginner amateur photographers.

Best of all, the lens reveals its artistic possibilities on full-frame cameras. On cropped ones, the torsion of the background will not be very noticeable, since the central and sharpest part of the lens works. Helios 44 white in an unpainted body is less common than other lenses in the series, and is already considered antiques.

  1. Helios Lenses on Nikon
  2. Helios lenses on Canon

Adapters for cameras and lenses

Sometimes I buy photographic equipment from the USSR and not only. You can offer your write me. Help the project: 5469 1200 1062 4624. Comments can be left without registration and SMS

11 comments on “Helios 44 44/2 | all reviews with examples of photos "
  1. I have long wanted to buy a Helios lens, but I don’t know which one to choose. Please advise which lens is suitable for the Nikon 90 camera and do you need some kind of adapter for installation?

  2. Irina
    On D90, take the most affordable G 44-2 and an adapter thin m42-nikon 300 rubles
    infinity will not be (and it is not needed), but the subject, portraits, flowers can be removed and with a certain skill the picture on an open aperture and bokeh will be just class!

  3. I just bought Helios, though shabby, but he shoots great. I am not professionally engaged in shooting. But even in amateur photography, hunting is of good quality. Memory is for life, and my son was born. Hunt as many moments as possible.

  4. Finally I found an article where everything is correctly and clearly described about these lenses. Now it is clear which one is better to take.

  5. I really like the bokeh and softness of the picture in Helios. And where would you advise to buy a quality lens, if you can link ...

  6. The lens is actually very high quality and is more than suitable for professional photography. My friends gave it to me for my birthday. I am very pleased with the picture that these lenses give. As a photographer, even me was impressed.

  7. It is difficult to find and choose a quality lens that suits your needs, especially if you are not very versed in this. I didn’t think there are so many types of lenses.

  8. In Soviet times, having a Zenit camera with a Helios lens was considered prestigious. Such a camera cost about a hundred rubles.

  9. Yes, lenses from this manufacturer are much cheaper and time-tested. An amateur really shouldn't buy a cool 100 lens right away, but should try this line.

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