Helios 44M-6 with multilayer coating is a sharper version of Helios after 44M-5. The most common competitors are standard Helios 44M-4 lenses for Zenit-11 cameras and their analogues. The lenses were produced at the Jupiter plant in Valdai
Helios 44M-6 looks like a German Pentacon auto 50mm f1.8 and analogues. Despite the fact that the lenses were produced more than 30 years ago, they still continue to delight users with the quality of the picture and the indestructible construction. The lens from the review with multi-coating, this meant more resistant to loss of detail and manifestations of various types of aberrations when working in backlighting. Review lens provided by Vladimir Ekimovsky, for which many thanks to him!
Attention! The lens is a kit. What is a kit lens?
Kit lens (from the English kit - kit) - slang word - interchangeable lens, which comes with the camera at the time of sale. Often this refers to a specific entry-level zoom lens that comes with budget cameras (EF-S 18-55mm f / 3,5-5,6 for Canon, AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55 mm f / 3,5-5,6 VA for Nikon, 18-55 mm f / 3,5-5,6 Sony, DA 18-55 mm f / 3,5-5,6 AL from Pentax, etc.)
The lens is made of aluminum, the rim is engraved in Latin letters like "Helios 44m-6 2/58". There are steel and brass elements in the lens mechanism. The weight of Helios 44m-6 is about 240 grams. Compared to the 44M, the lens is simplified and lightweight, the body looks different, however, the overall style is preserved.
Diagram of the Soviet lens Helios 44M-6
Helios 44M-6 is a typical planar, with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Helios 44M-6 in operation
Focusing Helios 44M-6 is carried out within 0,5 - 14 meters, the values are approximate. The minimum focusing distance is marked at 0,55 meters, but there is always a "fly over". I believe that the MDF is closer to 0,5m. The Helios 44M-6 focusing ring is grippy, ribbed. Focusing is provided by rotating the focusing ring around the lens unit axis. There is no autofocus, although foreign counterparts have already been equipped with it with might and main. On a serviced lens, the ring rotates easily, but not always without jamming, since the guides and the body are made of metal. A properly serviced lens, as a rule, does not have any comments on the smoothness of the rotation of the rings. How to service your Helios - in this article.
The protrusion of the front edge of the lens barrel at the maximum focusing distance is about 1,1 cm, at the minimum - about 3,5 - 3,7 mm. Threaded filters or hood are screwed into the frame.
Helios-44M-6 is equipped with an automatic diaphragm, a drive blocking switch is present. The diaphragm actuator can be locked with flange adapters or manually. lock is required if your camera is not compatible with the design lens (and it will not be compatible, since there is no such diaphragm pusher on modern cameras). The diaphragm is adjusted with a ring with a detent, and the switching of the values itself occurs with effort. The aperture ratio ranges from f / 2 at open aperture to f / 16 at fully closed aperture.
The aperture of Helios 44M-6 has six blades, pronounced nuts in hips appear already at f / 4. But this is not a hindrance, is it?
The depth of field calculator is made in the form of a cutout in the case. Depth of field values are marked below the notch.
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 did not have to adjust the exposure depending on the conditions. The camera behaves quite predictably with this lens (Canon 7D).
Shoot in RAW, especially if you're working with Helios for the first time.
Depth of field control
Without removing the aperture ring lock, Helios-44M-6 is not suitable for video shooting with sound and soft focus shift, with on-the-fly depth of field control. Since the sharpness bar is thin, it is difficult to control when focusing through the optical viewfinder. Sharpness is controlled by rotating the focus ring and aperture according to circumstances.
Aberrations, hips MC Helios 44M-6
On an open aperture, noticeable "twisting" in the out-of-focus area (hips) on the crop is not quite pronounced, color aberrations on contrasting transitions were not noticed. Perhaps I am already so overwhelmed that I simply do not pay attention to it. excuse me. Twisting the background is highly regarded by some users as it gives the photo an extra artistic touch. MC Helios 44M-6, possibly, swirls the background, but it was not possible to test it in the full frame.
Sharpness, contrast, color Helios 44M-6
Sharpness in the center is appropriate, at the level of modern lenses, falls towards the edges. Not as much as in Mir-1B, but noticeable if you look closely. In general, I find excellent sharpness on the crop. Worker with open. Those who spit in the direction of Soviet fifty dollars simply do not know how to shoot.
Contrast at lens at a normal level, however, when exposed to bright light, it sags, despite the multilayer enlightenment. However, the lens was not tested on a sunny day. Perhaps you should compare several different versions of the lens with and without MC in order to draw any unambiguous conclusions. When illuminated by an artificial source, Helios MS gives slightly less re-reflections than its younger brother 44M without multilayer enlightenment.
Find out the weak points of your Helios in order to avoid obviously failing compositions.
Advantages Helios 44M-6
- Any serviceable Helios 44M-6 even now it is able to compete for picture quality with modern plastic autofocus competitors, both in price and in picture quality (in comparison with lenses in the lower price range).
- Lack of autofocus you should not be confused, because, for example, in portrait photography, it may not be used.
- Availability and low cost Helios 44M-6 gives a tangible advantage when choosing a lens for a novice amateur photographer. Helios have been produced since the 50s of the twentieth century, they were interspersed with industrialists as staffs for Zenit cameras
- Indestructible construction. The lens is not afraid of frost, temperature and humidity changes, drops. The metal case will not crack in case of an accidental impact, the absence of electronics will not fail at the right moment, because the higher the complexity, 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 rendering, pleasing to the eye transition from the sharpness zone to the zone hips - branded German roots affect.
- Great choice novice portraitist. 58mm in full frame, and almost 93mm in 1.6 crop.
- Range indicator focusing and depth of field for calculating hyperfocal distance. On modern glasses in plastic cases, this is a rarity.
Even cosmetically killed specimens retain their basic qualities - shooting on such glass can be a pleasure.
Using Helios 44M-6 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. 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 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.
It is 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-44M-6 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 44M-6
The main likely use of the Helios 44M-6 is 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 with changing the depth of field "on the fly", as already mentioned in the article, the stock 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-6 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.
Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 50mm f / 1.8 m42
It is a good choice for leisurely shooting portraits with shallow depth of field, as well as artistic background blur.