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08-10-2011, 04:14 PM   #1
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Helios 44M-4 vs 44M

Hi everyone,

I recently purchased a spotmatic, and while loving my SMC takumar, I'm fascinated by the bokeh that the Helios lenses can produce. I'm absolutely set on a Helios 44-2, I love the swirl that it can create. However, since I live in Australia, and these lenses are rarely available here, postage makes the price a little bit steep. I've been offered a deal of combining postage with a 44M-4 or 44M, and i'm not sure which one I should go for.

Is one clearly better than the other, or are they any major differences? I guess the thing I'm looking for most is the swirly bokeh, so does anyone know if one of these does it better than the other?

Thanks a lot guys!

08-10-2011, 07:35 PM   #2
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The 44M-4 is multicoated and lacks an A-M switch. The 44M is single coated and has an A-M switch. If you don't mind modifying the aperture pin go for the 44M-4. I have a 44M made in Belarus in 1991 and I am not impressed.
08-10-2011, 08:29 PM   #3
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Is modifying the pin optional? How come I have to modify it?
08-10-2011, 08:38 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by teartear Quote
Is modifying the pin optional? How come I have to modify it?
Because the 44M-4 doesn't have an A-M switch it will only shoot wide open unless you modify the aperture pin.

From another forum

QuoteQuote:
I have the Helios 44M-6 and had the same problem, but the fix is really simple.
First, find a plastic tube (such as the tube that comes with canned air or WD-40) which will slide onto the aperture pin and cut a little piece off the end, you'll need a piece the same length as the pin sticks out from the mount.
Then undo the 4 little screws and gently remove the mount from the lens, making sure that the aperture pin stays with the lens. Slide the plastic piece over the pin, and put the mount back on.
Now the plastic tubing should hold the pin mechanism in place, and turning the aperture ring should result in the blades stopping down immediately.
You can also bend the pin, glue the pin, or get an adapter that holds down the pin.

08-10-2011, 08:47 PM   #5
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Thanks for that. Why was the lens designed that way, or is it only on spotmatics that this fix needs to be done?
08-10-2011, 10:34 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by teartear Quote
Thanks for that. Why was the lens designed that way, or is it only on spotmatics that this fix needs to be done?
It's presumably because the 44M4 was the kit lens for an auto-aperture Zenit body. Don't be deterred by the need for the modification - it's a piece of cake!
08-10-2011, 11:44 PM   #7
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I do own a Helios 44M3 which uses that special Russian two ring aperture. (The second ring working like an A-M switch, but opening and closing the aperture seamlessly)

I can really recommend that lens. I found a Russian shop on ebay.de who ships worldwide without fee (for some offers). I ordered only one batch of lenses from them so far, no problems there.

They offer quite a number of M44 variants, not exactly cheap but without shipping fee...

They also have the Helios 77K-4 which is similar to the 44 (I think it's based on the same Zeis formula) and comes with a K-Mount! I also recommend that one, as stated here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/152382-helios-...used-lens.html

Last edited by mano; 08-11-2011 at 12:01 AM.
08-11-2011, 01:14 AM   #8
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Can anyone comment on the 'swirly' bokeh effect of any of the lenses mentioned?

08-11-2011, 05:30 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by teartear Quote
Thanks for that. Why was the lens designed that way, or is it only on spotmatics that this fix needs to be done?
Missed that you were using it on a SP. No need for modification. I just assumed you were using it on a DSLR.
08-11-2011, 05:32 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mano Quote
I do own a Helios 44M3 which uses that special Russian two ring aperture. (The second ring working like an A-M switch, but opening and closing the aperture seamlessly)
What you have is a 44-3, a pre-set lens. The 44M is a later lens with automatic aperture.
08-11-2011, 05:36 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by teartear Quote
Can anyone comment on the 'swirly' bokeh effect of any of the lenses mentioned?
The 44M-4 has 6 blades, while the 44M has 8 like the 44-2.

Helios 44 M42 Lenses Pixelfarmize

08-11-2011, 05:51 AM   #12
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I do plan to use it on a DSLR as well as the SP. if I modify the pin will this have any effect on using it with the SP?

Also, I assume more blades = better bokeh?
08-11-2011, 06:05 AM   #13
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Modifying the pin just turns an all-auto lens into an all-manual lens. It doesn't matter to the SP, the meter will still work when you press the lever, it will just already be stopped down.

Both the number of blades and the shape of the blades has an affect on bokeh.

About Bokeh
08-12-2011, 02:59 AM   #14
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Well there doesn't seem to be a clear one way view on this issue.
I don't mind having to modify it to use on my DSLR, so that doesn't really put the 44M-4 out of the running.

I've read that the 44M-4 is newer and most likely multicoated, however won't produce as much swirl as the 44M. Is this true?

Thanks.
08-13-2011, 11:17 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by teartear Quote
Well there doesn't seem to be a clear one way view on this issue.
I don't mind having to modify it to use on my DSLR, so that doesn't really put the 44M-4 out of the running.

I've read that the 44M-4 is newer and most likely multicoated, however won't produce as much swirl as the 44M. Is this true?

Thanks.
Well, my 44M-4 is single-coated, but I don't think that precludes other examples (maybe from different factories) from being multi-coated. I do think though that the (rather less common?) later 44M-6 and 44M-7 are indeed multi-coated - and somewhat higher in resolution. Don't know about bokeh, though - I expect this will vary model to model and manufacturer to manufacturer (there were several manufacturers involved in production).
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