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03-02-2008, 10:50 PM   #1
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85mm lenses

Hello all,

I'd like to hear about first hand experiences with:

Jupiter-9 M42 85mm F2

and

Helios-40 M39 85mm F1.5

lenses.

I've been itching for a poor mans 77mm LTD and have come across these gems.

From perusing Flickr, the Helios has an interesting boqet. The Jupiter-9 is physically smaller and cheaper than the Helios, but I just love the idea of F1.5.

Is it worth getting the Helios over the Jupiter?

I have a M42 SMC Takumar F1.4 50mm that I use on my ist DS for portraits at the moment.

I'm still getting the hang of manual focus etc.

What do you guys think?

Thanks,

GusTheCat

03-02-2008, 11:06 PM   #2
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Personally, i've not used any of these two, but I have the Planar 85mm. Here is the comparison between the Helios and the Planar.

http://www.mflenses.com/carl-zeiss-contax-planar-85mm-f1.4-vs-helios-40-2-85mm-f-1.5.html

The Planar is very comparable with the 77 IMO. I haven't tested these two against each others, but if you want, I can do a quick one.

The Jupiter is smaller and cheaper because it has slower aperture. By the look of the above test, I would say the Helios is the non-Pentax, manual, 77-quality lens. If you can acquire the 40-2, then you will not be disappointed.
03-03-2008, 01:08 AM   #3
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I can't comment on the two lenses that you have listed, but if you are looking for a budget 85mm lens - have you considered the M85/2. You can find them for under $200 if you shop around. This lens seems to get a bad rap - but having previously owned one I can tell you that it is fantastic little lens (and I do mean "little" - very compact and easy to use). The lens is a bit softer than the 77mm wide open but IMHO a little softness wide open is a favorable trait in a portrait lens. By the mid apertures it is as sharp as a blade. I used to own both the M85/2 and the A*85/1.4 - for what it is worth I regret selling the M85 more than the "legendary" A* 85/1.4
03-03-2008, 02:29 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by gusthecat Quote
I'd like to hear about first hand experiences with:

Jupiter-9 M42 85mm F2

and

Helios-40 M39 85mm F1.5

lenses.
I have both lenses.

The 85/2 is a good lens, sharp enough wide open for low light portraiture -- meaning it's not tack sharp but quite OK for portrait work. I like its bokeh but some people find it a bit disturbing. It exhibits good contrast and a very nice color rendition.

I have a Helios 40-2 lens, which is another breed altogether. If the Jupiter-9 is a family sedan, the Helios 40 is a sport coupé. Wide open, it has a very special rendition with an unique glow and superb colors reminiscent of watercolor. The sharpness is correct in a small area around the center of the frame and decreases rapidly towards the edges, conferring a dreamy look to the pictures. When stopped down, the lens becomes very sharp across the frame at f/5.6 on a crop format camera and at F/9.5 on a full frame camera.

Here are some pictures taken with my Helios 40-2. First, wide open:







Then, stopped down:





If you want to see some really great portraits taken with the Helios 40, here's a link to a thread on a Russian forum with some astounding pictures. Be advised though, this thread might not be safe for work (some mild nudity), the pictures are addictive and it comprises 3899 posts and 195 pages:
Helios 40-2 85/1.5 and other best portrait objectives of all times and peoples:: Forum:: Club Of foto.ru

Cheers!

Abbazz


Last edited by Abbazz; 03-03-2008 at 02:36 AM.
03-03-2008, 06:20 AM   #5
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I know your problem

I have been searching for an SMC 85mm F1.8 for about 6 months and can't find one.

Never looked at screw mounts to be hinest.
03-03-2008, 12:55 PM   #6
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I've got them both. There are a couple shots with each in my galleries.

The Jupiter is a soft-focus lens at f/2 but is plenty sharp at other apertures. The Helios is unique at all apertures, and has a peculiar star-shaped aperture.

Jupiter-9 Gallery

Helios-40 Gallery
03-03-2008, 02:48 PM   #7
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Wow, lots of helpful info here. Thank you all!

Abbazz, you are selling me on these lenses. Very good car analogy there, I'm a car guy as well.

Nice galleries too carpents!

I would love a Pentax version of this lens in either M42, K or AF mount. The scarcity and cost of these models has lead me to 3rd party choices. This is good as these lenses have interesting character and qualities. They are in my budget as well.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the different versions of the Helios? I know the silver one is the earlier model and the black ones are the Helios 40-2.

There is a link in another thread about Russian Cameras, Lenses and other optics where I can get a Jupiter for a good price new. Just thought I'd share the info in this thread.

This is the type of thing that makes it fun to own a Pentax. While it would be easy to switch systems and buy a new Canon 85mm or Nikon 85mm, part of the fun is in using old gems like these as well as having such a good body of users to talk about it all with.

Thanks again,

GusTheCat
03-03-2008, 04:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by gusthecat Quote
Does anyone have any thoughts on the different versions of the Helios? I know the silver one is the earlier model and the black ones are the Helios 40-2.
I have both the silver M39 version and the black Helios 40-2 M42 version. As far as optics, they seem similar enough for me not to care to pixel peep. The 40-2 has a tripod mount on the lens, which is useful since these lenses weigh a ton, and it has a more standard 67mm front thread. The older chrome M39 version has a 66mm front thread, so if you don't get one with caps and a hood it will be tough to find.

They need hoods, too - they are VERY prone to flare. This is one of the huge differences between the older lenses and more modern ones.

03-03-2008, 04:32 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Abbazz Quote
Here are some pictures taken with my Helios 40-2. First, wide open:
The bokeh in the first and the expression captured in the portrait are just astounding. Great job!
03-05-2008, 03:20 PM   #10
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Bought the Helios 40!

Hello All,

Thanks for your feedback.

I ended up getting it on the Marketplace forums.

I was tempted to go the cheaper route with the Jupiter, but in the end, the samples from the Helios pulled me it. Plus it will look mean on my little DS.

I am also going to try it with the Ilford XP2 Super on my ol' Spotmatic F for old times sake.

I had some serious LBA last night...I also bought a Tamron 28-75 F2.8 on the forums. This is now my most costly lens. :O

Thanks,

GusTheCat
03-17-2008, 06:18 PM   #11
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LBA shot with my new Helios

Hello All,

Thanks again for your comments. Here is the very first shot from my newly acquired Helios-40 85mm lens from the forums.

IMGP8731 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Best Regards,

GusTheCat
03-17-2008, 06:29 PM   #12
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Hi Gus

Very nice first shot with your Helio-40 85mm lens!

Tamron is a very nice lens to use for portraits, I have got one too =)

Kenny
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