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05-21-2013, 06:44 PM   #1
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Helios 44M-7 vs. Helios 44-2?

So I'm trying to decide between these two lenses...
I can get the 44-2 with some scratches on the front element for $35. Is that a little bit expensive?
Given that I've already have a Super Takumar 50mm 1.4, would it be wise for me to get one of these two lenses?
The only thing I'm looking to get out of them is the swirly bokeh effect - and I heard that the 44-2 is better than the 44M-7 in this regard. Other than that, I don't think either can beat the Takumar.

Many thanks!

05-21-2013, 07:59 PM   #2
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$35 sounds pretty decent to me. I had to pay more for mine but it didn't have any scratches - not that they probably matter much.

Look at it this way... It's a very cheap lens, and if you don't like it you're either not out much or you can re-sell it and get your money back. Not much risk here.
05-21-2013, 09:37 PM   #3
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I am not sure with 44M-7 but I have 44M-6 and it does NOT have swirly bokeh. They are sharp with pleasing colour rendition in my opinion.
So perhaps the swirly bokeh is only found in the older versions like 44-2?
05-21-2013, 10:39 PM   #4
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I have both of these and they are entirely different lenses.

The M7 blows away all my other 50's in sharpness, no doubt. There is no swirling whatsoever in my copy. I like it as a landscape lens personally.

The 44-2 is a swirling beast, great for softer looking shallow DOF face portraits, not nearly as sharp as the M7. Great for dreamy looking scenes.

I created an older thread comparing the two lenses if you do a search, but several of the photo links are no longer working I'm sure.

The standard answer of course is that you should own BOTH.

05-21-2013, 10:58 PM   #5
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From my understanding, the lower the number after 44, the more swirly the bokeh. The trade off is that the lower the number, the worse the coatings are. Expect to see more ghosting and flare from the 44-2 relative to the 44m-7.

I have a copy of the 44K-4 which is the only copy made in Pentax K-mount. It is very swirly, yet fairly sharp wide open in the centre. Optically, it's the same as any other 44-4.
I paid ~$70 Canadian for my copy in good condition. However, the lens stopped stopping down correctly after about a week of use. Soviet workmanship, you see. I'd opt for the earlier 44's like the 44-2, 44-3, etc as cheaply as you can get them. Paying more won't guarantee you'll get a good copy by any means. Quality control in the USSR back in the day was crazy sloppy.
05-21-2013, 11:13 PM   #6
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here a similar read:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/97960-lovin-he...8mm-f-2-a.html
05-22-2013, 07:11 AM   #7
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thanks for the answer guys. I think i'll go with the 44-2 as the 44M-7 is not so special in its characteristics. and i think no matter how good the 44M-7 is, it can't match the Super Takumar 50 1.4 which I already have, right?
05-22-2013, 07:34 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuan2195 Quote
The only thing I'm looking to get out of them is the swirly bokeh effect - and I heard that the 44-2 is better than the 44M-7 in this regard. Other than that, I don't think either can beat the Takumar.
I would say two things.. first of all, the swirly bokeh is a little overrated. You won't see it very often, and it won't add much to a photo. But the Helios 44 lenses are very sharp, at least in the centre. Edge performance is not as great as Pentax manual lenses, but the centre is very sharp.
The aperture mechanism is kind of complicated, though (hint, its the opposite of what it says it is). And you will need m42 adapter, which means you lose either infinity focus (with flanged adapter) or CiF (with non-flanged adapter).
But for $35 its a good deal, and its a good lens. A special occasion kind of lens.

05-22-2013, 07:47 AM   #9
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I wouldn't directly compare either to the SuperTak 1.4, as I see it they're for a different purpose. Each lens has its own characteristics and it's your job to select the right tool for the job.

If I'm taking a portrait and have plenty of time and a cooperative subject then I would likely use my Helios 44-2. If I need a similar focal length but want sharper style pictures, then I'd take out my Pentax-A 50mm 1.7 (don't have a 1.4 unfortunately!)
05-22-2013, 08:15 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by dboeren Quote
I wouldn't directly compare either to the SuperTak 1.4, as I see it they're for a different purpose. Each lens has its own characteristics and it's your job to select the right tool for the job.

If I'm taking a portrait and have plenty of time and a cooperative subject then I would likely use my Helios 44-2. If I need a similar focal length but want sharper style pictures, then I'd take out my Pentax-A 50mm 1.7 (don't have a 1.4 unfortunately!)
I also have the Super Tak 50/1.4 and it compares more with the Helios 44-2 than the 44M-7. Think of the 44M-7 as a highly accurate lens with no [interesting] flaws, while the 44-2 has certain "flaws" that lend well to its charachter.

This is the first pic I ever shot with the 44-2, borrowed from forumite igilligan several years ago; it was on seeing this pic that I ordered two Helios lenses for myself:


Here is one with the 44M-7. The large version of this is incredibly sharp, much more so than the 44-2 version of the same shot I also took.
05-22-2013, 08:18 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
I would say two things.. first of all, the swirly bokeh is a little overrated. .
I agree with this statement. To make it swirl, I generally have to stop down a little bit, but I much prefer the wide open bokeh, expecially for the spectral highlights. Thus, I usually avoid the swirling effect.
05-22-2013, 02:22 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
I would say two things.. first of all, the swirly bokeh is a little overrated.
QuoteOriginally posted by mikeSF Quote
I agree with this statement. To make it swirl, I generally have to stop down a little bit, but I much prefer the wide open bokeh, expecially for the spectral highlights. Thus, I usually avoid the swirling effect.
Ditto. The swirlies are an indication of lax quality control in manufacturing (misaligned elements) and is variable even within a numeric series. My 44M is only minimally swirlie.


Steve
05-24-2013, 12:21 AM   #13
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I own the 44M-7 and it has only a little bit of swirly bokeh, not as much as I've seen in other examples. It is extremely sharp though. When using MF lenses I prefer this one over any other in the 50mm range.
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