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03-10-2015, 11:09 AM   #1
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Helios 44M 2/58

So, I finally joined the Helios club. I purchased a 44M 2/58 on ebay from a seller in Ukraine. When the lens arrived, it was not the one pictured. Mine actually has the Cyrillic lettering: ГЕЛИОС. Since there are so many of these out there, I decided that it was probably fine and on the camera it went.

Observations/Questions:
The first thing I noticed was a distinct "cloudiness" when looking through the viewfinder, though focus was spot on.
The images are at once, soft and full of detail... if that makes any sense. f/8 looks like an architectural drawing done with a #2 pencil.
Are these normal characteristics of this lens?

Finally, while the connection to my m42 mount is solid, I have a wobbly lens barrel.
How do I tighten this?

All images have been adjusted for contrast.
The last photograph is at f/8.
My lens has the MMZ logo.

Thank you in advance!








03-10-2015, 11:31 AM   #2
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To me the lens appears to be suffering from low contrast from flair (pointed towards bright light).
The coatings on this lens are not very good (leading to flair) but this does seem to be affected more than my copy is.
Fungus can lead to loss of contrast like this - are you sure the lens is free of fungus or perhaps oil on the glass inside? If you shine a torch at an angle to the lens (not directly though the lens!), do you see anything other than a bit of dust?

Someone else can comment on the lettering but I suspect that is just Russian for Helios (can't remember what mine had and I can't get just at the moment - might have a look later).
03-10-2015, 11:47 AM   #3
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There are plenty of them available on eBay, but the condition is not always acceptable. This lens tends to mechanical issues, mine (K-mount) is wobbling a little as well. If you're lucky, you don't have drench of oil on the aperture lamellae.


Few days ago I ordered a second one (M42) from Ukraine, it even has a hood... http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTQ1NFgxNDU0/z/lOUAAOSwrklU9ZKS/$_57.JPG Once (if) it arives, I'll report about it's condition.
03-10-2015, 01:24 PM   #4
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I have several Russian lenses with six different variations of the Helios 44 alone. All of mine seem to be fairly decent, but they all have their own personality with regards to sharpness, bokeh and flair. The pictures that you have look very much like the ones that I get from one of my 44K-4's. I have two, one MC version with English writing and one that's NOT MC that has Cyrillic writing. Both lenses are sharp with about the same bokeh, but if I point the non-multicoated one anywhere in the vicinity of direct light you will receive a heavy dose of flair, it sometimes almost rivals my Pentax K 85mm Soft lens. But there are instances where shooting with a non-coated lens is preferred.

The Russian lenses that I have kept all seem to be fairly well built, but as dcshooter pointed out they sometimes use a heavy dose of grease to compensate for production tolerances, variations and possibly the day of the week it was assembled

03-10-2015, 03:02 PM   #5
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by kiwi_jono Quote
To me the lens appears to be suffering from low contrast from flair (pointed towards bright light).
The coatings on this lens are not very good (leading to flair) but this does seem to be affected more than my copy is.
Fungus can lead to loss of contrast like this - are you sure the lens is free of fungus or perhaps oil on the glass inside? If you shine a torch at an angle to the lens (not directly though the lens!), do you see anything other than a bit of dust?

Someone else can comment on the lettering but I suspect that is just Russian for Helios (can't remember what mine had and I can't get just at the moment - might have a look later).
Only one of the shots is aimed into bright light... the Starbucks fellows playing chess. I also tried the pin light through the lens test and found no fungus, but was unsure about haze from oil. The lens cost me $38 bucks including shipping, so I'm not too concerned about sending it back, and I like the "lo-fi" feel of the photos. I will probably buy another for comparison's sake.

---------- Post added 03-10-15 at 05:36 PM ----------

Ok... from what I'm reading, this may be simply a random Helios lens attribute. Again, I'm diggin' the results, just another quirky 50. If anyone can point me in the direction of some lens barrel tightening instructions, I appreciate it. Thanks!
03-10-2015, 04:01 PM   #6
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Some say the Cyrillic lettered lenses are not as good (not intended for export). But I don't know. If you didn't get the actual lens pictured in the listing, you have grounds to be upset. But what can you do? Send it back? Not likely to happen.


I have the 44m-4 and am very happy with it. It does not flare like your 44m. You might also check out the Zenitar M2s 50mm f/2. It comes in K mount. I have mine on my camera right now. Lovely rendering. Most other Russian lenses that I've tried left me underimpressed--Tair 11a, Mir 1v, Industar 50-2.
03-10-2015, 04:09 PM   #7
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My Helios is the 44k4. It is incredibly sharp! I love it, only gripe is very firm focusing. I may have to learn how to disassemble it. If I dare.
03-16-2015, 12:19 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by kharry2012 Quote
Some say the Cyrillic lettered lenses are not as good (not intended for export). But I don't know. If you didn't get the actual lens pictured in the listing, you have grounds to be upset. But what can you do? Send it back? Not likely to happen.


I have the 44m-4 and am very happy with it. It does not flare like your 44m. You might also check out the Zenitar M2s 50mm f/2. It comes in K mount. I have mine on my camera right now. Lovely rendering. Most other Russian lenses that I've tried left me underimpressed--Tair 11a, Mir 1v, Industar 50-2.
kharry2012
Can you post a few shots from your Zenitar M2s?

---------- Post added 03-16-15 at 02:36 PM ----------

Follow up:
I disassembled my Helios. The front element looked as though it was cleaned with tree bark and bacon fat.
The scratch pattern was perfectly round and really did resemble a surface that had encountered sandpaper.
I was able to completely remove the glass from the housing and washed it in warm water and Dawn.
There were also bits of oil on the ring which held the lens in place.
I reassembled the lens and it is marginally better, but not up to what I've seen from other 44Ms.

Again, I'll keep it because of the totally analog feel it gives to the photographs... like a Polaroid, but with more clarity. And because returning it would be a pain in the ass.
I'm going to purchase another, leaning toward the 44-2, or the 44k.

Cheers.
1st Helios experience signing off.

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