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04-30-2015, 11:32 AM   #1
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Little test: Helios 44-3 vs 44M-7 and ST 55/1.8 vs 44M-7 vs SMC-A 50/1.7

Hi,
I wanted to share this little "compare test" because I didn't find anything similar on the internet (44-3 vs 44M-7) and I always wanted to found out who is better among these two Helios lenses; also, I'm sure this could have been helpful (grammar ok?) in my past searches for good 58mm Helios lens. First one is considered as the better lens than 44-2 because it's multicoated and also has that famous swirly bokeh, and the second is the sharpest among all 58s Helios lenses (so says "the internet").
All I did was to set lenses to infinity (via liveview) and took images (handheld) on different apertures. I found out that 44-3 is close to 44M-7s sharpness and much sharper in the corners than 44M-7.

Later, I wanted to compare 44M-7 with other 50mm lenses. I did that with Super Takumar 55/1.8 and SMC-A 50/1.7. I was amazed when I saw that in the center 44M-7 is sharp as SMC-A 50/1.7! But you can't say that for the corners which are really soft until f4 (acceptable) and very good at f8.

Also, I noticed there is something whitesh in the center of the image taken with 44M-7 @ f11 and goes until f16. Does anyone have similar experiences?

I hope this will help someone.

EDIT: I also have Helios 44M, but it's inferior to all this four lenses in corners and center, so I'm selling it.
EDIT #2: Added new compare. Now all four lenses in one session. Read my post about this, on this thread, here.


Last edited by malenisjaj; 05-02-2015 at 01:06 PM. Reason: Deleted old compare links and added new one
04-30-2015, 01:31 PM   #2
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Very interesting.
04-30-2015, 02:11 PM   #3
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Is it me or does the Helios look the sharpest in most cases?

---------- Post added 04-30-15 at 05:15 PM ----------

One thing I need to ask. When you put a M42-K adapter in, the body of the Helios (and other Russian lenses) doesn't extend wide enough to cover the spring holes like the other M42 lenses do, possibly letting light in. Do you do anything to cover them up?
04-30-2015, 02:59 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spodeworld Quote
Is it me or does the Helios look the sharpest in most cases?

---------- Post added 04-30-15 at 05:15 PM ----------

One thing I need to ask. When you put a M42-K adapter in, the body of the Helios (and other Russian lenses) doesn't extend wide enough to cover the spring holes like the other M42 lenses do, possibly letting light in. Do you do anything to cover them up?
Yes, I had the same thought. It's really strange that 44M-7 has that sharpness (and that's good); even at full aparture it's the best among all of them (with full aperture on). But Helios is 58mm and SMC-A is 50mm so, I think, that 8mm of difference can trick you when you compare details which are placed at infinity.

Spring holes? You want to know does these Russian lenses covers whole metal where contact pins are? It's covered like in this picture. If this is what you had on your mind, then, no, I don't put anything to cover, because there's nothing to cover.

Or you meant about that two holes that are on the m42-k adapter? If thats so, then no, I don't cover it. Do I have to? Is there any link where this letting light problem is tested?


Last edited by malenisjaj; 04-30-2015 at 03:22 PM.
04-30-2015, 04:00 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spodeworld Quote
thing I need to ask. When you put a M42-K adapter in, the body of the Helios (and other Russian lenses) doesn't extend wide enough to cover the spring holes like the other M42 lenses do, possibly letting light in. Do you do anything to cover them up?
It depends on the Helios 44 variant. For example, my Helios 44M has a broad mount face, broader than my ST 55/1.8 and about the same as my other M42 Japanese 50mm lenses. It is my understanding that a narrower mount face is characteristic of the preset aperture variants.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 04-30-2015 at 04:11 PM.
04-30-2015, 04:09 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spodeworld Quote
Is it me or does the Helios look the sharpest in most cases?
No, it is not just you. Center sharpness at all apertures is a design characteristic of the Zeiss Biotar and its derivatives. This comes at the expense of corner sharpness which is usually not that bad on APS-C*, but truly stinks on 35mm film when compared to lenses such as the ST 55/1.8.


Steve

* I believe this is due to field curvature. The corner examples for the 44M-7 demonstrate this quite nicely in that reasonable sharpness is not present until about f/8.
04-30-2015, 08:57 PM   #7
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In the 44-3 vs 44-7 test, the exposure isn't the same...the -3 is consistently more exposed. That can affect perceived sharpness. As far as the Pentax lenses...the Helios is clearly sharper.
05-01-2015, 07:13 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
In the 44-3 vs 44-7 test, the exposure isn't the same...the -3 is consistently more exposed. That can affect perceived sharpness. As far as the Pentax lenses...the Helios is clearly sharper.
You're right. I was to tired to do new compare, but one must do what one must do.
I'll compare it again, but now with same exposure and ISO. You'll be posted.

05-02-2015, 01:01 PM   #9
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New session. :)

I decide to start a new proper compare with camera mounted on tripod and wireless remote controler (F).
Order of testing was Helios 44M-7, 44-3, Super Takumar 55/1.8 and then SMC-A 50/1.7. First test was last night, when I tested these lenses in my room. Library is aproximately 2m from camera lens. Today, when I compared the images, I noticed that ST wasn't sharp enough from f4 and I was wondering what had happened last night. I couldn't find out the reasons, so I started a new session just with ST. Condition for all lenses were the same. Room with one source of light (from the back), camera mounted on tripod directed towards books and wireless remote control.
ISO (200) and exposition was the same for all same f numbers, except when there was f1.8 on ST (1/10s) and f1.7 on SMC-A (also 1/10s). White balance was on "Auto".

Today, I planed to take images towards infinity and that's what I have done. By the time I got my ST, I realize that he isn't calibrated properly (infinity, to be clear). Then I had to reassamble it (just a little bit) and calibrate him to proper infinity; it took me one hour. By the time I was done, the sun has started to shine, so that's the reason why the images from the Helios lenses are littlie bit different than those from ST and SMC-A; it was cloudy day when I shooted through them. Also, due to testings of infinity and finding out where exactly is infinity on these lenses, I found out (live and learn!) that infinity on my Helios lenses isn't where I thought it is. It's just a little bit further.
I was astonished when I realized that the "house-spot", that was representing the center of the image and infinity in the last session, which is about 200m away from me, wasn't infinity. Infinity-spot was 300 meter further, towards little house which was representing the corner sharpness last time. This time, center of the images are those trees and part of the house on their left. It's much further than the previous house.

For this session, ISO (80) and exposition was the same for all same f numbers, except when there was f1.8 on ST and f1.7 on SMC-A. White balance was on "Cloudy".

So, this time I hope I've done properly and if you think that I have done some errors, please forgive me, for I am only a human.

With all day in this, all I can say is: I'm through with this!

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