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06-17-2018, 02:18 PM - 1 Like   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
But the jewel in your collection is that "0000" model. Wow!! <drool>
Iīve only seen 2 of them so far, mine and another from a Mf forum user.

But I donīt give up searching for a 00000 one. Only 99 of them made and who knows how many are still around.
Probably all of them, since they were built like a tank.


Last edited by Cabessius; 06-17-2018 at 02:24 PM.
06-18-2018, 01:39 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
But the jewel in your collection is that "0000" model. Wow!! <drool>
I did a quick survey on eBay yesterday and noticed an amazing number of "000" SN Helios 44 lenses. In theory those were supposed to be factory one-offs or prototypes (not an indication of early vs. late), but are deemed more valuable by some. My suspicion is that bezel fraud is as common for that type M39 preset lenses as for the M42 auto-aperture variants. The "0000" SN on the OP's lens is intriguing. It appears to be unique in that no others have been reported, but also because of the straight-line index at f/16. I was suspicious of the "0000" claim, mostly because of the goopy appearance of the red "П" and the appearance of the rest of the bezel engraving. Even "refreshed" paint should not look that coarse in comparison to the rest of the lens. That being said, I was unable to find another image on the Web featuring the straight index to f/16.


Steve

(...has an unhealthy fascination with Soviet lenses...)
06-18-2018, 01:58 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I did a quick survey on eBay yesterday and noticed an amazing number of "000" SN Helios 44 lenses. In theory those were supposed to be factory one-offs or prototypes (not an indication of early vs. late), but are deemed more valuable by some. My suspicion is that bezel fraud is as common for that type M39 preset lenses as for the M42 auto-aperture variants. The "0000" SN on the OP's lens is intriguing. It appears to be unique in that no others have been reported, but also because of the straight-line index at f/16. I was suspicious of the "0000" claim, mostly because of the goopy appearance of the red "П" and the appearance of the rest of the bezel engraving. Even "refreshed" paint should not look that coarse in comparison to the rest of the lens. That being said, I was unable to find another image on the Web featuring the straight index to f/16.


Steve

(...has an unhealthy fascination with Soviet lenses...)
There was this thread at DPR, Helios 44M-7 - conclusively spotting fakes?
but it's a damn rabbit hole... they started sorting - no, trying to sort - the naming convention (4, 5, 6, 7) and couldn't get to the bottom of it: when the -7 started, at which factory, when the fakes started...
It's fascinating... it's almost as if they were putting lenses together with what they had at hand, with no regard to any procedure or anything.
I think setting up a system to explain something so haphazard is impossible.

(...has one too, even though I only possess one)
06-18-2018, 02:09 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I was suspicious of the "0000" claim, mostly because of the goopy appearance of the red "П" and the appearance of the rest of the bezel engraving. Even "refreshed" paint should not look that coarse in comparison to the rest of the lens.
With respect, I think you over-estimate the precision of engraving, paint application and printing from the Soviet factories My experience, even with pristine, original / non-restored lenses (various models) is that the quality of engraving and stamping can be extremely variable and inconsistent (even on a single component) - perhaps showing wear and tear in the machinery used, though that's just a guess. That can make both original and refreshed paint look pretty poorly applied, even if it's not.

I've yet to see bezel fraud on early lenses, except for crude attempts to make FED rangefinder lenses appear - on very casual inspection - to be original Leitz models...

But, nothing would surprise me where Soviet lenses are concerned

06-18-2018, 02:36 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
With respect, I think you over-estimate the precision of engraving, paint application and printing from the Soviet factories My experience, even with pristine, original / non-
That may be. I only own a dozen Soviet lenses spanning the range 1957-2007. The best engraving is on the older stuff, with LZOS having the edge overall.

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
But, nothing would surprise me where Soviet lenses are concerned
Agreed!

FWIW, I handled a fake Luftwaffe Leica several weeks ago and while it would not stand a side-by-side comparison to the real thing, it was one very nice post-war Zorki/FED.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-18-2018 at 02:42 PM.
06-18-2018, 02:50 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
but it's a damn rabbit hole... they started sorting - no, trying to sort - the naming convention (4, 5, 6, 7) and couldn't get to the bottom of it: when the -7 started, at which factory, when the fakes started...
And then folk start quoting from zenitcamera.com as if were other than a fan site assembled from documentation of unknown origin. For sure, much was salvaged from KMZ files, but much is also inconsistent with known specs (rolls eyes).


Steve
06-18-2018, 03:00 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
That may be. I only own a dozen Soviet lenses spanning the range 1957-2007. The best engraving is on the older stuff, with LZOS having the edge overall.
... And some of the worst is on the 1950s to mid 1960s KMZ Industars I've seen - especially the -22 and -50 models, though that might be because more of those have been through my hands

Also, check out the bezel printing on some 1980s 44-Mn lenses (especially Valdai-produced examples)... It can be quite awful. In fact, a number of 44M-7 lenses have been dismissed as "fake" because of the poor bezel printing quality. The font can be a good give-away, but printing quality on its own isn't...

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
FWIW, I handled a fake Luftwaffe Leica several weeks ago and while it would not stand a side-by-side comparison to the real thing, it was one very nice post-war Zorki/FED.
LOL I'd actually quite like one of those, at the right price. From what I've heard, the optical quality of the Soviet lenses wasn't all that different to the similar-looking but slightly different design original Leitz versions.

Last edited by BigMackCam; 06-18-2018 at 06:10 PM.
06-18-2018, 03:12 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
And then folk start quoting from zenitcamera.com as if were other than a fan site assembled from documentation of unknown origin. For sure, much was salvaged from KMZ files, but much is also inconsistent with known specs (rolls eyes).
There's a combination of problems with the provenance of Soviet lenses...

Different factories began and continued production of certain models between different dates, and many superseded models continued production alongside their newer counterparts at different factories (the Helios-44-2 and other 44-series lenses are probably the best, but by no means the only, examples). Undoubtedly, the factories used up components to produce lenses beyond documented dates. Plus, there are lenses that didn't meet quality control for a variety of reasons that have since made it to the secondary market. Worst of all, much factory documentation for early-production lenses has been lost or destroyed (though I believe even if it still existed, it couldn't be depended upon 100%).

Then again, so many of these vintage lenses - like classic cars - have been repaired, restored and altered by people with a variety of motives, historical / functional / commercial priorities and technical abilities. Franken-lenses are in abundance, with optical elements, bezels, body parts, mounts, diaphragm blades, other discrete components (even documentation and supposed retail packaging) substituted / modified / added as necessary, and bodies / paint-work refreshed / refinished / modified (to varying degrees of professionalism, believability and historical accuracy).

Owners and both casual and serious collectors can also be a problem. Many read information of questionable accuracy and reputation, or make assumptions from limited samples, and propagate this "knowledge" throughout online forums, usually with perfectly good intentions but often with negative results - especially when they state things as "facts" (when that might not be the case). There's a lot of very inaccurate information out there, and anything we read from one person or website is to be treated and validated with the same cynicism as the wildest of conspiracy theories. My own limited knowledge is largely based on a combination of what I've "learned" online, plus some experience from collecting. I don't pretend all of what I think I know is correct, though I strive to be honest about anything I don't know for certain

All of this means it's often difficult, and sometimes impossible, to conclusively prove whether a lens is genuine or not, and - even if it is - whether all the constituent parts are original and correct.

In some ways, the resourcefulness of people to keep lenses alive (for whatever reason) by substituting parts from non-repairable examples is to be applauded. It's a very Soviet trait, to make do and mend (I think of the 1950s American cars in Cuba ), and quite attractive to me so far as the intent is concerned. But it makes the collector's job extremely difficult...

All good fun, eh?


Last edited by BigMackCam; 06-18-2018 at 04:19 PM.
06-18-2018, 04:03 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
And then folk start quoting from zenitcamera.com as if were other than a fan site assembled from documentation of unknown origin. For sure, much was salvaged from KMZ files, but much is also inconsistent with known specs (rolls eyes).
Why unknown? There are historical manufacturer's documents, blueprints, articles, books, catalogs. The problem is not the site credibility, but the mess-mass-production by soviet style. It was not uncommon to introduce some improvements at the middle of single line production, so some cameras from the beginning of serial numbers could be different from ones of the end of production.
Almost all models of soviet cameras were the copies, bad copies of foreign brands; therefore soviet analogs had been improved constantly, sometimes successfully, but mostly not. Also, Zenit cameras with Helios lenses were mass market, and affordable, that tells all about their quality. Ironically, bad quality made Helios lenses so popular now.

I keep only two of them, one is 44-4 k obviously for K mount, and another preset 44-2 M42. I plan to get the original Zeiss lenses to compare them with their soviet clones of Helios.
06-18-2018, 04:09 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
Ironically, bad quality made Helios lenses so popular now.
That's a pretty bold and vague statement, with all due respect

Do you mean they're optically or mechanically "bad quality" (or both)? Which specific models are you talking about, and have you taken sample variation into account? There are some absolutely fantastic Helios lenses around, but how good or bad they are (mechanically and/or optically) depends on your priorities and preferences (it's highly subjective) and quality control from the Soviet factories (which was variable by period and factory).

I can't speak authoritatively on every one, but I've reasonable experience of the majority of Soviet lens models, along with useful experience of other non-Soviet lenses from the same era...
06-18-2018, 04:16 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
That's a pretty bold and vague statement, with all due respect. Do you mean they're optically or mechanically "bad quality" (or both)? .
Mechanically they are Zeiss lenses, so there is not much Soviets can claim as own engineering achievement about them. The production started after WWII when the soviets relocated original documentation and equipment from Zeiss factory to USSR. The quality of glass was not German, but Soviet. Everything good about Helios lenses I believe could be delegated to its original creator, which is Zeiss.
06-18-2018, 04:22 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
Mechanically they are Zeiss lenses, so there is not much Soviets can claim as own engineering achievement about them. The production started after WWII when the soviets relocated original documentation and equipment from Zeiss factory to USSR. The quality of glass was not German, but Soviet. Everything good about Helios lenses I believe could be delegated to its original creator, which is Zeiss.
I don't dispute that... at least, not for some of the models. Of course, some of those Zeiss lenses were gems, and that carried forward to the Soviet versions. Soviet optics may or may not be to the same standard, but in some (many?) cases they were very good indeed.

It was your "bad quality made Helios lenses so popular now" assertion that I was questioning, and asking for a bit more detail on... Not because I disagree with it entirely, but because I disagree with it as a broad statement (based on my own experience)
06-18-2018, 04:36 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
It was your "bad quality made Helios lenses so popular now" assertion that I was questioning, and asking for a bit more detail on... Not because I disagree with it entirely, but because I disagree with it as a broad statement (based on my own experience)
If I'm not mistaken that famous swirly bokeh is not the signature quality characteristic. But I do love Helios lenses, probably too much for what they really deserve. Zenit was my first camera, and I loved it. Mostly because I had not seen any better back then. I should not have ruined that good memory when tried to load film into Zenit camera which came with the lens from ebay. I broke my nail trying to load film. Oh, that sweet reminisce, yeah.
06-18-2018, 04:53 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
If I'm not mistaken that famous swirly bokeh is not the signature quality characteristic. But I do love Helios lenses, probably too much for what they really deserve. Zenit was my first camera, and I loved it. Mostly because I had not seen any better back then. I should not have ruined that good memory when tried to load film into Zenit camera which came with the lens from ebay. I broke my nail trying to load film. Oh, that sweet reminisce, yeah.
Are you talking specifically about the Helios-44-x and Helios-40-x lenses, as opposed to all of the other Helios - and all other Soviet "brand" - lenses?

I've never suggested that swirly bokeh is a sign of "quality", but nor is it a sign of poor quality.... it's just one of many characteristics that lenses from many manufacturers may or may not display when used at wide apertures. The Helios-44-x and Helios-40-x are known for it, of course, but that's just one aspect of their rendering, and not the only thing they're capable of when used effectively. Whether you or I choose to use that effect (and like it) or not, doesn't relate to the "quality" of the lens.

My apologies if I seem to push you on this But to me, your original statement might just as easily have been "Ironically, bad quality made Helios / [Sigma / Tamron / any other manufacturer] lenses so popular". We all know that some lenses from each manufacturer are excellent, some only OK, and some poor (even then, our assessments will be different). So far as my own experience goes, what you said originally is a very big generalisation, and doesn't take into account individual models, let alone personal preferences.

If you're only talking about Helios-44-x and Helios-40-x series lenses, then there's still massive variation between models and even individual copies depending on the year of manufacture. But most of them can offer some very attractive optical properties depending on the individual photographer. Very few are what I would personally call "bad quality", but that's still subjective

Last edited by BigMackCam; 06-18-2018 at 05:03 PM.
06-18-2018, 05:10 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
If you're only talking about Helios-44-x and Helios-40-x series lenses, then there's still massive variation between models and even individual copies depending on the year of manufacture. But most of them can offer some very attractive optical properties depending on the individual photographer. Very few are what I would personally call "bad quality", but that's still subjective
I've been taking about Helios 44-s since this thread about them. Sorry, I trolled you with generalization.
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