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06-17-2018, 08:22 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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Helios 44 SN#0000xxx slight differences with SN#000xxxx

Hi everybody, since last year I have a very early Helios 44 with the serial number 0000xxx f/2-f/22.
But a couple of weeks ago I spotted one with the serial 000xxxx (also stopping down to f/22) at a very good price so decided to buy it.
Since theyīve been made at the same factory (and probably very close in time) I didnīt expect many differences, but I could find some.

First of all, the coatings. The 0000 has a deep blue tone but the 000 is more on the purple side. This is very evident, viewed from any angle.



Also note that the red sign is centered only in the 000 version, and that the size of the letters is a bit smaller in the 0000.

0000


000


More differences on the filter and the aperture ring.
On the filter ring there is (only in the 000) an useful dot that shows the aperture at any time.
On the aperture ring, in the 0000 a dot marks the minimum aperture selected. In the 000 there is a line instead.

And one last difference, below the f/16 number the mark is like an L in the 000 and a l in the 0000.

0000


000




0000


000


06-17-2018, 08:57 AM   #2
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Very beautiful specimens!
06-17-2018, 09:00 AM   #3
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Beautiful lenses, and interesting to note the quite significant differences. Thanks for sharing, especially with photos!
06-17-2018, 09:35 AM   #4
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If they both have 13 blades, and both are M39, they should be from early 60-s. I also read that it's impossible to verify the year by serial number in those models,
They both have single coating, and slightly variations in color may be because of different production year.
Nice lens for indoor or night portrait photography, imo.

I personally prefer MC version, but it will not be 13 blades like in early models.

Here is the article in Russian: ussrlens.com - ????? ????????? ??????-44 ???

06-17-2018, 09:40 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
If they both have 13 blades, and both are M39
Yes, they are.
06-17-2018, 12:40 PM   #6
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May I ask the blade count for each lens? No need...


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-17-2018 at 01:28 PM.
06-17-2018, 12:47 PM   #7
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After more than a year of waiting, I've finally managed to grab one of these earlier f/22-capable models today at a sensible price, from a seller I've used before on eBay (pictures below are from the seller). The serial number is "0006513", so only very slightly later than your "0006216" example. I'd be interested to compare mine to yours once it arrives
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06-17-2018, 12:47 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
May I ask the blade count for each lens?


Steve
Uh... I think he just answered 13 each.

---------- Post added 06-17-18 at 09:48 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
After more than a year of waiting, I've finally managed to grab one of these earlier f/22-capable models today at a sensible price, from a seller I've used before on eBay (pictures below are from the seller). The serial number is "0006513", so only very slightly later than your "0006216". I'd be interested to compare mine to yours once it arrives
...out of curiosity, what do you mean by "sensible"?
I'll make do with a ballpark figure if you don't want to disclose the price you paid.

06-17-2018, 01:02 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
Uh... I think he just answered 13 each.

---------- Post added 06-17-18 at 09:48 PM ----------



...out of curiosity, what do you mean by "sensible"?
I'll make do with a ballpark figure if you don't want to disclose the price you paid.
I paid GBP Ģ120 (EU €137) + shipping, including original front and rear caps and what looks like an authentic leather case (but you can never be sure how original these additional items are... the caps, at least, look correct for the period).

That's expensive compared to a regular Helios-44 8-blade model, and still quite expensive compared to a 13-blade model with f/16 minimum aperture. For a good example of the 13-blade f/22-capable model, it's a competitive price and considerably less than several I've seen for sale over the last year. Some were listed for three times that amount, though I doubt anyone would be silly enough to pay that. Given the apparent condition of this one, I'm happy with the price paid.

It's worth bearing in mind, though, the reputation of these earliest models suggests they're not as good optically as later variants. I can't verify that until I get to compare mine side by side with my other 44's, but I'm prepared to consider the possibility. If it's true, it might be to do with coatings, or could be some difference in the production of the glass...
06-17-2018, 01:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
I paid GBP Ģ120 (EU €137) + shipping, including original front and rear caps and what looks like an authentic leather case (but you can never be sure how original these additional items are... the caps, at least, look correct for the period).

That's expensive compared to a regular Helios-44 8-blade model, and still quite expensive compared to a 13-blade model with f/16 minimum aperture. For a good example of the 13-blade f/22-capable model, it's a competitive price and considerably less than several I've seen for sale over the last year. Some were listed for three times that amount, though I doubt anyone would be silly enough to pay that. Given the apparent condition of this one, I'm happy with the price paid.

It's worth bearing in mind, though, the reputation of these earliest models suggests they're not as good optically as later variants. I can't verify that until I get to compare mine side by side with my other 44's, but I'm prepared to consider the possibility. If it's true, it might be to do with coatings, or could be some difference in the production of the glass...
It's not cheap, but all things considered (blades, chrome color, 000 serial, etc.) it looks a nice lens.
On the quality side, many people actively seek 44M-2 because they are optically worse, and swirl better... so that can be considered a plus as well
06-17-2018, 01:39 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
On the quality side, many people actively seek 44M-2 because they are optically worse, and swirl better... so that can be considered a plus as well
Interestingly, I've never seen proof that any specific version of the Helios-44-formula lens produces more swirl than another, and I have my doubts. In many cases (but not necessarily all) I suspect it's actually down to the individual user, their technique and understanding of how to invoke the effect, and a lack of consistency in testing and comparison (the swirling is highly dependent on camera to subject distance, subject to background distance, and background content).

See an article I posted early last year: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/54-pentax-lens-articles/339101-helios-44...-4-tested.html

That said, I'm not denying the possibility of some versions creating more "swirl" than others... it's just that I've not experienced it myself, and I've seen no controlled testing to prove it

Last edited by BigMackCam; 06-17-2018 at 01:48 PM.
06-17-2018, 01:39 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
After more than a year of waiting, I've finally managed to grab one of these earlier f/22-capable models today at a sensible price, from a seller I've used before on eBay (pictures below are from the seller). The serial number is "0006513", so only very slightly later than your "0006216" example. I'd be interested to compare mine to yours once it arrives
Mine costed 59 dollars, but its condition is far worse than yours.
Anyway, I think that the antiques seller who I bought it from didnīt know that the 000s are usually priced higher.

And, interestingly, I see that all the small details in your lens match what I have seen in mine.

Last edited by Cabessius; 06-17-2018 at 01:47 PM.
06-17-2018, 01:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Interestingly, I've never seen proof that any specific version of the Helios-44-formula lens produces more swirl than another, and I have my doubts. In many cases (but not necessarily all) I suspect it's actually down to the individual user, their technique and understanding of how to invoke the effect, and a lack of consistency in testing and comparison (the swirling is highly dependent on camera to subject distance, subject to background distance, and background content).

See an article I posted early last year: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/54-pentax-lens-articles/339101-helios-44...-4-tested.html

That said, I'm not denying the possibility of some versions creating more "swirl" than others... it's just that I've not experienced it myself, and I've seen no controlled testing to prove it
I only have one (44K-4), so I couldn't test even if I wanted.
My copy is in quite good condition, apart from what I think are minuscule oil drops on one of the inner elements (from the aperture, probably... effect on image is that they appear on the bokeh, like dust on sensor but always in the same spot of all bokeh "balls").
And it swirls, if you know how to do it.
I think one is enough for me, even though I use it quite often.

Edit: read your test and it matches my experience.
I was also expecting swirl to increase on FF as opposed to APS-C.

Last edited by BigMackCam; 06-17-2018 at 02:11 PM. Reason: Updated quoted post
06-17-2018, 01:52 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cabessius Quote
Mine costed 59 dollars, but its condition is far worse than yours.
Anyway, I think that the antiques seller who I bought it from didnīt know that the 000s are usually priced higher.

And, interestingly, I see that all the small details in your lens match what I have seen in mine.
Regardless of condition, yours was an absolute bargain (and an excellent investment!). You could have paid as much for a common 8-blade model. Great catch!!

But the jewel in your collection is that "0000" model. Wow!! <drool>
06-17-2018, 02:10 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by LensBeginner Quote
I was also expecting swirl to increase on FF as opposed to APS-C.
I did not notice that, but it shines on FF because the bokeh fits 35mm frame. Makes me happy like in film era.
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