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11-19-2008, 10:55 PM   #1
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Helios 44M

Hey there you Russian Lens loving freaks,

I have the J-9 and I like it's work and now I need more! I'm looking at the Helios 44M as it's very cheap and looks as quirky as the J-9. Problem is, there's quite a few different versions out there, 44M-2 (preset diaphragm) , 44M-4 & 44-M6 (automatic diaphragm) which are the easiest to purchase but I'm not sure what the differences are quaility wise (IQ and build) are.

So if there's any Helios 44M lovers out there, share your thoughts please.

Cheers.

11-20-2008, 04:05 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by figmental1978 Quote
Hey there you Russian Lens loving freaks,

I have the J-9 and I like it's work and now I need more! I'm looking at the Helios 44M as it's very cheap and looks as quirky as the J-9. Problem is, there's quite a few different versions out there, 44M-2 (preset diaphragm) , 44M-4 & 44-M6 (automatic diaphragm) which are the easiest to purchase but I'm not sure what the differences are quaility wise (IQ and build) are.

So if there's any Helios 44M lovers out there, share your thoughts please.

Cheers.
I just bought a Helios 44-2 and am waiting for it to arrive. Google Helios 44 and look through the links carefully to find the specifics of each version. Many of the later ones do not have a Manual/Auto switch so are less desirable for our purposes. The Helios 44-2 and 44m apparently are good to go though, and both highly regarding from what I have read.
11-20-2008, 04:13 AM   #3
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I was in the same position as You some time ago and finally bought Helios 44k-4. I was looking for a cheap alternative for my analog camera and was tired of fighting with m42 to P/K adapter on my P30... and found this Helios with K mount.

I must say that for a such cheap lens(I gave ~12$) it's quite good. Build of this lens is not bad either. As for IQ I found that it is a bit dark on dslr. I think there is the same issue as with j-9 - underexposed shots at wide apertures.
11-20-2008, 05:54 AM   #4
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I am a proud owner of one Helios 44M, currently mated to Zenit EM.


(don't mind the el-cheapo film and dirty scanner, gotta clean it thoroughly one day..)

11-20-2008, 06:23 AM   #5
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elkarrde,
that is a very nice picture, good texture on the boy, nice out of focus background, nice colors, that's what this lens can do.

Figmental,
I guess Igilligan on this forum is the most prolific promoter of this lens, he's got several photo threads on his Helios going, latest here,
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/42125-my-cold-war-limited-helios-44m.html

About which to choose, I guess it does not matter too much. If we're talking M42, there is the old preset version (more round aperture for better bokeh but also very narrow backplate), which I would be lusting for in a late, blue-coated version maybe :-)

Then the 44M..... versions, here some say the earlier versions are better made, but I guess that's just how lucky you get with the build-spread. Version -5, -6, -7 have multicoating, so that would be the way to go if you want to shoot into harsh lighting and maybe maybe get a little more color pop.

About the manual aperture conversion, just unscrew the 3 screws on the back, hold the pin from outside while lifting the back off, put a piece of a cotton swab plastic shaft onto the pin from inside, close it back. There you have your manual lens (done that on version -6 and -7).

Good luck with your chase,
Georg (the other)
11-20-2008, 07:02 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by georgweb Quote
elkarrde,
that is a very nice picture, good texture on the boy, nice out of focus background, nice colors, that's what this lens can do.
thank you!

it is indeed very nicely built lens with good IQ, i think that M42-K adapter is going to be my next aquisition..
11-20-2008, 08:12 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by georgweb Quote
elkarrde,

About the manual aperture conversion, just unscrew the 3 screws on the back, hold the pin from outside while lifting the back off, put a piece of a cotton swab plastic shaft onto the pin from inside, close it back. There you have your manual lens (done that on version -6 and -7).

Good luck with your chase,
Georg (the other)
It would appear that I have the lens you are referring to and I'm greatly interested in your conversion. However, I'm having trouble picturing what you are doing with the swab shaft. Does that make the diamater of the shaft too large to fit through the hole? Off to try this now. How exciting! Maybe I can shoot my Helios in something other than wide open. Although it does quite nicely that way.


edit: nevermind. now that i have it apart is see what you're talking about. way cool. thanks!
Meanwhile, here's a little fun with some selective focus.


Last edited by mel; 11-20-2008 at 08:34 AM.
11-20-2008, 02:21 PM   #8
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My thought...

Beautiful shot Mel....


I have the older version Helios 44M and it has the A / M switch on it... The advantage to any lens with the A/M switch comes when you are focusing...

I meter the scene at what ever Fstop I choose, then just use a finger to quickly go to 'A' to open the lens all the way up... (more light for focus) then just a quick switch back to M and boom! Or you can reverse it and A to focus, M to meter... all the same really.

Thanks to georgweb for that lesson on fixing the pin on the later versions without the A/M switch... Very helpful.

It also sounds like there are some Later K mount multi-coated versions that are reported to be even sharper... If I dont beat you to them

Even my older version is pretty darn sharp wide open...









11-20-2008, 07:29 PM   #9
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thanks everyone,

I guess I would prefer the manual/auto switch as I'm used to my Takumar lenses but those Helios lenses don't have MC is that correct? I also read that that manual/auto switch versions have 8 blades and the later versions only have 6, is this correct?
11-20-2008, 10:22 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by figmental1978 Quote
thanks everyone,

I guess I would prefer the manual/auto switch as I'm used to my Takumar lenses but those Helios lenses don't have MC is that correct? I also read that that manual/auto switch versions have 8 blades and the later versions only have 6, is this correct?
Well I did Georgweb's fix and it was very easy and works like a charm (yes guys, I know you're all thinking, even a girl can do it). I say if you can get a deal on any, grab it. I got mine, a Lentar preset 28/2.8 and a Spotmatic all together for almost nothing. I wouldn't be too caught up on whether it has the switch. That can be taken care of. Good luck hunting.
11-20-2008, 11:54 PM   #11
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I wholeheartedly agree with Mel

Just grab one, they are all really cheap and fun...

Plus some of the later MC versions are Kmount so you dont need the a/m switch anyway do you?

The fix does look like it would be easy.... I bet even a guy could do it.


Hey Mel... now that you can stop yours down. This thing really can cut you at F4

Plus, I got some good shots with bounced flash...
11-22-2008, 03:39 AM   #12
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ok, ordered a supposedly new Helios 44-2. Looking forward to playing with this lens and also thanks for the info. cheers.
11-22-2008, 01:46 PM   #13
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It seems that $20 is the going rate in any currency.

I bought this at a second hand shop in Country Queensland (Australia) to check if there was a problem with my super tak 50 1.4 M42 which wouldn't focus. (It was the camera since repaired).

I might take this lens a bit more seriously in it's own right, now.
11-24-2008, 04:04 PM   #14
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Gus is right

Wow Gus. You're right. It does cut you at f/4 (excuse the lame subject matter but I had to try it at f/4)

12-02-2008, 04:17 AM   #15
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just received my helios 44-2 which was described as new on ebay...unfortunately, it came with no caps and looks a little used but the glass seems perfect. looking forward to using it. thanks all for your input and photos.
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