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10-23-2009, 05:58 PM   #1
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Question for Helios experts

I just bought this on the "bay" Is this an early or late version? It looks late to me by the writing in roman characters, but it just says Helios 44m not 2, 3 etc. Any ideas? Thanks

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10-23-2009, 06:03 PM   #2
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here is a little better pic i think

Any ideas? Thanks
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10-23-2009, 06:11 PM   #3

The 44M is my fave lens ever. haha

It is like the taks in that it has the A/M switch for focus/metering.

check out my recent link in the other forum

The best $20 dollar lens ever?: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

Hopefully you will love it as much as I do.
10-23-2009, 08:13 PM   #4
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I'm really excited about it. I have only heard good things about it

10-23-2009, 08:37 PM   #5
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Early? Late?

It is all relative in the world of Zenit cameras and the lenses that were made to fit them. Your lens is the first in a series designed with automatic aperture in the M42 mount. That is the significance of the "M". Although other designs followed (44M-4, 44M-5, and so on), the basic 44M was produced for at least a decade starting in about 1972. The optical quality is supposed to improve in the 44M-x sequence though it is important to note that the higher numbers do not indicate a newer lens. For example, some 44M-4 lenses were made earlier than some 44M copies.

Despite being the earlier tooling, your lens is no slouch. I own the Helios 44M and am very fond of two of its unique features. It has both an A/M switch and the eight-bladed iris diaphragm. The 44M-x models lack both.

Here is the pocket Helios 44 summary:
  • All share the same optical formula based on the Zeiss Biotar 58/2
  • Except for the earliest production, the first two digits of the serial number are the year of manufacture
  • The early designs have all-metal bodies with the later having more plastic parts
  • Models intended for export have Roman characters, while others have Cyrillic lettering.
Helios 44: pre-set aperture, eight or thirteen-bladed iris, most are M39 mount (rarely M42)

Helios 44-2: M42, pre-set aperture, eight-bladed iris
Helios 44-3: M42, pre-set aperture, eight-bladed iris, Multi-coated, updated body

Helios 44M: M42, auto aperture, eight-bladed iris, A/M switch, rare with MC
Helios 44M-4: M42, auto aperture, six-bladed iris, no A/M switch, some with MC
Helios 44M-5: same as above but with improved optical quality and MC
Helios 44M-6: ditto
Helios 44M-7: ditto
Here is a link to my earlier thread with lots of Helios info:
Here is another link to an extensive discussion (some of which is mildly inaccurate) of the Helios 44 clan:
Manual Focus Lenses :: View topic - Complete Helios Lens list anyone?
Enjoy your new lens and post some pictures up!


Last edited by stevebrot; 10-23-2009 at 08:52 PM.
10-23-2009, 08:55 PM   #6
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Wow - very difinitive!

Thanks - that is exactly what I was looking for.

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