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11-24-2009, 12:06 AM - 1 Like   #1
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A Helios-40 85/1.5 for 10% of the price?

Many have noticed that the prices of good/interesting M42 glass are on the rise. One clear example is the Russian Helios-40 or 40-2 85mm f/1.5. These did not cost more than $100-$150 in the past, but it's now easily double or triple that amount. This is because not many of these lenses were made and sold when they were new, but also because of their speed (f/1.5) and strange radial bokeh.

Now, who wouldn't love to get that lens, but at only 10% of the price? Here's how!

Many of the 1st generation night vision devices have a M42 mount, with exactly the same register distance as M42 cameras. Consequently those night vision devices are sold with M42-mount lenses, many of which are the Helios-40 85/1.5 under another name.



But wait! There's a drawback: the Cyclop lens does NOT have a diaphragm built in. Bummer? Yes and no. Yes, because this will limit it in practical use (stopped down the lens is tack sharp). No, because most users would use this lens wide open anyway (because of the strange radial bokeh). Fortunately, wide open the lens is sharp too!

Warning: some versions of the Cyclop night vision devices come with 85mm f/1.2 or 100 f/1.2 lenses or something like that. As far as I'm aware those lenses will not work on a DSLR because of a protruding last element. So check this before you buy.

Yes, the lens information is actually painted on! The onion-shaped logo shows that the lens was made by ROMZ (Rostov Optical and Mechanical Factory), a military production center.


Finally some quick samples. As the portrait shows the sharpness wide open does not leave much to be desired!









11-24-2009, 12:41 AM   #2
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Caution, as there are cases where an 85/1.5 version of this optic also has the protrusion. I should know, I have one right here :-DDD Ever since getting this dud, I've been turned off, but seeing how the Helios-40 prices are sky-rocketing (stupid me for selling an absolutely mint condition version of it for a mere $330 or so last year ), I might get back to looking for one of these...
11-24-2009, 12:54 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by RawheaD Quote
Caution, as there are cases where an 85/1.5 version of this optic also has the protrusion. I should know, I have one right here :-DDD Ever since getting this dud, I've been turned off, but seeing how the Helios-40 prices are sky-rocketing (stupid me for selling an absolutely mint condition version of it for a mere $330 or so last year ), I might get back to looking for one of these...
Thanks for the warning! Could you post some photos of your 'dud' just so that we know which lenses to avoid?

Selling a Helios-40 and getting one of the Cyclops is a smart move IMHO. Take the same photos and end up with $300 change
11-24-2009, 01:16 AM   #4
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Looks just like a good version :-) Somebody suggested the serial number (i.e., production year, as signified by the first two digits) might give us a clue to when the transition occurred.





11-24-2009, 02:33 AM   #5
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Peter, nice lens and I am curious what more you will make of it picturewise.

Here's one more of this sort, Picasa-Webalben - geo - Cyclop
It looks very much like Rawhead's lens. I simply removed (unscrewed) the rear section :-)
I would not expect good color reproduction from those lenses - but maybe for black and white and especially infrared it would work ?
Georg
11-24-2009, 02:53 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by RawheaD Quote
Looks just like a good version :-) Somebody suggested the serial number (i.e., production year, as signified by the first two digits) might give us a clue to when the transition occurred.
If I look at that image, the protruding element just looks like an attachment - may be a relay lens system. Could you try to unscrew it? Perhaps (really only a trial) you can then use the prime lens for photography with your Pentax?

Ben
11-24-2009, 06:44 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
If I look at that image, the protruding element just looks like an attachment - may be a relay lens system. Could you try to unscrew it? Perhaps (really only a trial) you can then use the prime lens for photography with your Pentax?

Ben
The black thing does screw off. Unfortunately, there's another protrusion inside that interferes :-) Besides, without the rear element, it becomes a single element lens (just the front lens). I'm pretty sure the Helios-40 wasn't meant to be a magnifying glass lens :-D
11-24-2009, 03:54 PM   #8
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You got me...

QuoteOriginally posted by Asahiflex Quote
Thanks for the warning! Could you post some photos of your 'dud' just so that we know which lenses to avoid?

Selling a Helios-40 and getting one of the Cyclops is a smart move IMHO. Take the same photos and end up with $300 change
I have just ebayed/googled and can find none...

Help me with some links to where I can get one of these... I could never afford the Helios 40 at what they are going for today.

Much LBA love to ya

gus

11-25-2009, 12:27 AM   #9
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It's not that these are easy to find, but here's a page about the system from the USA distributor. Use this to find appropiate search keywords:

Cyclops Night Vision from KIEV/USA
11-25-2009, 02:51 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by RawheaD Quote
The black thing does screw off. Unfortunately, there's another protrusion inside that interferes :-) Besides, without the rear element, it becomes a single element lens (just the front lens). I'm pretty sure the Helios-40 wasn't meant to be a magnifying glass lens :-D
In that case, the lens is simply not the sought after Helios modell....

Ben
11-27-2009, 08:12 AM   #11
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Some samples. It's interesting to see that it's only really sharp in the middle.

1.


2.


3.


4.


5.


6.
08-30-2013, 02:32 PM   #12
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Hello all

i am very much interested in buying cyclop 85/1.5 but i am worried that some of them have protruding rear element

how should i know if i am buying the right one without that? cyclop version 1 is ok?

any ideas how to recognize which cyclop is "ok" for m42?

what about these?



09-02-2013, 10:41 AM   #13
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I was told about this by a local studio photographer, and since then I have been eying on it. However, those ebay sellers are one step ahead, so haven't see anything at lower price in quite some time.

Btw, this ebay item has some detailed pictures Cyclop H3T 1 Analog Helios 40 2 Biotar 75 85mm F1 5 85 1 5 Lens M42 | eBay
09-02-2013, 12:09 PM   #14
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$377.00 is too much currently for me
09-02-2013, 09:13 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by romansolar Quote
$377.00 is too much currently for me
And Samyang does provide much more at lower price.
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