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12-16-2009, 02:34 AM   #1
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Super Takumar 55 F2 vs Helios 44M-4 58mm F2

Hi

I recently bought K20D with DA 18-55 AL II kit lens
I am a newbie in photography

I have an old Super Takumar 55 F2 from my father's old camera (s1a)
which is at least 30 years old
I came across an opportunity to buy a completely new Helios 44M-4 58mm F2
(the seller says it has never been used and that it's still in its original box)
he sells it for 53$, no shipment required since we live nearby

I still haven't tried my Super Takumar since I am waiting for the M42 adapter to arrive, so I don't know the condition of the lens

my questions are:
how do these two lenses (Helios 58 F2,Takumar 55 F2) compare in general (IQ, DOF, Bokeh, etc) ?
how do they compare to Pentax SMC FA 50mm F1.4 ? (a lens which I also consider buying since it has AF)
should I get the Helios ?

12-16-2009, 02:53 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum!
  • The price on the Helios seems a little high by U.S. standards. The 44M-4 usually goes for under $30 USD.
  • The Super Tak offers the convenience of the M/F switch. The Helios will require modification to convert the aperture to fully manual operation.
  • Both lenses are decent performers as is the FA 50/1.4
Since you are a newbie, I would suggest that you shoot with the Tak 55/2 until you get the hang of manual lenses. If the experience is agreeable, you might want to try a Helios or any other fast 50 at some point, though I would not expect miracles! If you are willing to spend as much as $50, I would get a Pentax-A 50/2, Pentax-M 50/1.7, or Pentax-K 55/1.8. The convenience factor of the K-mount and automatic aperture is worth it.

Steve

(Love my Helios 44M, but realize it's limitations...)
12-16-2009, 03:30 PM   #3
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I like to use Flickr as a "meta" search engine for these kinds of questions. I encourage everyone to properly tag their photos to make your photos searchable in this way:
Takumar 55mm f2 - Flickr: Search
vs
Helios 58mm f2 - Flickr: Search

There are also groups that can help you in looking at images, such as:
Flickr: Helios 44
Flickr: Takumar!
and
Flickr: Pentax DSLR & Takumar lenses

Pbase is another good image repository where you can find individual lenses.
Enter this into the Google search field:
Code:
Takumar 55mm site:pbase.com
or
Code:
Helios 44M-4 58mm site:pbase.com
To see some links to image galleries using those particular lenses.

Hope this is of some help.

PS... the S1a was made from 1962-71, so your lens is at least 38 years old. How cool is that to put on a DSLR?
12-16-2009, 05:09 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by amir.shani Quote
Hi

I recently bought K20D with DA 18-55 AL II kit lens
I am a newbie in photography

I have an old Super Takumar 55 F2 from my father's old camera (s1a)
which is at least 30 years old
I came across an opportunity to buy a completely new Helios 44M-4 58mm F2
(the seller says it has never been used and that it's still in its original box)
he sells it for 53$, no shipment required since we live nearby

I still haven't tried my Super Takumar since I am waiting for the M42 adapter to arrive, so I don't know the condition of the lens

my questions are:
how do these two lenses (Helios 58 F2,Takumar 55 F2) compare in general (IQ, DOF, Bokeh, etc) ?
how do they compare to Pentax SMC FA 50mm F1.4 ? (a lens which I also consider buying since it has AF)
should I get the Helios ?
.

Amir, once you get your adapter, go out and shoot with that Super Tak 55 f/2 - it's
a real gem. The Helios also is a wonderful lens to own.

Here are some shots from my ST 55 f/2 --> Link.


.



12-16-2009, 05:19 PM   #5
Igilligan
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I cant believe I am saying this... wait

I agree with my fellow fellows here... Get your adaptor and shoot a ton with the tak 55 f2... If you love manual lenses, then you can always get a helios later (for less I would bet)
\
I am the biggest fan ever of the helios, but I have the 55 F2 and 1.8 variants of the Taks and they are good lenses that you can get great photos and learn a lot with...
12-16-2009, 06:35 PM   #6
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I will take your advice and stay with the TAK, I think that the only reason I was tempted was because the guy that's selling it says it's shiny new

BTW what kind of modification needs to be done in order to shoot with the Helios on K20D?
Isn't it enough to to connect it to the M42 adapter and shoot at Av mode with manual focus ?

Thanks for the help
12-16-2009, 07:54 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by amir.shani Quote
I will take your advice and stay with the TAK, I think that the only reason I was tempted was because the guy that's selling it says it's shiny new

BTW what kind of modification needs to be done in order to shoot with the Helios on K20D?
Isn't it enough to to connect it to the M42 adapter and shoot at Av mode with manual focus ?

Thanks for the help
The Helios and all auto-aperture M42 lenses (your Tak 55/2 included) have an aperture that stays wide open until the time of exposure. This is accomplished by a small pin that protrudes from the back of the lens mount that stops the lens down when it is depressed. Almost all of these lenses have a slide-switch (the manual/auto switch) on the barrel of the lens to defeat this feature and put the lens in manual aperture mode. Unfortunately, many Russian lenses lack this feature with the result that the lens is always open when used on a K-mount camera with an adapter.

The fix involves removing the mount from the lens and inserting a shim around the small pin such that it is always depressed. This modification is easily reversed and does not damage the lens.

Steve
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