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02-11-2015, 03:41 PM   #1
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Pentax 35mm Film SLRs & Helios 44K-4

Hello people! I was wondering if anyone of you stumbled upon the same problem as me:

Everybody knows the legendary Helios 44 lens series and they are quite popular among digital shooters. As I am a happy pentaxian, I got myself the K-mount version of that lens, the Helios 44K-4 (which is essentially a Helios 44M-4 but with a K-mount). It works as any other Pentax M-series lens on Pentax DSLRs, so you get the benefit of only having to stop down when metering with the green button. Looking at the reviews of that lens on this site and researching about it online, it seems that nobody talks about using it on an analog body and this is where my problem starts.

My copy came with a "Zenit Auto" which is an ok camera, but it's pretty basic (Av-mode only, rather crude and blocky, featuring a really trigger happy shutter button, feeds on batteries that I wouldn't want to have to buy every now and then,meter range ends at ISO 1600.. A lot of reasons to try that lens on another camera body). If I put the 44K on any of my Pentax film bodies, though, (plenty to chose and I tried them all with the same result: MX (2 different ones even), ME super, K2DMD, MZ-5) the 44K's aperture lever doesn't catch the follower inside the camera mount which should tell the meter what f-stop I dialed in on the lens, so metering becomes impossible. I don't have that problem with any of my Pentax M-lenses (28mm, 40mm, 50 mm f1,4 and 2 different f1,7s are in constant use on the bodies in question, also there's an odd Tamron AdaptAll zoom which also works) on any of the bodies and they work on that Zenit Auto, too.

Does anyone of you have the same problem or any idea how to fix it? I compared the lenses and mounts to each other and it just doesn't make any sense because I can't see enough of a difference to explain that behavior. Another problem is that the 44K also jams on the Pentax bodies. When taking the lens off, you can twist it a little bit, but then it jams and takes a little too much force to completely remove it than I feel comfortable with. It's also a little sticky on the Zenit body, but not as bad.. I was thinking of the infamous "Ricoh pin" that's mentioned here and there, but I think that's another story, or are Ricoh lenses known for not wanting to couple with Pentax SLR-bodies to meter?

Anyone here who wants to share his or her feelings?

02-11-2015, 04:16 PM   #2
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That's weird: I use the Helios 44m-4K with my K1000 and K2 and I don't remember any compatibility problem.
02-11-2015, 04:25 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arvid Quote
Anyone here who wants to share his or her feelings?
It should be a fully compatible K-mount. I use my ZMZ Zenitar 16/2.8 on my K-mount film cameras and the coupling is accurate and works well.

That being said...my current Zenitar 16/2.8 is not the first one they shipped. That lens had a defective coupler that jammed into the mechanism of one of my film bodies and effectively ruined the camera on first mount. I would exercise caution until you determine the cause of the problem. Your lens should couple without drama and work per spec.


Steve
02-11-2015, 04:33 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
It should be a fully compatible K-mount.
I expected nothing less, but experienced something else, hence my posting here. You don't own a 44K to be 100% sure, though, or did I get that wrong?
In any case, thank you both for the quick input. At least we now can assume that the 44K isn't faulty per se, but that there must be something wrong with my copy. The jamming on the Zenit body is a good sign for that alone, I guess. Looks like I'll have to check everything out more carefully a second time. Really makes me wonder what could have gone wrong there and if I will be able to DIY fix it.

I didn't buy the camera or lens new, by the way, but if I understand it correctly, you can buy brand new lenses from Russia. Not many people seem to be aware of that and this lens is fun on a digital body, no question!

02-11-2015, 04:41 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arvid Quote
You don't own a 44K to be 100% sure, though, or did I get that wrong?
No, I don't, though Cuthbert (above) does and his works fine. I think your copy is not quite right. KMZ made a number of lenses in K-mount and compatibility has never come up as an issue on the sites I frequent. Good luck on fixing it


Steve
02-11-2015, 04:45 PM   #6
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I had a Sigma lens that was doing something like that and I just bent the lever sideways slightly and it worked fine.
I would exercise caution though.
02-11-2015, 04:59 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I think your copy is not quite right. KMZ made a number of lenses in K-mount and compatibility has never come up as an issue on the sites I frequent.
That's good to know, thanks!


QuoteOriginally posted by Swift1 Quote
I had a Sigma lens that was doing something like that and I just bent the lever sideways slightly and it worked fine.
I would exercise caution though.
I will look into that (with caution of course - I will be sure to look twice before even touching anything). I guess you mean sideways as in inwards/outwards from the lens center?
02-11-2015, 05:14 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
No, I don't, though Cuthbert (above) does and his works fine. I think your copy is not quite right. KMZ made a number of lenses in K-mount and compatibility has never come up as an issue on the sites I frequent. Good luck on fixing it


Steve
Another lens I have is the Volna 50 mm f1.8 developed for the Almaz series, also in K mount, and it also works on K bodies. Probably the fin of that specimen is slightly damaged or something like that.

02-11-2015, 10:58 PM   #9
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I have two Helios 44-K4 lenses (One MC and the other not) and a Helios 77K. I don't have the same film cameras that you have, but I just tried all three of them on my K1000, LX, PZ-1, PZ-1P, MZ-S and Ricoh XR7 film bodies and they all worked just fine. My guess is there is probably something wrong with the mount or aperture on your lens. In my experience with some of these Russian lenses it could be something as simple as it was manufactured on Monday morning. :-)
02-12-2015, 02:25 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Odinz Quote
I have two Helios 44-K4 lenses [...] and they all worked just fine. [...] In my experience with some of these Russian lenses it could be something as simple as it was manufactured on Monday morning. :-)
That should be the last nail on this case's coffin. I will try to fix it the soviet way, with a hammer or some other improvised tools.

Thank you all for helping me out on this one!
02-18-2015, 10:30 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arvid Quote
I will try to fix it the soviet way, with a hammer or some other improvised tools.
Get a large hammer or a truncheon of some sort.


Steve
02-20-2015, 06:25 PM   #12
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I own the Helios 44K-4 (S/N 9500779), and no problems whatsoever with K200D, Super A, and MX.

The coupling on your lens may be out of tolerance.

Last edited by RKKS08; 02-20-2015 at 06:31 PM.
02-21-2015, 05:13 AM - 1 Like   #13
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I used the Zenit that came with the lens for a little bit of experimenting (as in bending the aperture coupling-thing in the lens mount a little inwards. Don't really mind the risk of breaking it, as I said I don't like it too much). Now the lens doesn't get stuck on that body anymore. I realized that the coupling on that body also doesn't work right.
Part A of the lens is supposed to catch part B on that body. I don't know what to call these pieces.. On my Pentax bodies I can feel part B engaging sometimes, but when I turn the aperture ring, I can literally hear it slip through, because it doesn't catch on right. Do you know if it is somehow possible to extrude part B from that lens somehow? I even thought of gluing some little piece on there somehow, but that seems to be rather impossible... Do you have any ideas?

Edit: Excuse the strange image quality. I used a cheap wide angle adapter to get close quickly and used MS Paint for editing . This was just to better show you which parts I am talking about, hope it gets the point across
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