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Helios 44, 13 blade 58mm f2

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2 35,285 Tue July 21, 2020
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100% of reviewers $5.00 8.50
Helios 44, 13 blade 58mm f2

Helios 44, 13 blade 58mm f2
Helios 44, 13 blade 58mm f2
Helios 44, 13 blade 58mm f2
Helios 44, 13 blade 58mm f2
Helios 44, 13 blade 58mm f2
Helios 44, 13 blade 58mm f2

The Helios 44 range is well known to be Russian made clones of the Zeiss Biotar. This is an early model Helios 44, with distinctive 13 blade iris. According to Camerapedia it is not quite the original first manufactured at KMZ Kraznogorsk Mechanical Plant (manufacturer of Zenith cameras) in 1957, that was Helios bayonet mount and 40.5mm filter thread rather than my M39, 49mm filter example.

No-x on mflenses has put together a list of helios variants. According to his thread the 13 blade ones are all KMZ with serial numbers up to 02xxxxx. (serial numbers where the first two digits indicate the date came later and on other lenses, not the 44's). The earliest ones have a cyrillic letter on the nameplate and "5.8cm" rather than "58mm".

The 44 soon acquired the black finish, 8 blade iris and looks of the most common Helios the 44-2. Most 44's are M42 mount, as mentioned early ones are M39 screw fitting (but same registration distance as M42, a cheap M39 to M42 adapter is all that is required), and later some were made in PK mount - the 44-K-4's see listings.

Also according to Camerapedia, the Helios nomenclature is: Helios-44X-N, where X -is the index of lens mount (M for m42 thread, K for Pentax K bayonet, Д for Zenit-D bayonet) and N is a optical resolution index 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (the higher number the higher is an optical resolution of lens).

Focal Length: 58mm
Optical Formula: 6 elements in 4 groups.
Aperture Range: f/2 - f/16.
Minimum Focusing Distance: 0.5 m
Number of Aperture Blades: 13
Filter Diameter: 49mm
Weight: 230g

My example is a bit too worn and scratched to provide a review. I cadged some more pristine pics online. One shows an MMZ Minsk mechanical factory made example (see
logos here), however this is an 8 blade variant from rather later -1960's. Pic 5 shows my Helios 44 fitted with a 40mm taper washer (see link below) to prevent any light leaks around the mount - the narrow base does not cover the gap between a M42-PK adapter and the K mount.

I have posted a relubing guide here.

Tips on using Helios 44 with pentax M42 adapter (loose fit, light leakage around mount edge) see this thread.
Mount Type: M42 Screwmount
Price History:

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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-2 of 2

Registered: March, 2015
Location: Warsaw
Posts: 576
Lens Review Date: July 21, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $5.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: warm color rendition, very sharp wide open, great joy to use
Cons: most of them would need full CLA and adjustment to be used with m42 adapter & focus on infinity
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: K-1II   

To be honest, this review is very subjective because I tend to like almost every lens based on classic Zeiss Biotar design.
Some time ago I've got a from a friend a M39 Helios 44 58/2 lens, 13 blades, with almost mint, non scratched, no fungus, no separation etc. optics, but totally covered with oil from inside and aperture was stuck solid. Also, when opened I discovered that all of lens rims had to be repainted because blackening was torn to pieces due to its age. All mechanics got wobbly or stuck to non functional state because soviet era grease separated into thick goo and runny oils. I've given the lens full CLA(full disassembly, ultrasonic wash of chassis& inner mechanics, aperture etc. cleaning optical elements combined with new black layers on edges of every element, re-lube, re-assembly, adjustment). Now it works better than new Test pics from it as come from K-1II, RAW exported to JPG without any post process adjustment. I will to update this post with more "reference" pictures later.
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2012
Posts: 191

7 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 28, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: character, small, bokeh, swirly
Cons: slight color cast due to coating/lack of coating?
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 6    Bokeh: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 8    Camera Used: k5   

I see no one has entered a review here... so I can add some personal experiences with this helios model. I mostly use the lens with an extension tube because I'm a fan of macro work and I like to use the distinct bokeh the lens produces. It's quite sharp from wide open (please consider I mostly use m42 older lenses) and the 13 blades give possibility to stop down for more sharpness without losing the roundness of the bokeh circles. Under harsh lighting it can be a bit tricky but I haven't had a m42 or m39 lens yet that doesn't..

I am not good with words, so how about some pictures? I might update this review after some more time.

oranjetipje - Anthocharis cardamines by margreetz, on Flickr

mos - single in march 6th by margreetz, on Flickr

without extension tube (a stitch for panorama)
mistig - foggy forest by margreetz, on Flickr

spider web quicksilver - single in march - 5th by margreetz, on Flickr

without extension tube
bluebells and anemones by margreetz, on Flickr
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