Zenit Helios 44m Series 58mm f2 Lens User Review

Dear readers, hello; In this article, the Zenit Helios 44m 58mm f2 series (44, 44-2, 44-3, 44m, 44m-2, 44m-3, 44m-4, 44m-5, 44m-6), which are the most famous of the Soviet Russian lenses and are widely available in the market. , 44m-7). We will talk about the features of Helios 44m series lenses.

Helios 44m 58mm f2 Lens Features

Lens Name Zenit Helios 44M-5 58mm f / 2 MC
Max- min aperture f2 – f16
Building materials Metal
Weight Weight 270 g
Length 42 mm
Optical Element 6 elements in 4 groups
Minimum focus distance 45 cm
Number of diaphragm leaves 6
Anti-shake No
Filter diameter 52 mm
Made in Soviet Russia
array of optical elements

Zenit Helios 44m 58mm f2 Versions and Physical Properties

Helios 44m-5 58mm f2

Helios 58mm is a metal lens with a weight of 240 g and a length of 4 cm. With the M42 screw-in slot, it can be easily used with adapters in old analog cameras, DSLR cameras and mirrorless today. Full frame and crop are compatible with all kinds of machines. Although the series I have is Helios 44m-5, these lenses have 7 or 8 (or… more than I can count) different types. Although the genetic structure of each is very similar, there are minor differences. In general, as the last number grows, a little more increase is observed in the quality.

Since I have different copies at different times, I cannot compare each one with the other. The lens that made me write this article is the Zenit Helios 44m-5 MC version. The information I will write above and below belongs to this version. But optically very rare differences can be observed. In the first ones, while there was no coating, then in those produced, first coating coating and then multiple Multi Coating coating (MC) were used. Those who use MC are more resistant to light glare. Apart from that, I could not observe an optical difference. They’re just physically less bulky or lighter. And the diaphragm leaf numbers differ.

Name Confusion of Russian Lenses

In the picture above you will see comparisons of the popular Zenit Helios 44m 58mm f2 lenses. Please note that the ratings made in this photo, where I use the Pentaxform site, are made by different users.

There are so many of these lenses on the market that it is not possible to mix them anyway. Also, the Russian model perceptions are already mixed. Although it is the 44m model name, those who first see these lenses can think of focal length. No, our lens has a focal length of 58mm, not 44mm. And the clearest diaphragm is f2. It takes the f16 value when it is off. An ideal focal length for a 58mm portrait. When Crop machines are installed, it corresponds to around 90mm, so there is no doubt that it is in the ideal value range for the portrait.

F 2 makes our lens fast enough. I can say that it is sufficient in terms of both light and bokeh quality. Wouldn’t it be better if it was F1.4? Yes, of course it would be better, but we would never find these prices. Speaking of price; I think the price is very good according to the quality. While it can be found on average around 50 dollars at market. I think the most important reason for the low price is that Zenit brand film machines are kit lenses. The Russians sold cheese machines like bread. You will understand if you browse through the ads. Therefore, we can say that it is affordable because there are many markets.

Sharpness and Bokeh Quality of Zenit Helios 58mm f2 Series Lenses

If this lens is used especially in full-frame bodies, it can produce Russian-specific swirl bokeh. This bokehe is also called swerly or circular bokeh. Although the intensity of the vortex bokeh is low, it is understood when examined carefully. Even though it is not as conspicuous as the 77m-4 series, it is ok. Frankly adds a different atmosphere to the portraits.

example whit 58mm f2, sony a7m2, iso100, 1/125sec

Center sharpness is very good even at f2. The edges remain pretty soft in f2. But the edge sharpness around f5.6 is also noticeably improved. It would not be wrong to say that the characteristic feature of Russian lesns is already. The vast majority of them are very sharp, even at the widest aperture. He beats many far eastern firms in this regard.

Color reproduction is also successful. Neither hot nor cold. Contrast is enough. It does not produce inanimate portraits. Even though F2 remains somewhat lifeless and without contract, it is super starting from f4. The shots are of good quality. If the corner sharpness was as at the center, it could be a copy of Carl Zeiss. Already this lens was produced by the Russians to be a copy of CZ Biotar. Since I am not using Biotar for now, I can not compare with it, but I can compare it with today’s Carl Zeiss. Unfortunately, Carl Zeiss does not deserve to be in this state. But that doesn’t mean the lens is bad.

Other Features of Zenit Helios 44m-5 58mm f2 Lenses

Vignette creates a certain amount in full frame. Especially in the open diaphragm, it has a small waist. I used the Sony a7ii and Canon 550D with the adapter. It is much more difficult to observe vignette on Crop machines. Vignettes in full frame are at the bottom level like f8. I should also state that on vignetting; I think it adds a different aesthetic atmosphere to the photograph as I think the center will focus on portraits. The same effect is also with the edge softness. Since we need the center of the photo, vignette and edge softness can be considered as an advantage, not a disadvantage.

Color deviations can be observed more or less on the large aperture. But it will never stand out. Nearly zero on a slightly dimmer diaphragm. The MC coating plays a big role in the CA control of this lens.

Negative Aspects of Zenit Helios 44m 58mm f2 Series Lenses

The lens is a manual lens. M42 compatible. M42 lenses have a pin on the bayonet. By pressing this pin, the diaphragm may close. Some simple adapters do not have a mechanism to actuate the pin, and if the lens does not have automatic (A) mode, the aperture cannot be used. This lens doesn’t have A mode either. Mode A is simply a quotation. And makes the diaphragm to operate regardless of this pin. So if you bring it to f5.6, it will be f5.6 in A mode. It does not matter whether the back pin is pressed or not. If you are going to use this lens in today’s mirrorless or mirrorless machines, be careful with your adapter. The second negative thing we can say is that the sharpening ring turns hard. I had a lot of different Russian lenses at different times and they were all harder than they should be. If you need to take a hasty shot, you may miss a possibility pose. I don’t know if there is a solution to this problem.

Zenit Helios 44m 2 58mm f2 Lens Examples

f2.8, sony a7m2
f4, sony a7m2
f5.6 sony a7m2
f8sony a7m2
f11 , sony a7m2

Recently 44-2 preset double-lock diaphragm models have been received. I took a few shots about him. I share with you to set an example. Although I do not like using preset diaphragm as a use in photography, I did not want to miss the opportunity and I updated my article. There is no numerical interference to the photos. Only the resolution has been reduced. Click on it to see the bigger version. In the open aperture (in the first photo) swerly (vortex) bokeh is noticeable when it is difficult.

As a result:

Zenit Helios 44m 58mm f2 is for you if you are a person who can use manual lenses or even like manual use and are looking for an affordable quality portrait lens. It is a beautiful lens that you can get both compactness, quality and price. I advise.

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