Helios 58mm f/2 44-2. If you’re looking to purchase this lens Adorama might have one and definitely Ebay will have a few. It helps me if you purchase it through one of these links here in this review. When you purchase through these links it financially enables me to devote time to develop this site further. Thanks for the help! -Todd
7.8 oz (221g)
1.7 feet (0.51 meters).
8 blades stopping down to f/16.
M42 Metal Mount.
f/2: Soft with very low contrast and quite a bit of chromatic aberration. Has coma and is very soft on the sides.
f/2.8: Sharpens up quite a bit with decent contrast and very little chromatic aberration but still very soft on the sides.
f/3.5: Pretty sharp with good contrast and very little chromatic aberration and good color but sharper on the sides.
f/4: Very sharp with great contrast.
f/8: Very sharp with great contrast and color and no signs of diffusion.
A average amount of vignette which is pretty much gone by f/4 and gone by f/5.6.
The blur is not very good and a bit distracting.
Flare and Ghosting
Pretty evident flare and ghosting but the ghosting purple blobs are due to the multi-coating.
A small amount of Barrel Distortion.
On AF Camera
Optics: ★ ★ ★
Mechanics: ★ ★ ★ ★
Ergonomics: ★ ★ ★
Usefulness: ★ ★ ★
Availability: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Overall: ★ ★ ★ ★
On MF Camera
Ergonomics: ★ ★ ★
Overall: ★ ★ ★ ★
Out of 5
I reviewed two of these lenses together to compare each having a little different construction, optics, and serial numbers. To see the other one look Here. The Helios 58mm f/2 44-2 is an unusually overlooked lens simply because it is not a known name and looks like an old tank. However this lens is surprisingly good and also has a few extra purposes due to its design. For still photography the lens comes with the 44-2 mount which is the common M42 mount. Today you can get a M42 Adapter from ebay which allows you to use this lens on many DSLR bodies in full manual. Although this lens works fine for still photography, this lens is becoming increasingly popular with videography. Two main reasons are that the aperture ring is at the front of the lens and can be adjusted with your finger tips at the front. Also the lens can be locked into F/16 and has another ring just below which you can open and close the aperture smoothly with a single finger without all the f/ stop clicks. However the most common and most important reason the lens is popular is because of the mount construction. The M42 mount sticks out with the rear element funneled down, which enables you to stick the lens into your mirror box. Why would you want to do this? Videographers have recently been using this lens in what is called Free Lensing or Lens Whacking. How it works is you hold the lens into the mirror box without any mounts. You can then tilt the lens to create a tilt and shift effect with light leek coming in from all sides creating some really unique images with lots of lens blur around the subject.
The lens is built very well with a really long focus through and heavy mechanical build. Optically the lens is sharp at all stops however wide open there is heavy amounts of flare and very low contrast. Just stopping the lens down a tiny bit to f/2.2 or 2.5 really helps and by f/2.8 it is really sharp with great contrast. At 58mm f/2 you get a decent amount of shallow depth of field, however the bokeh is a bit distracting. The lens has a ton of flare and ghosting which is “technically” bad however for Free Lensing this adds an artistic analog feel. This is where artistic kicks technical’s butt out the door.
For normal photography the lens is a really good deal and is easily found under $50. They are fine and produce some really sharp images at a nice 58mm focal length which I really like but being only a f/2 I don’t get too excited.
Although if you want to give Lens Whacking a try then yes just go right out and get one. For the price they are an incredibly unique lens and fit into the mirror box perfectly with lots of movement.
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My hopes are to take the time to continue developing this website with more test photo based reviews. If you are ever interested in purchasing this lens or other photography equipment please do so through these links here in this review. Adorama might have this lens and Ebay definitely will. This helps support my family and allows me to take more time for the site. The best part is this site is free for you and I link good deals I find!
Sometimes these links will actually give you better deals then typical retail prices! I personally buy from the links I have listed whether looking for new gear or fun old stuff. I can personally attest to their good & safe service from years of experience. Thanks again to you, our readers, for supporting us! -Todd