Helios 44m-6: What’s so special about this lens? In recent years, many photographers obsessed by the theme of Helios. Which is not surprising at all, because the lenses of this series are successfully used both in photography and in video. Even top directors of photography are very enthusiastic about using Helios. And this is not just some “fashion thing”. After all, these lenses really have a lot of advantages. Let’s try to figure out why in 2023 you need to take your grandfather’s Zenith out of the garage and take the legendary Helios from it! By the way, I also have a review of the Helios 44m, but I should probably start with the most banal one, with the technical characteristics of the hero of the article – Helios 44m-6.

Frame Size: 24×36 mm
Focal Length: 58.6 mm
Maximum Aperture: F/2.0

In general, all Helios are similar to each other, and the latest modifications 6 and 7 are the sharpest. Although, again, nowadays it is worth looking at the condition of a particular lens. It’s no secret that in the 1990s, under the circumstances, the quality of lens was wasn’t always good.

HELIOS 44M-6 Review

Why do I need the Helios 44m-6 at all?

The answer to this question is simple. I like it! And if you point by point:

  1. It makes beautiful swirly bokeh
  2. It is lightweight and practical
  3. It’s very cheap (objectively)
  4. It’s good, really good and versatile
  5. The photos will be different from what is taken with modern optics
  6. Manual (yes, for those who make video, it’s +)

How and Where to Use: Photo and Video

I like to take the Helios 44m-6 on shoots, especially if I plan portraits. This applies both to shooting in nature and in the city. But I also really like to take it with me to the studio.

Does manual lens bother me? No, I’m just used to it. There are small tricks that make life in “manual mode” easier. In addition, such a lens disciplines. You won’t be able to wait for the right moment, but you have to think.

In general, with natural light, in nature, when shooting portraits, you can tear yourself away and make a swirly bokeh in the photo (that’s why people usually buy Helios). And you can also shoot a video and get a swirly bokeh too!

Bonus: the lens has very nice color reproduction and generally works great due to its low weight, it is fast and has comfortable manual focus ring. And how cute he is! It’s a solid metal beauty, not some plastic toy.

And what’s unique about the way Helios works? Among other things, it gives a gorgeous effect of filters à la Black Magic, which is used by, dare I say it, Hollywood. In addition, Helios reproduces light very beautifully, creating gorgeous highlights and transitions. Here are more examples of photos with flare.

Helios 44m-6 on modern cameras

Helios 44m-6 on modern cameras

I easily connect Helios and Industar with an M42 adapter to Canon slr. If you have a different camera, then buy an M42 adapter designed for your system. On mirrorless systems, you can use two adapters, first from M42 to EF, and from EF to your system.

Are Helios radioactive?

By the way, no, you don’t have to worry about it at all. Helios 44m-6 is not radioactive at all. Radioactivity is the sin of Japanese Takumar, and in general Japanese lenses before 1970.


First of all, the Helios is a good vintage lens that will delight you both outdoors and in the studio. With it, you’ll get swirly bokeh, the effect of applying filters like Black Magic, a cinematic picture, and stunning highlights and transitions of light.

Of course, the Helios 44m-6 is great, affordable and has all the listed advantages of this the lens.

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