Helios 44M photos and video ML (Magic Lantern + Canon 5D mark II)
First, I have got a collection of legendary (really) Helios lenses. This is a review of one of this – Helios 44M. All lenses of the line are light (270 grams), fast and very popular. So, Helios lenses were produced in very large quantities. And they were standard lenses for Zenit camera.
The Helios 44M lens is a legendary vintage manual Soviet lens that has become incredibly popular among photographers and video makers worldwide. In this review, we will take a closer look at the Helios 44M lens, its history, technical specifications, and unique features.
This is a manual vintage soviet lens. It is very good for video makers and photographers as it provides amazing and rare pictures. It was first introduced in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. A standard 58mm lens with a maximum aperture of F/2.
One of the most interesting things about the lens is its history. The lens was based on the Carl Zeiss Biotar 58mm f/2 (42M mount). The Soviet Union obtained the rights to produce the Biotar lens in the 1940s, and the lens was one of the resulting lenses.
Helios provides pleasant and beautiful colour rendering, softness and microcontrasts, and adorable swirly bokeh. Yes, it is the old lens and it gives vintage look. It is good choice for photographers and video makers. It is hard to destroy as well as it is made of metal, and it has a smooth focus ring.
Let’s take a closer look at the technical specs
Frame Size: 24×36 mm
Focal Length: 58.6 mm
Maximum Aperture: F/2.0
Angle of View: 40°28′
Compared to one of my other favorite retro lenses, the Industar 50-2 (F/3.5), the Helios has a much faster aperture (F/2.0) and more impressive bokeh. However, the 44M has a “genetic” characteristic – the edges of the frame are often blurred. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it can create a creative effect. It’s these subtle nuances when you make the choice between two similar lenses. It ultimately depends on the situation and the desired outcome.
Furthermore, it’s worth noting that some photographers believe that all Helios lenses struggle with side and corner lighting. Or they are not particularly contrasty, and don’t handle flare well. While this may have been considered a technical flaw back in the 1970s, in the 21st century, it’s actually considered a desirable feature that adds to the unique.
Helios 44M and modern cameras
For all who want to use the lens on modern cameras, there are adapters available for mirrorless systems. You can use two adapters – first, M42 to EF, and then, EF to your specific camera system.
In conclusion, I should say that the Helios 44M is not just an old “Soviet” lens. It’s a lens that’s in high demand by photographers all around the world. Even some of Hollywood’s top directors continue to work with Helios lenses. Batman movie in 2022 was partially shot with a Helios 44-2. So, if you are going to add a unique and distinctive touch to your photography, the Helios 44M is a must-have lens. And, the best part is, you can still buy it at a reasonable price.