Dylan John Dickerson
The AMAZING Helios 44-2 Vintage Russian Lens Review + Test footage
I picked up the Helios 44-2 a while back because I had seen some shots on Facebook with the lens that left me wanting more. After doing some research, I found that these lenses were mass produced in Russia to be similar to an old Zeiss lens. While they obviously didn’t come close to the same quality, what they did create was a lens that's defect creates nice swirly buttery bokeh. (see video example above)
I picked up the lens from Ebay for around $60 along with a M42 to M/43 adaptor. I also grabbed an ND filter for it for daytime footage when I shoot wide open (which is most of the time with this lens). As far as photos, it takes some nice ones. They aren’t super sharp and the focus is sometimes hard to grab, but that’s what makes the lens unique.
Some things I like about it, besides the footage and photos it takes, it’s made of a metal material which makes it feel old and rugged. I also like how it says Made in USSR on the lens. Kind of a cool little feature.
Keep in mind this lens is manual focus and manual aperture, so if you’re wanting to go from wide open f2, to closed f 16, you’ll need to change pull the ring on the lens. Once again, kind of an uncommon feature compared to some of my other lenses.
All in all, I'd recommend this lens for both videography and photography. It's a cheap vintage lens that has a ton of character.