Cheap and good lens – Helios 44m-4 (review)


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Helios 44m-4 is a lens that should be in the bag of every person for whom photography is something more than just making a sweet photo with a spout in the mirror. Despite the fact that the construction is several dozen years old, it still gets good opinions and the price is ridiculously low.

The Helios 44m-4 is a fixed-angle lens with an M42 mount. It was produced by Zenit. It has 58mm, which in terms of 35mm SLR (APS-C) is the real equivalent of 92mm. The Helios 44m-4 is a fairly common lens. Previously, it was sold together with Zenit cameras. You can find on it signs in English and Russian Cyrillic.

Sample Helios 44m-4 F2,0
Sample Helios 44m-4 / F2,0, iso 100
The lens has great bokeh
fot. Jakub Markiewicz

Nie będę Was zanudzał specyfikacją techniczną, bo od tego są portale, na których piszą specjaliści w tej dziedzinie. Chciałbym się podzielić z Wami swoimi obserwacjami, jako użytkownika tego sprzętu. 

I will not bore you with the technical specification, because that’s what the portals on which specialists in this field write. I would like to share with you my observations as a user of this equipment.

Helios 44m-4 has a lot of advantages, which is why it is so popular. It is his biggest deluge that should be low price. A lens in great condition can be bought for less than a hundred zlotys. I bought my specific copy for … 6 euro. The lens is fully metal and almost armored. It looks very solid and inspires confidence. It is bright. The maximum aperture can be opened to the value of F / 2.0 and it can be opened manually! There is a special knob on the lens which is used to set the aperture. This is ideal for quick set-ups, macro shooting via extension rings etc.

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The Helios 44m was my first m42 lens. A friend lent me a slightly older model (44m-2) to play with. It was lying on the shelf for a long time before I decided to attach it in place of the kit 18-135. When I screwed on the adapter (you can buy it for around 15 euro, mine cost so much and has a dandelion with focus confirmation), I played with it for a long time. It has great bokeh (background blur) and perfectly renders colors and contrast. The lens is over 15 years old, yet it can embarrass many modern kit designs. Thanks to the adapter, Helios 44m can be attached to any camera with interchangeable lenses, regardless of the manufacturer.

Helios 44m-4
Helios 44m-4. Its design is armored. It is metal.
fot. Jakub Markiewicz

It is really worth thinking about the m42 lenses, and at the beginning the Helios 44m will be a good choice. Thanks to this, you will be able to move back into the past for pennies. I really like how this glass paints pictures.

Jakub Markiewicz
Jakub Markiewicz
Hi, I am the author of the blog and series of thematic portals since 2013. I have nearly 15 years of experience in working in the media, marketing, public relations and IT. If you are interested in cooperation, you would like me to write about something or test a product - let me know.
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