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Helios 40-2 85mm/1.5
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:47 pm    Post subject: Helios 40-2 85mm/1.5 Reply with quote

Does anybody have experience with putting a Helios 40-2 lens on a DSLR, what sort of image quality can one expect at 7-10 metres at full aperture?
I am thinking of getting one for low light magazine stuff but have heard that it is not very good beyond 1-2 metres.

esmodus


PostPosted: Thu Feb 28, 2008 11:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice to see you here!
I had two copies from Helios-40-2 85mm f1.5 in past I sold both of them and kept Helios-40 85mm f1.5 both version are excellent. Helios-40-2 has some practical benefits , optical quality is same. I used in portrait an close up actions I never used longer distance than a few meters. Orio still have it , I guess he will able to help you to show some samples in required distance.


PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:33 am    Post subject: Re: Helios 40-2 85mm/1.5 Reply with quote

esmodus wrote:
Does anybody have experience with putting a Helios 40-2 lens on a DSLR, what sort of image quality can one expect at 7-10 metres at full aperture?
I am thinking of getting one for low light magazine stuff but have heard that it is not very good beyond 1-2 metres.


Welcome to the forum.

The Helios-40 lens has a problem with field flatness when used wide open, which means that if you shoot a subject which is perfectly plane -- like a brick wall, a newspaper page, or this kind of fascinating subjects that pixelpeepers seem to fancy a lot -- and you focus precisely on the center of the frame, the borders of the image will be out of focus. That's not a big problem for portrait work or other usual subjects in low light photography, as long as your subject in centered in the frame.

Don't believe all the crap on the Internet. The Helios 40 was NEVER intended to be an oscilloscope lens -- it's a Zeiss Biotar copy designed for low light general photography. It's certainly not tack sharp wide open (especially around the edges of the frame), but that's part of the character of this lens. The sharpness is the same whatever the distance from the subject. Sharpness and field flatness improve gradually when the lens is stopped down and the Helios becomes really sharp at f/5.6.

For me, the main issue with this lens is the weight. It it weren't so heavy, I would carry it with me all the time.

Here's a famous thread on a Russian forum about this lens and some other ultra fast Russian glass. Beware, it's full of gorgeous pictures and the last time I checked there were 190 pages and 3799 posts:

http://club.foto.ru/forum/11/261862

Cheers!

Abbazz


PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The distance you mention is the typical portrait distance and it's the best working distance for the lens.

Wide open the Helios-40-2 is dreamy, very flaring and with a painterly bokeh. The in-focus area is sharp, but it's so shallow that this is barely of any importance.

I don't have wide open samples because I never use the lens that way - although most people who buy it does. I prefer to use it at or around f/8 which is where in my opinion it really shines.

So here's a few samples taken with a 400D and the Helios-40-2 stopped down to f/8 or f/5.6


















If wide open performance is crucial for you, I would suggest you to buy a Contax Planar 1.4/85 (if your camera supports it).
You should spend more or less the same money as for the Helios-40-2
The Planar 1.4/85 is the same type of lens (a double-Gauss), but it's sharper wide open, and not flaring - giving a more realistic performance. The Helios is to be preferred instead when you want to create an unreal, dreamy atmosphere.
-


PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Here's a famous thread on a Russian forum about this lens


There are some amazing portrait artists in that thread.
I just reopened it after some time and noticed this AMAZING erotic portrait:

http://radikal.ru/F/i004.radikal.ru/0802/b9/261e9a20612a.jpg.html

Really a lesson how to make an erotic portrait being at the same time:

- creative in the pose
- creative in the lighting
- and perfectly decent

My hat off to that photographer, whoever she is. I wished it was me to have taken that photo.
-


PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:09 am    Post subject: Re: Helios 40-2 85mm/1.5 Reply with quote

Abbazz wrote:
...Beware, it's full of gorgeous pictures and the last time I checked there were 190 pages and 3799 posts:

http://club.foto.ru/forum/11/261862

Cheers!

Abbazz


Yes , you are right Smile
Thanks fot the link.


PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:49 am    Post subject: Re: Helios 40-2 85mm/1.5 Reply with quote

Abbazz wrote:


The Helios-40 lens has a problem with field flatness when used wide open, which means that if you shoot a subject which is perfectly plane -- like a brick wall, a newspaper page, or this kind of fascinating subjects that pixelpeepers seem to fancy a lot -- and you focus precisely on the center of the frame, the borders of the image will be out of focus. That's not a big problem for portrait work or other usual subjects in low light photography, as long as your subject in centered in the frame.

Don't believe all the crap on the Internet. The Helios 40 was NEVER intended to be an oscilloscope lens -- it's a Zeiss Biotar copy designed for low light general photography. It's certainly not tack sharp wide open (especially around the edges of the frame), but that's part of the character of this lens. The sharpness is the same whatever the distance from the subject. Sharpness and field flatness improve gradually when the lens is stopped down and the Helios becomes really sharp at f/5.6.

For me, the main issue with this lens is the weight. It it weren't so heavy, I would carry it with me all the time.

Here's a famous thread on a Russian forum about this lens and some other ultra fast Russian glass. Beware, it's full of gorgeous pictures and the last time I checked there were 190 pages and 3799 posts:

http://club.foto.ru/forum/11/261862

Cheers!

Abbazz


Always the same places where you can meet some mfl-members Very Happy I've spend hours after hours to check all pages, sometimes just looking the images, sometimes with an online translator.

All the other things, including the remark about the oszilloscope-crap, are also my opinion. Many lenses and lens-designs are also used for medical or industrial solutions - but that does not mean they are build for that only. Yes - the Helios 40 is a copy of the biotar design. And the missing field flatness is the result of correcting other problems coming from glass thickness and distance.

I also love this lens very much - but it needs time and patience because of it's weight.

Michael


PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

really fantastic lens:

f/1.5:





PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:


None of the photographers will notice the pretty girl, they just look at the bokeh Wink

It's a great lens but my Helios-40(silver M39) doesn't focus further that ~20 meters with Pentax K100D. Is this normal?


PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Riku wrote:

None of the photographers will notice the pretty girl, they just look at the bokeh Wink

There's a girl there? Ah yes, very nice. The bokeh in that first one is a bit distracting, imo.

Quote:

It's a great lens but my Helios-40(silver M39) doesn't focus further that ~20 meters with Pentax K100D. Is this normal?

Seems like it must be a real M39 one, not an M39 for the early Zenit, which had the M42 register distance.


PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Seems like it must be a real M39 one, not an M39 for the early Zenit, which had the M42 register distance.


In M39 screw you can find two types of lenses one for rangefinder on SLR works from 60cm to 40cm about.

Another for SLR with same register distance with M42.

Helios-40 M39 is an SLR lens. I am pretty sure your lens was cleaned and wrongly built or you have adapter problem on your Pentax. With right M42 adapter must reach infinity.


PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The highlight bokeh is the weak point of this lens.
But without high lights the bokeh is excellent.

As for M39, there is a little problem with infinity focus for two reasons:

- the M39 register distance (I am speaking of reflex system, not Leica's M39) is not identical to M42. There is a small difference (M39 slightly shorter)

- The Helios-40 has a little metal thickness at the base of the M39 thread that makes it impossible for the adapter to get in touch with the base of the lens.

Having that said, the focus difference is not big and a good sandpapering of the adapter will probably fix it. I never sandpapered an adapter for my Helios-40 copy because I don't find it important to have true infinity focus on this lens, as it's a lens for portraits and the focusing range (about 30 m for me on EOS) is more than enough - I have other lenses that I can use for infinity.
But in any case, even without any adjustment, stopping the Helios-40 down to about f/8 will deliver a more than acceptable infinity definition.
-


PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think Helios-40 was even made for rangefinders?


I don't think can be an adapter problem because there is no way this lens getting closer to the sensor... lens touches the mount. Maybe early russian M39 SLR's were sligthly shorter register distance? I have read about some problems with M39 SLR lenses Confused My lens looks very clean inside and picture quality is excellent.

Edit: Thanks Orio... you cleared it up


Last edited by Riku on Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:09 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had never problem with any M39 SLR lenses on Olympus.


PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Attila wrote:
Quote:
Seems like it must be a real M39 one, not an M39 for the early Zenit, which had the M42 register distance.


In M39 screw you can find two types of lenses one for rangefinder on SLR works from 60cm to 40cm about.

As short as that? I thank you for the correction.
Quote:

Another for SLR with same register distance with M42.

Helios-40 M39 is an SLR lens.


Ah, I didn't know they were only SLR. All the mixing of various standards just led to confusion.


PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jupiter-9,Jupiter-11 available for both system with same mount M39 and both of them available in M42 mount. Both lens shapes are different for range finder. They are tall compare with SLR version.


PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Attila wrote:
Jupiter-9,Jupiter-11 available for both system with same mount M39 and both of them available in M42 mount. Both lens shapes are different for range finder. They are tall compare with SLR version.


I meant Helios-40...

Was Helios-40 ever made for rangefinder?


PostPosted: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just answered for Farside as I know Helios-40 never made for range finder.


PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 8:43 am    Post subject: Re: Helios 40-2 85mm/1.5 Reply with quote

Borges wrote:
And the missing field flatness is the result of correcting other problems coming from glass thickness and distance.


Michael, I think this diagram from the thread on the Russian forum illustrates perfectly the circular zone of sharpness delivered by the Helios-40 at different apertures:


Image by Tigra Girl linked from http://club.foto.ru/forum/view_post.php?p_id=2138070

Cheers!

Abbazz


PostPosted: Sat Mar 01, 2008 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like it often happens in life, that a defect can make a woman unforgettable, also with lenses the same thing can happen. This defect of the Helios-40(-2) is what makes it a unique lens, and the charme of some photos taken with is happens exactly because of this defect.


PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Helios 40-2 85mm/1.5 Reply with quote

Abbazz wrote:
Borges wrote:
And the missing field flatness is the result of correcting other problems coming from glass thickness and distance.


Michael, I think this diagram from the thread on the Russian forum illustrates perfectly the circular zone of sharpness delivered by the Helios-40 at different apertures:

Cheers!

Abbazz


Yes, Abbazz, this is a perfect illustration. I often wondered what for a person stands behind this pseudonym - Tigra girl. So many wonderful images and - as far as I understand this using an online translator - such an addiction for this lens. I think she (or he) would be an enrichment for this forum Very Happy .

Michael


PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2008 11:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Helios 40-2 85mm/1.5 Reply with quote

Borges wrote:
I often wondered what for a person stands behind this pseudonym - Tigra girl. So many wonderful images and - as far as I understand this using an online translator - such an addiction for this lens. I think she (or he) would be an enrichment for this forum


I think it's a man who's behind the pseudonym. I don't remember if this a fact based on something I read from the thread (of course with the help of an online translator) or if this is a general impression.

About the diagram reproduced above, it is valid for a full frame camera -- Tigra Girl is using a Canon EOS 5D. For a crop format camera, the whole image is sharp at around f/5.6, so I guess you should reduce the stated aperture values by 1 stop.

Cheers!

Abbazz