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helios 40--85mm/1.5
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:13 pm    Post subject: helios 40--85mm/1.5 Reply with quote

i see this lens is now going for about $400usd, about $200 less than the zeiss planar T and $150 more than the samyang. is it worth it? ive never seen any samples--anyone have one?


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:26 pm    Post subject: Re: helios 40--85mm/1.5 Reply with quote

rbelyell wrote:
i see this lens is now going for about $400usd, about $200 less than the zeiss planar T and $150 more than the samyang. is it worth it? ive never seen any samples--anyone have one?


It has two version 1 silver and 2 black in my opinion optically they are same.
silver version is significantly cheaper.

version 1 is M39 SLR lens with non standard filter diameter and fixed tripod collar.

version 2 is M42 lens with standard filter diameter and rotatable tripod collar.

oldest version I expect made by Zeiss people on Zeiss machinery in captivity.

http://www.mflenses.com/gallery/v/russian_lens/Helios/helios_40_8_5cm_f1_5/

Common version I

http://www.mflenses.com/gallery/v/russian_lens/Helios/helios_40_85mm_f1_5/

Helios-40-2 black

http://www.mflenses.com/gallery/v/russian_lens/Helios/helios-40-2-_85mm_f1_5_MC/


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have Planar 85mm f1. 4 too and I saw so many excellent pictures taken with Samyang all are different character. Any of them just good choice.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Samyang is certainly a lot sharper wide open and has got neutral but perfect bokeh. Helios has got sometimes very strange bokeh.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's one full resolution picture with my Helios-40 @ f/1.5 http://img514.imageshack.us/img514/5852/imgp8631.jpg


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you all. i guess what i was getting at was opinions on the quality of this lens for the price. to my eye, the planar T is amazing and clearly bests any other 85mm i have seen in terms of sharpness and IQ (just my subjective opinion). but still, i am not willing to pay $6-800usd for it.

these other lenses are to me still expensive. the samyang is nice at $250 or so; is the helios really worth an extra $200?

also, i have a jupiter 85/2 in m42. i think its wonderful, especially if you consider i got it for $100! is the samyang 3x's better; the helios 4x's better; the planar T 8 x's better? just hoping to get a cross section of opinions...


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rbelyell wrote:

also, i have a jupiter 85/2 in m42. i think its wonderful, especially if you consider i got it for $100! is the samyang 3x's better; the helios 4x's better; the planar T 8 x's better? just hoping to get a cross section of opinions...


I think samyang(is sharper in corners wide open than planar; equal in center) and planar are equal


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wow! do others feel the same way as K? if so, i must rethink my reluctance to spend the money on the samyang.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are satisfied with Jupiter 9 you don't need to take other ones. Personally I don't think need better portrait lens than Jupiter-9. If you would like something else and not willing to pay too much money take Samyang , I also planning to buy Samyang even if I have many others. I love Samyang pretty much based on samples what Karabud and Henry presented here.

No lens 2x better than others, difference between them really little even if their price difference is huge.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rbelyell wrote:
also, i have a jupiter 85/2 in m42. i think its wonderful, especially if you consider i got it for $100! is the samyang 3x's better; the helios 4x's better; the planar T 8 x's better? just hoping to get a cross section of opinions...


No, it's definitely only 2.15x better

Anyway, Helios is sharp stopped down. In center sharpness is acceptable at f/1.5, but resolution is significantly lower in corners. Good copy of Jupiter has far better edges (on APS-C, I have no FF experience)


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

attila, that is a very interesting perspective, and one i tend to agree with. again, this is very subjective, but the results ive seen on this forum from the planar T are amazing, while i would term the results, to my particular eye, that ive seen from the samyang as good, not so much better than the jupiter 9, except nice sharpness at 1.4 vs 2.0...i really enjoy getting other people's opinions vs mine as it sometimes makes me go back and take another look at the visual comparisons.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

no-X wrote:
rbelyell wrote:
also, i have a jupiter 85/2 in m42. i think its wonderful, especially if you consider i got it for $100! is the samyang 3x's better; the helios 4x's better; the planar T 8 x's better? just hoping to get a cross section of opinions...


No, it's definitely only 2.15x better

Anyway, Helios is sharp stopped down. In center sharpness is acceptable at f/1.5, but resolution is significantly lower in corners. Good copy of Jupiter has far better edges (on APS-C, I have no FF experience)


Laughing Laughing Laughing

that's interesting, especially when you consider the price differential. one wonders how they can get away with selling the helios for so much?! i would love to see some pictures from this lens if you have, and have the time to upload...


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rbelyell wrote:
attila, that is a very interesting perspective, and one i tend to agree with. again, this is very subjective, but the results ive seen on this forum from the planar T are amazing, while i would term the results, to my particular eye, that ive seen from the samyang as good, not so much better than the jupiter 9, except nice sharpness at 1.4 vs 2.0...i really enjoy getting other people's opinions vs mine as it sometimes makes me go back and take another look at the visual comparisons.


Best thing if you buy them try them and keep what you really like. I warn you on this way your lenses will cover your living room Wink


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Laughing

yes, but even if i had the money to burn, i am philosophically opposed to paying so much for a lens--i have to justify to myself spending more than $200, let alone the $800 for a planar! i'm just not good enough to merit spending that kind of money! Laughing Laughing Laughing


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rbelyell wrote:
Laughing

yes, but even if i had the money to burn, i am philosophically opposed to paying so much for a lens--i have to justify to myself spending more than $200, let alone the $800 for a planar! i'm just not good enough to merit spending that kind of money! Laughing Laughing Laughing


No way! You will do Laughing Laughing


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rbelyell wrote:
Laughing Laughing Laughing

that's interesting, especially when you consider the price differential. one wonders how they can get away with selling the helios for so much?! i would love to see some pictures from this lens if you have, and have the time to upload...

As for direct comparision - here is a test shot:

Helios-40-2 vs. Jupiter-9, both at f/2, full resolution




Helios at f/1.5

f/1.5



PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Maybe it's just me, but I didn't decide to acquire a Helios-40 because I thought it would be sharper, or a better all-around performer, than the other ~85mm lenses I've owned and used. I wanted to experience its unique character, and I have the feeling many other folks have bought the lens for that same reason. I reckon that would also be true of a lens like the Trioplan 100/2.8: it can deliver very sharp images, yes, but its sharpness, as against other lenses in the same focal length, is probably not the prime factor that motivates people to buy it.

That said, I do find my copy (an early one - I agree that those can be really exceptional) to be very, very sharp when stopped down, and acceptably sharp - when I'm able to nail the focus! - wide open. In my best shots with it (and there aren't a whole lot of those, a fact entirely attributable to user error), I've managed to strike what is, for me, a good balance between sharpness and "personality."

Tony, I have to say I'm surprised to hear that you've had difficulty locating Helios-40 samples; a just-this-second "Helios-40" Google search turned up dozens of images I wish I had been skilled enough to produce. In fact, it was that kind of search, and those kind of images, that prompted me to buy the lens in the first place.

Cheers,

Jon


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Tony,

Here are a couple of shots taken with the Helios-40 (1966 chrome version) - both at f/1.5 - it's the weird bokeh I love Wink





PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tony
the H40/-2 is all about a special signature.
The lens when used for Portraits or within close range have a magic if their own.
The Planar,J9,samyang, etc all have there own signature as well. Some more unique than others.
The only lens in this FL for use with 35mm reflex that gives a look similar to the H40 is a Biotar 1.5/75 (at triple the price since that is important).
Cheers


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@no x: thank you so much, that was very nice of you to take the time to put up those shots. interesting that in the direct comparison, the helios looks much 'cooler' than the jupiter, but in the more macro helios shots that coolness doesnt appear to come through as much. it also appears to me the jupiter is a little sharper at 2.0.

@univer: yes jon i totally agree that we often buy lenses for 'special character' and not just for sharpness. i guess in this particular instance i was really taken by the extreme price differential among all these lenses. unfortunately i dont have the luxury--or the mentality! Very Happy --to spend SO much more on a lens for a special character. when one thinks that a helios 58mm with great 'character' can be had for $40 usd, i wondered in this instance what 'justified' the 85mm being 10x's that amount! but i do agree after seeing some shots with this lens that the bokeh can be unusually outstanding.

@mal: love your images; the bokeh is fabulous! it's always a trade-off in terms of value you get from a lens vs price....

@sunshine: andy, what does 'coincidental thread killer' mean?Very Happy

t


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something to ask yourself is what is your primary use of the lens? If you are working paid gigs and you require speed and quality, the Planar ZA (for Sony Alpha) gives you an AF option with top statistical performance. If you want something general where DoF and even sharpness both may be handy, but cost is a factor then probably Samyang is the best. If you're more of an artist and want 'the look' from a specific brush/lens, then you'll begin to learn why each lens is worth what it is already - supply and demand.

The fact is - measured MTF wise - the Helios is statistically the 'worst' lens. See the numbers at www.photozone.de. Having said that, it offers a wild diffusion of light at full aperture around the plane of focus and often imparts a radial apearance to its OOF - ala the Zeiss Biotar, which it shares some lineage - which make it to me indispensible.

Here's what I mean -

Helios wide open:





Biotar wide open:

- overall slightly sharper across the frame, though still weak in the corners wide open, less diffusion creates stronger contrast appearance - but less 'dreamy' than Helios. Best balance of art and science for me.







Planar wide open:

- maintains edge to edge performance and sharpness. Also, the ZA differs from earlier designs and has a modern 'clean' appearance. I found the ZK(M,E) very slightly softer wide open, but with a slight diffusion around the plane of focus creating again the dreamy effect. I preferred it to the newer calculation.

ZA:





ZK:



Or you can go as mentioned and buy/try all. Just be prepared not to get any money back Wink

Kelly.

note - I _think_ I got the pics working?


Last edited by thePiRaTE!! on Tue Jan 26, 2010 7:45 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hey kelley

yes, i think your analysis of what one wants out of a lens is correct. to be honest, statistics aside, i see the planar T as significantly better IQ than the others, to my very subjective eye. i do see the bokeh difference of the helios, which gives it a special character. again, this is only my own very subjective opinion, but when one adds cost into consideration, i am even more happy now with my jupiter!

i guess the underlying issue i was trying to unearth with this discussion was 'has the price of 85mm lenses gotten really out of hand'? again, any conclusion in this regard is a matter of personal opinion, and mine in no more valuable than anyone elses, but my personal conclusion is an overwhelming yes.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rbelyell wrote:
hey kelley

yes, i think your analysis of what one wants out of a lens is correct. to be honest, statistics aside, i see the planar T as significantly better IQ than the others, to my very subjective eye. i do see the bokeh difference of the helios, which gives it a special character. again, this is only my own very subjective opinion, but when one adds cost into consideration, i am even more happy now with my jupiter!

i guess the underlying issue i was trying to unearth with this discussion was 'has the price of 85mm lenses gotten really out of hand'? again, any conclusion in this regard is a matter of personal opinion, and mine in no more valuable than anyone elses, but my personal conclusion is an overwhelming yes.


Sadly, the madness of out of hand pricing is market driven. I think the reality is that as more people discover SLR photography, among them more with interests like ours will want a taste of the same diminishing supply of lenses and price will only go up further. Buy now while they are the cheapest they will ever be Wink

K.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
unfortunately i dont have the luxury--or the mentality! Very Happy --to spend SO much more on a lens for a special character


Maybe it is that you do not have a need. I hardly see owning my $220 Helios 40 as a luxury any more than owning a $500 Contax Planar85.


PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

as photography for me is a hobby and not a profession, all the accessories are a luxury to me. btw, the helios 40's ive seen are now going for about $400, and i do think many who are non professionals would consider being able to spend that much on a single lens a luxury! more power to you that for you it is not. Very Happy having seen your pictures, i know you make the best of your equipment.