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Helios 40 Craze
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fates wrote:
Thanks for that! Any serial number runs to avoid maybe? Or clues I can glean from ebay ads?

Ones that are m39 that have to be adapted up to m42? Or are those ok?

Basically my mission is to shoot video through this lens and make that painterly bokeh move.
Thanks guys.


That later black version is the better one (I was told). That one also has a nice to use tripod mount and rear M42 thread, so it fits directly an EOS adaptor. It is large and heavy, but the results as proven here are simply crazy - I like that bokeh wide open!!

It is not as sharp as the slim Zeiss Jena Biotar f1.5/75mm (of which I have three) and which is much smaller and more lightweight - that one also has that crazy swirly bokeh!

@abbazz: great test shots - like 'em a lot!! You know how to handle that lens!


PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kds315* wrote:
@abbazz: great test shots - like 'em a lot!! You know how to handle that lens!

Thanks Klaus. That's indeed a funny lens to play with.

@ fates: When used wide open, all the sharpness is in the center of the frame, so one has to forget all the rules about composition and put the main subject right in the middle of the picture, not too far from the lens. If the background has a lot of contrast with many highlights (like a bright sky showing through dense foliage, bright reflections of light on a wall, or a lit up Christmas tree) and if it is located 2-10m behind the main subject, then the swirly bokeh will appear. It is not a matter of using a particular model (Helios 40 or Helios 40-2) or a particular lens, all Helios 40 are able to produce this effect, but only with all the required parameters (lens wide open, subject in the center of the frame located 1-3m from camera, background with light spots, distance from subject to background 3-10m).

Cheers!

Abbazz


PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Made a few table top tests here to show its ability to nicely isolate:







Last edited by kds315* on Sat Aug 29, 2009 1:47 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vignetting test:



OOF highlights (diff. shot) clearly shows that oval shaped vignetting circular to the center (top left corner in that case):



... which can be used for interesting effects, I remember from some films I've seen with wet reflecting streets in the background...



Last edited by kds315* on Sat Aug 29, 2009 5:40 pm; edited 1 time in total


PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sharpness is very nice wide open:





PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thePiRaTE!!: Your pictures are so convincing, that I'd buy the lens instantly. But I already have one Embarassed


PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had one and I sold it without ever having used it. But that was way before I even got interested in the old lenses. At that time I thought: what's with this heavy old lens? Away with it? And I sold it at 125 euros... Including the original leather case and filters (this was a black 40-2).

But then... Weren't we all young and didn't we make bad decisions when we were younger? Wink

Topics like this make me want one.... Embarassed


PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spotmatic wrote:
I had one and I sold it without ever having used it. But that was way before I even got interested in the old lenses. At that time I thought: what's with this heavy old lens? Away with it? And I sold it at 125 euros... Including the original leather case and filters (this was a black 40-2).

But then... Weren't we all young and didn't we make bad decisions when we were younger? Wink

Topics like this make me want one.... Embarassed


Laughing Laughing


PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And now, what about a variable swirly bokeh effect?

First, we use the Helios 40-2 wide open to get the usual crazy bokeh:



Then, we increase the effect on the top of the frame:



And let's try increasing the swirls on the right side of the frame:



More on this later...

Cheers!

Abbazz


PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tilt/shift? Bending the barrel of the lens? Laughing
Spill it man!

I've got to find one of these and put some motion samples together...


PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I must say, I've inadvertently led you astray! The second shot (of the blue bells) in my first contribution is from a Minolta 58/1.2 Rokkor PG. I assumed it was from the Helios because of the swirly nature of the shot. I didn't question at all it was not from the Helios, it was only later in looking at the Exif did I realise that the data matched the chip on my Rokkor. Sorry! To make up for this, more Helios samples to follow Smile

Btw, nice samples again Abazz, and interesting point about compressing the swirl in specific areas - even with my Biotars, I hadn't yet made any correlation between the occasional similar result to that with someting I was doing intentionally. I must experiment!

no-X wrote:
thePiRaTE!!: Your pictures are so convincing, that I'd buy the lens instantly. But I already have one Embarassed


Thank-you - I'm learning it is a very fun lens. Post some samples from yours if you will!

All Helios this time Smile







Kelly.


PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Abbazz wrote:
And now, what about a variable swirly bokeh effect?

First, we use the Helios 40-2 wide open to get the usual crazy bokeh:



Then, we increase the effect on the top of the frame:



And let's try increasing the swirls on the right side of the frame:



More on this later...

Cheers!

Abbazz


You artificially increased the vignetting using a rounded cut out dark paper? First on top then on the side?


PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kds315* wrote:
Abbazz wrote:
And now, what about a variable swirly bokeh effect?

You artificially increased the vignetting using a rounded cut out dark paper? First on top then on the side?


I think this is a good guess. Even if it is not what Abazz has done, it works. I inadvertantly capture the shade from my hand as I shield the lens sometimes and note that even that can exacerbate the effect at the top of the image, if slightly.

K.


PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kds315* wrote:
You artificially increased the vignetting using a rounded cut out dark paper? First on top then on the side?

thePiRaTE!! wrote:
I think this is a good guess. Even if it is not what Abazz has done, it works. I inadvertantly capture the shade from my hand as I shield the lens sometimes and note that even that can exacerbate the effect at the top of the image, if slightly.

Yep, Klaus (followed by Kelly) nailed it on the head! I just used a long sun shade from an old Takumar 135/3.5, which has a much smaller diameter than the Helios 40 in order to add some cat's eye effect.

Much of the "swirly bokeh" effect of the Helios 40 is due to the optical vignetting of the lens. That is, the out of focus highlights away from the center are partially obscured by the lens tube itself, due to its insufficient diameter in view of the large aperture of the lens. As a consequence, the out of focus highlights turn into a cat's eye shape, instead of their normal circular shape. For more on optical vignetting, see this excellent page on Paul van Walree's website: http://toothwalker.org/optics/vignetting.html

So I took the Takumar shade and held it in front of the lens to increase the optical vignetting of the Helios 40 (remember that the lens shade is much smaller in diameter than the lens, so it cannot be screwed in place). Then I slightly tilted it down to increase the vignetting on top of the frame, then tilted it to the left to increase the vignetting on the right edge.

In fact, it is more efficient to use a black cardboard tube mounted on the rear of the lens to artificially increase optical vignetting. Unfortunately, this usually is not possible with DSLRs, because there isn't sufficient space available at the back of the lens, due to the mirror clearance. The only exceptions are macro lenses designed to be used on bellows or medium format lenses used with adapters.

Cheers,

Abbazz


PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Abbazz, thanks for the link. Very interesting reading.


PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Abbazz.. interesting...

I know about this phenomenon but never thought in terms of Helios.

I know that lot of for fast lenses (esp 50-58mm FL) were prone to cat-eye bokeh, as the size of the lens was intentionally kept smaller (for size... may be price too, but not sure). Rokkor and Noc (both 58mm) are pretty big compare to their contemporaries...


But bigger question is, which optical grouping/section does vignetting in Helios design.. the front element is quite a piece of glass...


PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The famous slim Biotar f1.5/7.5cm (75mm) hat that crazy bokeh too wide open btw.



PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is it so that the Russian designers were trying to copy the Biotar originally?
They sure did not copy the size Shocked

My skinny Biotar is a nice compact lens maybe half the size of the Helios 40 although still quite heavy.


PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, remember that you had to repair that stuff in the field with just a large hammer and other coarse tools... Wink


PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Crazy sharpness , isn't it ? Mr. Green



PostPosted: Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helios wrote:
Crazy sharpness , isn't it ?

The picture looked quite sharp on the forum, but then I clicked and I looked at it full size: WOW!

Cheers!

Abbazz


PostPosted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Abbazz wrote:
kds315* wrote:
You artificially increased the vignetting using a rounded cut out dark paper? First on top then on the side?

thePiRaTE!! wrote:
I think this is a good guess. Even if it is not what Abazz has done, it works. I inadvertantly capture the shade from my hand as I shield the lens sometimes and note that even that can exacerbate the effect at the top of the image, if slightly.

Yep, Klaus (followed by Kelly) nailed it on the head! I just used a long sun shade from an old Takumar 135/3.5, which has a much smaller diameter than the Helios 40 in order to add some cat's eye effect.
Abbazz


Hmmm, maybe Ill keep my 40-2 afterall Idea

and I noticed there are way too many smart people on this forum Laughing


PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thePiRate, love your flower images. Crazy kaleidoscope of wonderful color. Wish I could afford that lens!


PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
thePiRate, love your flower images. Crazy kaleidoscope of wonderful color.


I imagine your boosting the color though, right? Maybe a bit of alteration in l.a.b. mode? Cause I certainly have not gotten color like that, even with relatively saturated slide films. Incredible nonetheless!


PostPosted: Thu Mar 25, 2010 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Truly great, well meaning post, and absolutely fabulous pics too! But for God's sake, you are only going to further inflate the price of this already overpriced lens. Please forgive me for being a spoilsport.
Now imagine paying 500+ bucks from a Russian seller for this amazing lens, and waiting for it to show up in your humble mailbox. Ha,ha. My experience with Russian sellers has been very mixed. Some wonderful, some not so. You might as well play the lottery brother, you'll have better odds.


Last edited by Jeff Zen on Thu Mar 25, 2010 10:03 pm; edited 1 time in total