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Recent production Helios 40-2 - any good?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:37 pm    Post subject: Recent production Helios 40-2 - any good? Reply with quote

One of the few lenses on my must-have list is the Helios 40-2. I've been looking at them for quite a while, but haven't been able to stump up the courage (or funds) given the now-somewhat-ridiculous prices they fetch (I should have bought much earlier!!). But still, I keep looking, and teetering on the brink of buying.

Ideally, I'd have liked a 1970s - early 80s model, but I also see quite a few new copies from recent production runs - 2015, typically.

Are these newer versions any good? Actually, let me re-phrase that, as a lot of people will probably say no Helios 40-2 is any good Very Happy

Do these newer versions still have the same characteristics optically, including the rather pronounced bokeh swirl at wider apertures? And what about the build quality... is it robust?

Any opinions on the newer versions would be very much appreciated. Thanks Smile


PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To my knowledge, they are the same design, just in a newer body and in different mounts(EF, F).
I think the prices for the older versions have come down to sane levels, the earliest ones are still pricey(red letter П), but that's mostly because they're rare.
Are you looking for a black or silver lens?
If you can, check that the aperture opening is symmetrical, I've seen a number of new lenses with a lazy aperture blade. case in point http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lens-MC-Zenitar-Helios-40-85mm-f-1-4-Canon-EF-mount-EOS-New-Model-/262792940535
http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/RLIAAOSwmmxW3Eo7/s-l1600.jpg


PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that. I've decided to take the risk on a new/unused Helios-40-2 M42 Smile


PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MC Zenitar 85/1.4 is optically different from Helios 40/40-2 85/1.5.


PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

calvin83 wrote:
MC Zenitar 85/1.4 is optically different from Helios 40/40-2 85/1.5.


I confirm, completly different design. Zenit is actual producing the Zenitar 85/1.4 and Helios 40 85/1.5. I guess thoses dishonest sellers write Helios-40 in order to be listed in Helios 40.


PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was just pointing out the aperture shape, something to look out for.


PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It will be good to have symmetrical blade fully stopped down. For fast lens like this , it is not uncommon for a lens to have asymmetrical blade when the aperture is fully stopped down. I bet most Contax 85/1.4 have asymmetrical blade at F16. Wink


PostPosted: Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all, this is great information.

In fact, I've just ordered a lens. It's a recent production Helios 40-2 in M42 mount, new and boxed (allegedly - will have to wait and see if that's true). No way of knowing if the aperture is asymmetrical until I receive and examine the lens, but if there are any problems, I'm confident I can return it with only a loss of postage costs, so pretty low risk.

I'd have preferred a well-looked-after older model, but the price negotiations were more favourable on this one, and - if it really is new - I'm hopeful it'll be ready to rock-and-roll straight from the box...