The Russians Are Coming: The Helios Lens

Today’s Post by Mark Toal

Helios 58mmFrom writing this blog post I get a lot of photo accessory recommendations. One of my co-workers, Jack Salamanchuk, knows that I love quirky cameras and lenses so when he called and suggested a Russian-made Helios 44M 58mm f/2 lens I had to order one. It has a (manual) focusing range from 19-inches to infinity. Since millions of Helios lenses were produced they can be found very easily on eBay and other online sites.



Helios flower

Helios JasmineI paid $35.00 for my copy of the lens plus $8.00 shipping from Russia. As soon as I opened the envelope I fell in love with the all metal construction and beautiful glass lens. I ordered mine in the M42 screw mount (popularized in the United States by Pentax) since I already had a Fotodiox M42 to Micro Four-thirds adapter.

The Helios is an all-manual lens but if you have focus peaking in you camera it’s easy to focus. I set my exposure mode to Aperture and then set the Aperture on the lens. Make sure you set your camera to “shoot without lens” so it will work with the non-electronic Helios lens.

For this photo of Jasmine I set the lens to f/2 since I wanted to see how it performed wide open. The photo of the flower was also shot at f/2 so I could see what the background looks like with this lens wide open. For my first two images with the Helios I’m very happy.