Helios 44-2: First Impressions

(All photos in this article were taken with a Helios 44-2 58mm on a Nikon D750 body.)

Two weeks ago I bought an old Helios 44-2 lens on Ebay to use with my d750. I’ve heard about these old Russian lenses in the past and finally decided to take the jump and experience them for myself. Here are my first impressions.

I grabbed a prop and hit some nature trails near where I live to test the lens out. It was a bright sunny day, so I was interested in seeing how this lens would perform under harsh lighting conditions. 

At first I was taking snapshots of leaves and plants along the trails to see how well the lens would perform. Like I had seen in example photos along the internet, the bokeh was incredibly smooth. The color straight out of the camera leaves a little to be desired, but I can’t tell if it’s an overall issue or something I only experience when shooting towards the sun.

The swirling bokeh background that this lens creates is nothing short of incredible. I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t a big factor in my decision to buy the lens. I haven’t shot any living subjects with it yet, as I’ve only had it for one day, but I’m excited to do so. 

Lens flares seem to be an issue with this lens, so it’s best to be mindful of the light. The lens is sharp in the center but very soft around the edges. 

Overall, I think the lens is worth every penny of the $30 or so dollars I spent on it. It’s not a lens that’s suited for every occasion, though. I would probably use this for my more creative endeavors. Something that would take advantage of the imperfections of the lens. I can’t wait to keep shooting with this lens and see what I can create. I’ll post another update after a week or so of shooting with the lens.

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