I own the 44-2 and the 44m, the following samples are with the 44-2. helios 44 series is a copy of the carl zeiss biotar lens, identical, difference being in factory quality, several factories made it in russia and it has a wide variety of quality. One example is a wide known fact, the Cyrillic letters one were made for domestic market and arn't regarded of the highest guality, while the english ones are for export and those are generally better.
Its wide appeal is its swirly bokeh, which isnt that easy to accomplish either, so lots of people get disappointed, conditions have to be right. They all swirl, but not like the 44-2 versions.
my 44m is as sharp at f2 as my 50L manually focused at f2......nuts!?.....while my 44-2 isn't close, its super low on contrast as well and without any multi coating elements it can flare etc.......lens hood only option for that lens....or all helios 44 series lenses.
following 2 photos are with the 44-2 with the right conditions for a swirly bokeh image.
shot at f2...5dmk3