Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?

Started Jun 3, 2011 | Discussions
kaktusss
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Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
Jun 3, 2011

Hello,

I'm mostly using my NEX-5 for portrait shots. I love my Rokkor MC 50 1.4, but sometimes I'd like to carry something more compact and light.

I've had a look at all the mount adapters for the NEX and I saw that M39 adapters are really tiny.

Then, I had a look at cheap m39 portrait lenses (thanks for sharing guys !), and these 2 russian lenses looked fine :

  • Jupiter 8 50/2

  • Helios 44 58/2 M39 version

I've read on a forum that the Helios 44 has a different register distance from other M39 lenses, making it sort of incompatible with M39 adapters.

Did someone test this lens with the NEX ? I haven't found anything on this forum (except about the m42 version).

Thanks in advance.

John Bean (UK)
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Re: Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
In reply to kaktusss, Jun 3, 2011

The lens you speak of is a SLR lens, identical to the M42 version except for the thread.

To use on a NEX you need a M39-M42 thread adapter - it adds no spacing, it just screws over the M39 thread and presents a M42 thread instead - then use a normal M42-NEX adapter.

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kaktusss
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Re: Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
In reply to John Bean (UK), Jun 3, 2011

Thanks for your reply !

So it confirms the Jupiter 8 is a better choice if I'm looking for a fast (f2), cheap (

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John Bean (UK)
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Re: Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
In reply to kaktusss, Jun 3, 2011

kaktusss wrote:

So it confirms the Jupiter 8 is a better choice if I'm looking for a fast (f2), cheap (

That would be my choice given those constraints - especially "compact". No SLR lens will be compact on the NEX and the J-8 is the only fast(-ish) rangefinder lens that is likely to cost less than $50 for a perfect sample.

However IMO 50/2 is a bit short and/or slow for traditional portraiture, especially since the J-8 isn't great wide open. You can get a far better (but bigger) SLR lens for about the same money, or you can pay more and get a better, faster (or longer) rangefinder lens more suited to portraiture.

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kaktusss
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Re: Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
In reply to John Bean (UK), Jun 3, 2011

John Bean (UK) wrote:

However IMO 50/2 is a bit short and/or slow for traditional portraiture, especially since the J-8 isn't great wide open. You can get a far better (but bigger) SLR lens for about the same money, or you can pay more and get a better, faster (or longer) rangefinder lens more suited to portraiture.

Thanks again for your answer.

Actually, I really love the 50mm focal length. But it's maybe because I haven't tried a good 85mm prime yet

I'm just looking for a tiny lens that will complement my Rokkor 50/1.4, but you're probably right : I'll have to spend (a lot) more money if I want to have the same result :

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jazzroy1972
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Re: Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
In reply to kaktusss, Jun 3, 2011

I've got the jupiter 8 and it's nice, but not sharp as other 50mm..

You can also look for the jupiter 50 f3.5 which is a pancake!

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izash
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Re: Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
In reply to kaktusss, Jun 3, 2011

The Helios 44-2 is a beautiful lens, great for portraits and for video.

its' focal length (58mm) is ideal for portraits as it is equivalent to about 93mm in 35mm film.

If you want a cheap, faster lens, get the sharp Canon FD 50mm/f1.4 for about 100$.
it would give you an almost classic 80mm 35mm equivalent focal length.

Izhar

kaktusss wrote:

Hello,

I'm mostly using my NEX-5 for portrait shots. I love my Rokkor MC 50 1.4, but sometimes I'd like to carry something more compact and light.

I've had a look at all the mount adapters for the NEX and I saw that M39 adapters are really tiny.

Then, I had a look at cheap m39 portrait lenses (thanks for sharing guys !), and these 2 russian lenses looked fine :

  • Jupiter 8 50/2

  • Helios 44 58/2 M39 version

I've read on a forum that the Helios 44 has a different register distance from other M39 lenses, making it sort of incompatible with M39 adapters.

Did someone test this lens with the NEX ? I haven't found anything on this forum (except about the m42 version).

Thanks in advance.

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kaktusss
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Re: Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
In reply to izash, Jun 3, 2011

izash wrote:

The Helios 44-2 is a beautiful lens, great for portraits and for video.

its' focal length (58mm) is ideal for portraits as it is equivalent to about 93mm in 35mm film.

If you want a cheap, faster lens, get the sharp Canon FD 50mm/f1.4 for about 100$.
it would give you an almost classic 80mm 35mm equivalent focal length.

Hello Izhar,

I've seen your posts and samples with this lens and it looks great. Thanks for sharing.

About the Canon FD, It looks very similar to the minolta 1.4 I already have, that's why I'm looking for a M39 lens : the adapter is small. A canon FD to NEX (like the minolta md) adapter is as deep as a pancake lens.

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kaktusss
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Re: Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
In reply to jazzroy1972, Jun 3, 2011

jazzroy1972 wrote:

I've got the jupiter 8 and it's nice, but not sharp as other 50mm..

You can also look for the jupiter 50 f3.5 which is a pancake!

3.5 ? did you mean 1.5 ? I haven't seen this one :
http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Jupiter_ (lenses)

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John Bean (UK)
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Re: Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
In reply to kaktusss, Jun 3, 2011

kaktusss wrote:

Actually, I really love the 50mm focal length.

So do I, it's the only focal length I have in more than one lens...

I'm just looking for a tiny lens that will complement my Rokkor 50/1.4

Ah, that changes the choices; you already have a fast 50, now you want something compact. I can understand that, but I'm not clear on why the compact 50 also needs to be fast. Personally I'd rather have a tiny lens of modest aperture than a bigger, faster lens that needs to be stopped down anyway to make it acceptably sharp.

When I need "fast" I use my Voigtlander 50/1.5 Nokton (L39 mount) which is very sharp from wide open but rather big by rangefinder standards. Your Rokkor covers the same usage area of course.

However, when I need "compact" I reach for my Leitz Elmar 50/3.5 collapsible - they don't come more compact than that! I'm told the inexpensive Russian copies (Industar-22, Industar-50 collapsible) can be as good or better than the Elmar optically although I have no personal experience of them.

The J-8 is fine if it was the only 50 you had and may occasionally need f/2, but it's not as good optically as (say) the similarly priced Industar-61 (52/2.8) which has much nicer rendering as well as being sharper than the J-8 and with less CA and distortion.

The I-61 is top of my personal league table of best performance/price ratio for rangefinder lenses but the Elmar (or I-22, I-50) is by far the most compact.

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John Bean (UK)
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Re: Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
In reply to jazzroy1972, Jun 3, 2011

jazzroy1972 wrote:

I've got the jupiter 8 and it's nice, but not sharp as other 50mm..

You can also look for the jupiter 50 f3.5 which is a pancake!

I think you mean the Industar-50.

But it's only a pancake on an SLR - the rangefinder lens is nothing like as compact, it's the same size as a J-8. There is a collapsible version of it though

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kaktusss
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Re: Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
In reply to John Bean (UK), Jun 3, 2011

John Bean (UK) wrote:

Ah, that changes the choices; you already have a fast 50, now you want something compact. I can understand that, but I'm not clear on why the compact 50 also needs to be fast. Personally I'd rather have a tiny lens of modest aperture than a bigger, faster lens that needs to be stopped down anyway to make it acceptably sharp.

Here's how I reasoned : all old lenses I have are rather soft wide open. For example, I hardly ever use my Rokkor at 1.4, my best pictures are taken at 2-2.8. That's why I thought that the Jupiter 8 would be usable (I mean sharp) at 2.8 (which is fine for me) and the Industar 61 would be usable at 3.5 (which is too much for me). Correct me if I'm wrong about the I-61, which by the way is half the price of the J-8.

When I need "fast" I use my Voigtlander 50/1.5 Nokton (L39 mount) which is very sharp from wide open but rather big by rangefinder standards. Your Rokkor covers the same usage area of course.

However, when I need "compact" I reach for my Leitz Elmar 50/3.5 collapsible - they don't come more compact than that! I'm told the inexpensive Russian copies (Industar-22, Industar-50 collapsible) can be as good or better than the Elmar optically although I have no personal experience of them.

3.5 is too much for what I want to do, but these lenses sure look funny to use !

The J-8 is fine if it was the only 50 you had and may occasionally need f/2, but it's not as good optically as (say) the similarly priced Industar-61 (52/2.8) which has much nicer rendering as well as being sharper than the J-8 and with less CA and distortion.

You mean that the I-61 will be better at 2.8 than the J-8 at 2.8 ?
I've read you post about it and it seems difficult to find a good sample :
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1042&message=37964227

The I-61 is top of my personal league table of best performance/price ratio for rangefinder lenses but the Elmar (or I-22, I-50) is by far the most compact.

Thanks for all the details !

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John Bean (UK)
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Re: Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
In reply to kaktusss, Jun 3, 2011

kaktusss wrote:

Here's how I reasoned : all old lenses I have are rather soft wide open. For example, I hardly ever use my Rokkor at 1.4, my best pictures are taken at 2-2.8. That's why I thought that the Jupiter 8 would be usable (I mean sharp) at 2.8 (which is fine for me) and the Industar 61 would be usable at 3.5 (which is too much for me). Correct me if I'm wrong about the I-61, which by the way is half the price of the J-8.

Good logic. But...

The J-8 is fine if it was the only 50 you had and may occasionally need f/2, but it's not as good optically as (say) the similarly priced Industar-61 (52/2.8) which has much nicer rendering as well as being sharper than the J-8 and with less CA and distortion.

You mean that the I-61 will be better at 2.8 than the J-8 at 2.8 ?

Yes, that's exactly what I mean. But...

I've read you post about it and it seems difficult to find a good sample :
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1042&message=37964227

Yes

A good I-61 is better stop-for-stop than a good J-8, but the I-61 seems to be a bit more of a lottery. It also has far better ergonomics than the typical J-8.

There are three versions of the J-8 , the most common (modern, black) having very "cheap and nasty" build with the whole lens rotating with focus, including the aperture ring. The less common earlier versions are more like the I-61 with non-rotating front. They are far less common and tend to cost more.

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kaktusss
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Re: Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
In reply to John Bean (UK), Jun 4, 2011

$€John Bean (UK) wrote:

A good I-61 is better stop-for-stop than a good J-8, but the I-61 seems to be a bit more of a lottery. It also has far better ergonomics than the typical J-8.

There are three versions of the J-8 , the most common (modern, black) having very "cheap and nasty" build with the whole lens rotating with focus, including the aperture ring. The less common earlier versions are more like the I-61 with non-rotating front. They are far less common and tend to cost more.

Wow ! Too bad because I prefer the black version with my black NEX
I'll try to find a older one then, thanks for the info.

About the Helios 44 58/2 M39, if I use it with a M39 adapter, will I have a lot of problems ?

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John Bean (UK)
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Re: Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
In reply to kaktusss, Jun 4, 2011

kaktusss wrote:

About the Helios 44 58/2 M39, if I use it with a M39 adapter, will I have a lot of problems ?

Only if you want to take in-focus pictures with it since it won't focus on anything this side of infinity. Other than that it will work just fine

As I said earlier, it's a SLR lens and must be used with a M39-M42 thread converter and a M42-NEX adapter if you want to use it on the NEX.

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kaktusss
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Re: Helios 44 58/2 M39 mount ?
In reply to John Bean (UK), Jun 4, 2011

John Bean (UK) wrote:

Only if you want to take in-focus pictures with it since it won't focus on anything this side of infinity. Other than that it will work just fine

Ok, got it thanks

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uhoh07
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newer J8s not bad.
In reply to kaktusss, Jun 5, 2011

The jupiter 8 is regarded as the best of the soviet 50s by the afficianados--though I know John feels otherwise. At RFF they love the thing.

I tried i-61 LD, only good at f11

but my J 8 is quite good right from the start.

centers are quite sharp from 2.8 on.

another note: while newer i61s and J3s are often not great, the black j 8s are regarded as just fine.

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John Bean (UK)
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Re: newer J8s not bad.
In reply to uhoh07, Jun 5, 2011

uhoh07 wrote:

another note: while newer i61s and J3s are often not great, the black j 8s are regarded as just fine.

The optics are much the same in all J-8's, I was specifically referring to the ergonomics of the focus mount of the black version.

To be honest the optical performance isn't the biggest deal for me, although my experience of the J-8 and I-61 is the reverse of yours with the "good" I-61 slightly ahead of the J-8 and certainly sharp wide open. More important though was the overall "look" of the image which - for me - made the I-61 a clear winner even though "sharpness" was similar in both lenses.

I would have put up with the ergonomics of the J-8 had it been an outstanding lens... but for me it wasn't.

There are no absolutes in the definition of a "good" lens; everything depends on personal preferences. Fortunately there is choice; choice is good

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kaktusss
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Re: newer J8s not bad.
In reply to John Bean (UK), Jun 5, 2011

Thanks a lot for your advice to both of you.
I've come across this nice article :
http://www.collection-appareils.fr/avoscrayons/html/50mm.php

The original article is in french (which is great for me :)), but the english translation is on the right column.

The Industar is certainly a bad sample because it has given terrible results. It seems like the best J-8 were made in the fifties and the worst were made in the sixties. The J-3 can give awesome results but it's too expensive compared to the risk to receive a bad sample.

About the I-61, it seems difficult to find a older sample. Maybe I'll buy one later.

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John Bean (UK)
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Re: newer J8s not bad.
In reply to kaktusss, Jun 5, 2011

kaktusss wrote:

The Industar is certainly a bad sample because it has given terrible results.

Yes. I had a modern I-61, it was awful. The original version was by far the best - basically an improved I-26 with rare earth glass and better coatings but keeping the 10-blade aperture and good build quality of the I-26. Poor QA and even cheaper construction made the later versions of the I-61 something of a lottery.

About the I-61, it seems difficult to find a older sample. Maybe I'll buy one later.

True. I certainly don't recommend the "new" I-61's that flood ebay. Junk.

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