Vintage Photography with Helios 44

While in lockdown, I have been trying to experiment with my photography to learn more and relieve boredom. Last month I experimented with lensball photography, this month I try some sort of Vintage photography experiment.

The lens I choose to use was the Soviet-made Helios 44-2, which despite its name is a 58mm F2 lens. This lens was selected as it was easy and cheap to get hold of on eBay, my example cost £38. Some of the example photographs on the internet showed a lovely swirly bokeh when shot with a wide aperture.

Vintage Photography. The Helios 44-2 58mm is one of the most mass-produced lenses ever made and can be acquired relatively cheaply. The results can be very soft when using this lens, but the Bokeh is terrific. 

Helios 44-2 58mm lens

To use this lens on a modern camera requires the use of adapters. I rushed in and just purchased a m42 to z adapter, turns out this adapter is for microscopes and proved useless. Luckily it only cost several pounds; however, still a waste of money.

To get this lens to work with my Nikon Z 6, I used an FTZ adapter along with an M42 to F adapter. The M42 to F adapter I used had a glass element which allows the Helios to focus to infinity. I have since discovered K&F Concept Lens Mount Adapter for M42 Mount Lens to Nikon Z Mount, allowing the lens to focus on infinity.

Obviously, you don’t buy this lens or similar lenses for tack sharp images when there are so many modern lenses out there. If you are experimenting with giving your photos vintage photography, then the Helios is probably a good starting point. The gallery below were all taken with the Helios 44-2 mounted on a Nikon Z6