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The Helios 85mm 1.4 - A real Bear of a lens!

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by andreasb, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. A year and a half ago on a whim I bought a Russian manual lens for 56 USD, with a nikon multicoated Nikon F adapter on it to make it work with a Nikon camera. Totally manual so one has to use Manual mode on the D2X (or H or D1X) to be able to meter, it has no predefined F stops, it is one smooth motion from F1.4 to F22 (according to the dial that is) So you see the depth of field "live" so to say until you get to the smaller apertures, when it gets too dark. It is one heavy monster of a lens, apparently a copy of old Zeiss designs.

    It has some very interesting characteristics when you shoot with it wide open, you can get things like this:
    Click on the images for the original sizes...
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Then when you stop it down just a bit, it turns wonderfully sharp, and when you really turn the aperture down all the way to F16-22 it is simply amazingly sharp at least to my eyes:
    View attachment 13414
    and here is one I shot the other day:
    View attachment 13415

    I dont know if the sharpness comes through by using Pbase (I hope so)

    I call this the Bear of lenses, and it can be had for almost nothing on Ebay at times, one only needs to get a Nikon adpater to the Kiev 88 Mount or Pentacon 6 mount it comes with.... Sometimes really good can be really cheap, if you can handle it all being manual of course... Here is a picture of it, the big lens on the right side with a 45mm P next to it for comparison
    View attachment 13416

    I wonder how well it fares compares to say the Frankian Beast, I have tried my 85mm 1.4 and it is not as sharp as this one (although it has other benefits as we know)
  2. faenix


    Jun 21, 2005
    Bayside, NY
    Wow what a bargain. The first picture has a mystical aura to it while the second picture dropped my jaws.

    Thanks for sharing!
  3. Remind me to buy one of these!
    You could probably sell that first one for big bucks.....its simply magical.....ethereal....i've never seen anything like it, but I sure would love to be able to create stuff like that. the second one.....that is about the sharpest picture i've ever seen in my life.
    Great work, hope to see more of it....thank you very much for showing us this lens.
  4. and these shots I have posted on Pbase are quite heavily compressed, you should see the NEF's!
  5. Andreas,

    Funny, I was experimenting with the 35/1.4 yesterday in low light with f1.4 and got the identical "foggy" image. I figured uh-oh! something's wrong. When trying 2.0 and 2.8 everything looked normal. The comments from NB were spot on. These may be fast lenses, but the first stop is pretty useless. I don't intend to use the lens in a pj situation, just where the light is low to very low. Since it's tourist shooting I can chimp all I want and shoot over.

    I'm trying to deide whether it's worth the bucks to try the 28/f2 or stick with the 35/1.4

  6. Why not pick up a used 28mm F2 AIS, thay are not exensive and try? I fyou dont like it sell it. I'm so pleased with mine it is very nice even quite wide open...
  7. You've read my mind! I've located a pretty trustworthy source and with your and Bjorn's advice I'll pull the trigger on it.

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