From Russia With Love

cute puppies

After a very patient 4 week wait (I was only checking the mailbox once or twice…ok, maybe three times once…a day) I received my first prime lens – a helios 44-2 f/2/58mm. Here’s how it looks on the X-e1 – a bit clunky with the adapter – i think I saw it quoted as being ‘a bit steampunk’ on one review.

X-e1 and helios m2

Ok, so technically it’s not from Russia, it’s from Belarus (a country I didn’t even know existed until a few weeks ago) which is right next to Russia.

Why this lens? Because of the swirlies mainly – this lens has a ‘defect’ that makes the bokeh blobs look ovoid, creating a circular pattern in the background. It’s also reasonably sharp and INCREDIBLY cheap as these lenses were mass produced from the late 60’s. I could write a bit of background on the lens, but others have already done a much better job than me, so here’s some of the sites I looked at while deciding which lens to buy:

All the stats and facts as well as some great examples showing results with different versions

Short discussion on different versions

A fantastic blog comparing 3 vintage lenses

A review and some beautiful images by Meng Yeap

Luckily enough the day after I received it I had a shoot booked – even better the shoot involved two of my favourite things…puppies! I has my trusty 18-55mm with me in case the manual focusing became a bit too difficult, but I ended up using the helios for the whole shoot, with some beautiful results. Oh, that swirly bokeh ❤

girl with flowergirl with puppiesgirl with dandelion

The manual focusing could get a bit frustrating, especially with capturing movement and the aperture ring was a bit slippy but I’m possibly just used to the slightly stiffer ring on my 18-55mm. Of course, these lenses are always second hand so it pays to check the description on ebay to ensure the wear and tear won’t effect your photos. All together I’m very happy with my purchase and I can’t wait to add a few more vintage lenses to my collection.

Thanks for reading,

Clever Fox

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