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Helios 44 58mm or Jupiter 8 50 or something else?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by mbbinvt, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. mbbinvt

    mbbinvt Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 28, 2012
    I'm thinking of buying a cheap, probably Russian, portrait lens. I've read good things about the Jupiter 8 50/2 and Helios 58/2. I'm looking for an m39 mount as that seems cheapest and smallest. But which lens should I get to complement my oly 45 1.8? Or is there some third option that would be better? I've heard great things about old Soviet glass and thought it might be fun to try. Thanks in advance for replies.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Here is what the Helios 44M can do

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/dixeyk/7271297574/" title="Iris by dixeyk, on Flickr"> 7271297574_2a60c37fe8_b. "683" height="1024" alt="Iris"></a>

    Never got close to this with any of the Jupiter 8's I've owned, although I know lots of people really like them.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. AlexK

    AlexK Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 25, 2012
    This is the Jupiter-8. From Zorki 4K which I got from ewbay for $28 in exc. condition. Image quality to price ratio is hard to beat.

    DMC-GH1    ---    0mm    f/1.0    1/160s    ISO 100

    DMC-GH1    ---    0mm    f/1.0    1/400s    ISO 100
    • Like Like x 4
  4. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    I don't have experience with either lens so I can't really give you a recommendation, but I will say that the M39 mount is a great choice since that mount has a register that's just around 10mm longer than :43: so the adapter is fairly small. The only adapters you'll find that are shorter are the Leica-M (some of the most expensive lenses you can find) and C-mount (which often suffer from extreme vignetting).
  5. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    Those are lovely.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    If you're looking for M39 mount then your answer is simple - you need the Jupiter-8, not the Helios 44. The Helios comes in M42 screw mount for SLR cameras and is not a short register like the Jupiter lens which comes in M39 LTM screw for rangefinders.
  7. larsjuhljensen

    larsjuhljensen Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 26, 2011
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Be careful not to confuse the M39 LTM rangefinder mount (aka L39) for the M39 Zenit SLR mount here. The M39 rangefinder mount has a register like you say. If I rember right, the Jupiter 8 is an M39 rangefinder lens. However, the Helios is an M39 SLR lens, and the M39 version has the same register as the M42 version - the only difference is the diameter of the thread. Despite both being called M39, the Jupiter 8 and the Helios will thus not use the same adapter, and the adapter for the M39 Helios will be no smaller than for the M42 Helios.

    Flickr: Discussing M39 and M42 adapters. Do they work? in M42
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    You're right. This has always been a disadvantage of rangefinder lenses over SLR lenses, is the lack of close focus ability. The extra register distance of an SLR mount kinda acts like an extension tube. Of course, the short register also has the obvious advantage in physical size.
  9. Brian S

    Brian S Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 11, 2009
    The Jupiter-8 is much smaller than the Helios-44.

    But- the Helios will focus closer. I always end up using the Jupiters over the Helios.
  10. mbbinvt

    mbbinvt Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 28, 2012
    Saturn vs. Helios vs ?

    Really appreciate all the replies. So, have I narrowed it down to the right lenses? No one yet is making a case for some third lens being better, for the money.

    Part of my hang up in making the decision is that I have a 50mm Meritar lens that came off an old Exakta. That lens is OK, if a bit challenging to focus even with the EVF and with a large adapter, but I'm undecided whether I like the results better than my new Oly 45mm 1.8. I WANT to like the results better in some circumstances, because I just like the idea of using these cool old lenses. Same reason I wish a vintage car would offer the same gas mileage and safety as a new one.

    Part of me thinks that a Helios or Jupiter wouldn't give me much I can't get with the Meritar, though it is admittedly not a lens people rave about. I'll post a sample shot using the Meritar vs. Oly. The Meritar is above, Olympus below.

    I've considered getting a Jupiter 9 85mm instead of the 50, since it would offer a length I don't have covered by another lens, but I worry I won't use that length very much.

    E-PL2    ---    0mm    f/1.0    1/125s    ISO 200

    E-PM1    ---    45mm    f/4.0    1/250s    ISO 200

    Attached Files:

  11. dixeyk

    dixeyk Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 9, 2010
    The Helios 44M and Jupiter 8 are both excellent lenses but there are other terrific FSU lenses. The Industar 50 and 61 are also terrific. Also, remember that you said you wanted an m39 mount lens...the Helios 44 is to the best of my knowledge only m42 mount.
  12. mbbinvt

    mbbinvt Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 28, 2012
    Right. The m42 is not what I'm after. Thanks for the reminder. Hadn't realized there was such a thing as an m39 slr mount, which was distinct from the rangefinder m39. Still unsure whether the Jupiter is different enough from my Meritar to justify the expense. But I'm curious about soviet (fsu) glass, so am considering that 85mm Jupiter. Just wish the 35mm fsu lenses weren't relatively slow.
  13. the.growler

    the.growler Mu-43 Regular

    Here's a side-by-side of the Jupiter-8 mounted on an M39 - Micro 4/3 adapter compared to the Helios-44 (M39) mounted on an M42 - Micro 4/3 adapter to give the proper register. Since no one makes an M39 - Micro 4/3 adapter with the right register for SLR lenses, you have to use the M42 version with an M39 - M42 thread adapter on the Helios-44.

    E-PL2    ---    0mm    f/1.0    1/100s    ISO 1000

    As well as the need for multiple adapters, size and sheer ugliness :wink:, the Helios-44 also presents the challenge of being a pre-set aperture lens, which means in normal use, you're just guessing at the f-stop. (Yes, I know how the pre-set works in theory but I never bother with the multiple clicks and turns required to pick a specific f-stop.)

    Having said all that, the Helios-44 produces fantastic images. It's much sharper than the Jupiter-8 and produces a much more pronounced bokeh effect. Here are a few modest examples of what the lens is capable of; there are wonderful images posted elsewhere in this forum.

    If you're interested in picking up a Helios-44, you should also be aware that there were several models over its production history, not all of which can be successfully adapted to Micro 4/3 cameras. There's a great thread at mflenses.com attempting to catalog all of the variations. The short answer seems to be that the Helios-44 (bare aluminum, M39), the Helios-44-2 (black or "zebra", M42) and the Helios-44-M (black, M42, "pre-set" aperture replaced with a single, standard aperture ring, auto/manual aperture control switch) can be successfully adapted, but that the later Helios-44-"X" variants and the Helios-44 ("Start" mount) cannot.

    If you can put up with its quirks, the Helios-44 will become one of your favorite lenses. But it's definitely a labor of love.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The small rangefinder size of the Jupiter lenses is really what I buy them for in the first place. Performance wise, I prefer my SLR legacy lenses (ie, Zuiko, Konica, Zeiss, etc.). But you can't beat a Jupiter for a compact vintage lens...

    E-PL2    ---    123mm    f/5.6    1/160s    ISO 200

    And that's why I will probably always pick a Jupiter over a Helios, personally. When size is less of an issue, I stick with Japanese and German SLR lenses. Real German rangefinder lenses are hella expensive however, so that's where Soviet lenses step in, offering German design on a Russian budget. ;) 
  15. mbbinvt

    mbbinvt Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 28, 2012
    I ran into a Helios 58mm that's advertised as being the "export version" and an M39 mount. I'm assuming this one is an SLR version of the M39, as there just ain't a Helios like this with a rangefinder mount, right? Can't blame a guy for wishing, especially having seen the extremely helpful visual comparison provided by the Growler (above in this thread). Thanks!
    Here's the ebay ad I saw: Electronics, Cars, Fashion, Collectibles, Coupons and More Online Shopping | eBay /itm/221036947213?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649
  16. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes, that would probably be the M39 SLR mount. :) 

    Wiki actually has a nice list on what mounts the Helios lenses come in...

    However, they only list the Helios-40 (85mm f/1.5) as coming in M39 mount (that would be the SLR type) and they only list the 58mm (Helios-44) as coming in M42 and Pentax K mount. So most likely that list is still a little incomplete (maybe it doesn't include export versions?). Nonetheless, if the lens was originally made for M42 and K mount then it would be designed for SLR use, as I'm pretty sure all Helios lenses are.

    Also note how they say the Helios-44 and Helios-40 were based off the Carl Zeiss Biotar formula. Conversely, most (if not all) Jupiter lenses were based off the Carl Zeiss Sonnar formula.
  17. the.growler

    the.growler Mu-43 Regular

    @mbbinvt: That lens is an M39 mount but requires the M42 adapter to provide the correct register. The "export" versions were stamped "Made in the USSR" on the barrel and the "Helios" name on the front trim ring was spelled in Roman (i.e., standard Western), not Cyrillic, characters - other than that, the lens is exactly the same as the home-market version (despite claims that "export" versions were of higher quality). That's not to say that this is a bad lens - I have one of these versions and it is as good as any early Helios-44 gets.

    EDIT: On second thought, if it really is a Helios-44-2, it will be M42 mount, not M39. It could be a Helios-44 (M39) from the late 1960s/early 1970s in black finish. Either version is going to require an M42 adapter, though.
  18. sLorenzi

    sLorenzi Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 15, 2010
    If size matters, I strongly recommend the Jupiter 8, this lens is very small, and produces nice portraits. Stopped down it's as sharp as the Helios 44, but wide open it's a little softer but very usable.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/slorenzi/6160638279/" title="Enlighten Child por sLorenzi, no Flickr"> 6160638279_8866d5906f_z. "640" height="513" alt="Enlighten Child"></a>
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