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Tips for using Helios 44-2 with EPL-2

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Adamatic, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. Adamatic

    Adamatic New to Mu-43

    Jun 20, 2011
    Hello all,

    I just bought my first manual lens, the Helios 44-2 from ebay. For those that are familiar with this lens, would you be able to offer any advice on how to properly use the 2 aperture rings? There is one that clicks, which I presume is a fixed position for each aperture indicator, then there is the 2nd aperture ring which is completely variable. I'm not too sure what the purpose of this 2nd variable aperture ring is for.

    Also a 2nd question: does the inherent crop factor of a micro 4/3s camera alter the actual DOF as marked on a manual lens like the Helios? Or does the crop factor not affect DOF in general?

    Thanks for any advice!! :smile:
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    It sounds like you have a pre-set lens. The ring with the stops is the one which pre-sets the aperture to where you want it. The smooth-turning ring switches from wide open to the stopped-down preset.

    This is made for cameras with no auto-aperture (which pretty much can be any camera using a lens which is not native to it). If you stop down a lens on an SLR the viewfinder will go dark if the body can't automatically hold open the aperture wide open while you're composing and focusing. An auto lens will hold the lens wide open until the point of shutter release, at which point it'll automatically stop it down. This gives you both a bright view as well as the lens' most shallow DOF to get critical focus. That's why DSLRs have a "DOF preview" button to stop down the lens manually, otherwise the view you see in the viewfinder is always the wide-open view.

    Basically, the pre-set ring system is the predecessor to Auto-Aperture cameras. It does manually what the camera now does automatically. This is a cool thing when you're using lenses outside of their native mounts.
    The way you use it basically, is to preset the aperture to the f-stop you want to use, turn the second ring wide-open, focus and compose with a bright view, then turn the second ring to where it stops (the pre-set aperture) before you take the photo.

    On your camera, using an Electronic Viewfinder, you do not need to do this to get a bright view. You may want to do this however if you want more accurate focus from the shallow DOF and a clearer view with less noise while focusing. The fact that we can get a bright view even stopped down is what makes manual lenses so much more efficient to use on non-reflex digital cameras than the SLR and DSLR types! It makes using manual lenses a lot quicker and more convenient than resorting to turning the aperture ring all the time.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I used to have one of these lenses. The aperture blades are not designed to spring shut like other lenses - there is no spring mechanism at all, it has what is called "preset aperture." Basically there are 2 aperture rings at the front of the lens. You use the first ring to turn through the f-stops but it does not move the blades. Based on what aperture you "preset" with that first ring, that controls what range you can move the second ring through. It is the second ring that actually moves the aperture blades.

    So for example, if you "preset" the first ring to f/8, then you could use the second ring to close the aperture down anywhere between wide-open and f/8. The second ring moves continuously through that range so you don't have to stop at 2.8, 4, 5.6, etc you can leave it at ~4.2 or 5 any other opening.

    edit: Ned beat me to it!
  4. Adamatic

    Adamatic New to Mu-43

    Jun 20, 2011
    Thanks everyone! I'm a newbie so all that info helped! Time for me to start experimenting!
  5. Declan97

    Declan97 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 3, 2012
    Padang, Indonesia
    Kinda similar with my 1st experience with m42 lenses auto model the one with pin

    Sent from my GT-P1000 using Ep-L1
  6. kurtwist

    kurtwist Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 6, 2011
    Southern Calif.
    Pre set and manual aperture lenses used to be a real pain on mechanical cameras. The finder went dark when you were about to make the exposure, or you could forget to stop it down and overexpose. With electronic viewing they are much easier to use, because the camera adjusts the view brightness at any aperture. Some interesting and often really cheap old lenses get a new life.
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