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Im looking into vintage lenses and I have read that the M42 Helios are the best. Any opinions on that or can you suggest anything better for around the same price?
I have a Helios 58mm f/2.0 which I bought for around £20. It has fantastic character and is fairly sharp. I love it!
I also have a Pentacon 35mm f/2.8, again, bought very cheap (£15 I think...) but it's not a particularly good one!
The slightly more expensive Carl Zeiss lenses (can be around £150) are meant to be very sharp.
Price-wise; you probably can't get anything much better in this price range. Just remember that these are old lenses and can be hard to find a really good one. They're also fully manual - which I find is good for video, but don't expect any auto-focus!
They're generally cheap, robust, sharp (hit or miss), and full of character.
Hope that helps somewhat!
March 9, 2015 at 8:20AM
Super Takumar 55mm f2.0 is wonderful (better than Helios 44?). Many of them, like one of my 2, are slightly radioactive.
May 22, 2015 at 4:07PM
Check the super-takumars, they offer great bang for the buck. Also other soviet brands like mir and jupiter, these are more gloomy/with more character like the helios, more vintage and less contrasty.
April 8, 2016 at 6:51AM
Check out the Jupiter 9. Hit or miss, some have problems with infinity focus and general sharpness, but if you get a good one they're pretty great. 15 blade aperture means really round bokeh even stopped down. The lens is prone to flares and is pretty low contrast, in a nice, warm way. I really like it for portraits and anything that is meant to feel dreamy. They're pretty cheap too. They were made over some 40 odd years, and there's a lot of argument over which years are best. I have a black bodied, knuckled focus ring one from '67, and it's served me very well.
January 31, 2017 at 4:32PM