Review: Vintage Helios-44 58mm F2 lens on the Fujifilm X-T3

I had mentioned earlier that a nice man had loaned me a couple of vintage lenses, one of which was the Helios-44 58mm F2.

This isn’t that famous Helios-44M-4 58mm F2 but instead an earlier version that predates it.

I was interested in this lens because of all the talk about swirly bokeh -and it doesn’t disappoint. The bokey is loopy swirly. Like the light balls got caught in some vortex.

I had thought that I was a fan of bokeh, which was the whole point of trying this lens out. The artsy feel is fine, however the obliterated background look is perhaps a bit too ‘busy’ and doesn’t really convey any information about the location.

In addition I learned that I wasn’t as good as I thought at focusing manually.

Most of the time, my shots were either out of focus, or focused on the wrong subject.

Exposure was tricky as well, because although the lens opens up to F2, it felt more like F1 or below – resulting in many of my shots were incorrectly exposed.

Wide open, the lens is ok but overall it’s not sharp.

The additional time taken to set up a shot (focusing, setting exposure etc) resulted in a great many missed or bungled shots.

Some might say it would be a great lens for street photography but I’m probably not at the level yet.

In conclusion, this lens didn’t ‘spark joy’ for my shooting. I frequently found myself frustrated while shooting, and when I reviewed the results later – I didn’t quite like what I had shot either. It’s a great lens – but perhaps better used in the hands of a different photographer.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Vintage Helios-44 58mm F2 lens on the Fujifilm X-T3

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’ve always pushed aside the idea of trying vintage manual lenses because I feel I’m already struggling to get good photos with contemporary gear :p

    Maybe one day… but until then I have much to learn and digest.

    Liked by 1 person

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