Canon EOS 350D with Helios-44-2 2/58

Veijo Vilva

(Page under Construction)

  • FOV corresponds to a 93mm lens on a 35mm camera

  • a copy/derivative of the Zeiss Biotar
  • a very sharp lens
  • accurate focusing due to the 270 degree focus twist
  • performance more than adequate for most purposes
  • extremely good price-performance ratio

  • the lens is mounted with an M42-to-EOS adapter
  • manual focus
  • AV (aperture priority) or M (manual)


  • my test procedure isn't very rigorous
  • bad results may be caused by bad focusing as manual focusing in dim lighting isn't any too easy when the DOF for this level of expected sharpness is just a few millimeters in either direction
  • the backs of the books aren't at exactly the same depth, the maximum difference is about one inch. Only a few books at the center and at the upper right-hand corner have been aligned - roughly.
  • the test only shows that the specific tested lens is at least as good as my results -- even that individual lens might be better, and others of the same make and model may be better or worse
  • anyhow, the equivalent magnification of the 100% crops is just plain sick, i.e. about 48x on a typical 17", 1024x768 CRT. Normally, 8x has been considered a reasonable maximum for critical sharpness from film. At 48x magnification, a 35mm film frame would be about 172cm (68") wide, and even a 1.6x crop factor dSLR frame would be 107cm (42") wide!

A couple of test shots with my first Helios-44-2

(Later on, I used the body of this Helios to mount another lens, a 1917 VPK Rapid rectilinear)

At f/5.6:

A crop from the center at f/5.6:

A crop from the corner at f/5.6:

A crop from the center at f/2.8:

A crop from the corner at f/2.8:

Another Helios-44-2

Note: All shots hand-held
At f/2

A crop from near the center at f/2:

At f/4

A crop from a hand-held shot so it might be slightly out of focus:

A few more hand-held macro shots:

The bokeh can be rather nice...

... or just reasonable. Local contrast enhancement would make it even worse,
but the original contrast seems to be quite adequate.

A crop:

(A full-size copy, quite a respectable performance, I'd say)

The body of my first Helios-44-2 with the Vest Pocket Kodak Rapid Rectilinear Lens, Remounted

A portrait taken with my second Helios-44-2 at the nearest focusing range.

A 100% crop:

A comparison with my Carl Zeiss Planar 1.7/50mm

100% crops at f/4, both lenses focused at infinity:

Helios-44-2 2/58mm

Carl Zeiss Planar 1.7/50mm

There doesn't seem to be much to choose between the lenses if the resolution difference due to the different focal lengths (58mm vs. 50mm) is ignored. The Helios might have a slight edge, though.


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