I was in the Beaches again this past weekend, and my lens of choice was my 58mm/f2 Helios 44/2. I love the overall look and swirl of this lens when used wide open!
Imperfection is the common theme this week; I talk about how I love the artistic effect of the optical imperfections of the Helios 44/2 lens, and the copy of got for my Nikon, tricked out to work on a Nikon body, by this clever technician (fascinating video by the way).
The other aspect of Imperfection is a reflection on my piano lessons and music, and dealing with the ups and downs of the creative process.
Here are a couple of examples of the swirly effect that is possible with the Helios 44 series of lenses.
I am continuing to experiment with my Helios 44/2 58mm f2 lens adapted for the Nikon mount. To get the signature swirly, out of focus bokeh this lens is known for having a suitable background a few feet away from the subject, as well as shooting wide open at f2. This attempt is from St. James Cemetery in Toronto, the subject being a tilted old memorial.
Nikon N90s, Helios 44/2 lens
Kodak TMax 400 film
The Soviet-era Helios 44/2 lens (actually a 58mm lens, and a direct copy of the Zeiss Biotar 58mm lens) has a cult following for the way it renders out of focus areas at wide apertures. I recently got one that had been adapted to work on the Nikon F mount and still focus to infinity, and I have started to experiment with it. The person who did the work on the lens has an interesting YouTube video that explains the process.
Nikon F4, Helios 44/2 58mm lens
Rollei RPX25 film
Most portraits are vertically oriented (hence the term “portrait orientation”). But it is fun to mix things up now and then. Here is another image of my photographer friend Suzanne. To show as much of the Helios 44/2 lens’s optical character (namely the swirl with the lens wide open) I felt the portrait needed to be horizontal.
Zenit 3M 35mm SLR with Helios 44/2 58mm/2 lens
Ilford FP4+ developed in Xtol 1+1 for 9 minutes @ 20 C
Diffusion and toning added in post