Zenit MC Helios 44m 2/58mm Lens Review

MC HELIOS-44M-6 2/58 m42 USSR lens. 


I have always enjoyed tinkering with alternative gear, even back to my DSLR days...
The Fujifilm X Series cameras offer an incredible advantage over your typical DSLR cameras. That advantage is the manual focus capabilities. I know, many ( if not most ) of you readers are saying no AF? But hear me out, since when has autofocus been accurate, let alone good on any camera platform ?

First off, I have owned everything from point and shoot cameras, to film 35mm, medium format film cameras,  to high end 4x5" studio cameras. Ive had Canon® APS-C, and FF, Ive owned Nikon® APS-C and FF,  Ive owned Mamiya®/Phase One® Medium format, I've even owned a 4/3rd Olympus® ( for about an hour) :D , So let us just say that my experience with autofocus cameras has been pretty well rounded over the last 20 or so years.
I have been experimenting with Fuji over the last 5 or so years. I admit that I didn't keep all those cameras, though it wasn't because of the cameras deficiency, it was more of a lack of understanding and my unwillingness to adapt, and be willing to endure a learning curve.  Fuji has by far the most interesting color profiles built into their latest cameras. The Chrome, and Acros are sublime. The options for focus control include a variety of focus peaking options, as well as a zoom in function which is amazing for making sure subject is "truly" in focus before you shoot, that's just not something a DSLR can do through its viewfinder.  The camera's are just plain fun to use, and bring back the feeling of film, but without the expense and headaches.

The lens, is built like a Russian Tank, its solid as any Zeiss or Leica from its era.. The lens has great Bokeh, ( shallow depth of field ) Mine is a m42 mount in which I use a simple cheap ( eBay ) m42 to FujiX adapter, you don't need any thing fancy, these are available online from $10-25 range.
Just get one in black, as to make sure no reflections are happening inside the tube. The lens is defined, but not sharp wide open, which is perfect for most portraiture, its pleasing on skin, and has a watercolor effect with backgrounds when shot at f2 ( wide open ). soon as you get to f2.8 you then start to get a sharper image with much more natural in lens contrast.  I pretty much use it at 2.8, but thats more my style preference than a recommendation. I will try to add some more sample shots this summer when time allows.

Take a look at the lens and feel free to contact me in regards to the using alternative lenses on the Fuji X Series cameras.

Craig Anthony Rybarczyk
Fisher Images


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