Nick3434 wrote in post #16946842
What is up with Helios producing new lenses again?
Yea... plastic Helios, kind of junky heh.
All Helios lenses swirl to an extent. The older ones (44-2) swirl a bit more. They have a bunch of 44-4 variations out there that don't cost much and are nice and sharp wide open. There's different variations with #'s of blades (which honestly doesn't matter as you don't buy this lens to stop down, where # of blades starts to make a difference for shape and quality of bokeh). They're not "new" like what you'd think, they just were kit lenses for the Zenit cameras in the USSR. They do make them still, they're plastic though, and still swirl. Tons of them out there, so they're cheap. The 44-4 is probably the better buy if you want a cheap, sharp wide open, very nice little manual lens for dirt. $30~40 for a nice prime that is sharp at F2 and just as sharp as anything else stopped down. The 44-2 is the one you get if you want more swirl, and more of the old Helios character. The later ones, like the 44M-7 are the "better" ones in terms of technically better optics, but cost more.
The value of old lenses used to be much more. When the 40 F2.8 and the 50 F1.8 II are around, it's hard to choose to pay $30~60 for an old lens, or get a modern one for $100~150 with Autofocus. Granted, the modern ones listed there are not F1.4, and/or do not have interesting old bokeh patterns that some really like (I like the swirl flaws, some think it's terrible).
The real loss of value is the Helios 40-1/2 and the Jupiter 9's. Those are sweet lenses, but they went from being cheap to ridiculously expensive over the past few years. You used to get the Helios 40-1 for $150 or so. Now they're $450! Stupid. Since you can get a Samyang 85 F1.4 for $280. And of course, you can get a Sigma 85 F1.4 with Autofocus for double the cost of the Helios, but that's still way too expensive for a lens that old that is manual that doesn't say Carl Zeiss across it (though it shares designs with Carl Zeiss lenses).
A lot of why people use these lenses isn't because they're better than current lenses. It's for the sake of using vintage equipment in a modern way. It's a challenge to use manual gear rather than today's simple autofocus stuff.
I use mine in low light very often, where autofocus hunts even on my good new lenses. But manually, I can bang out photos with an old manual lens (they're easier for me to focus with, their rings are totally different than today's modern lens's manual focus rings which are way less sensitive to me).