Helios (lens brand)

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Helios 44-2 lens mounted on a Praktica MTL 5B
Helios 44M-4 lens, 58mm f/2, in M42 screw mount
Helios 40-2

Helios (Russian: Ге́лиос) was a brand of camera lenses, made in the USSR. They were usually supplied with Zenit cameras and thus usable with other M42 lens mount cameras such as the Pentax Spotmatic. Some later Helios models were built also for the Pentax K mount.

The Helios-44 and Helios-40 are derivatives of the Carl Zeiss Biotar optical formula. As all lenses based on the Biotar formula, the Helios-44 and Helios-40 produce an unusual "swirly" bokeh effect to the out-of-focus background. The bokeh "circles" become more elliptical in shape as you move away from the center of the photo. This optical phenomenon gives images rendered by these vintage lenses a distinct character, which has created a cult following among fine art photographers.

List of Helios lenses[edit]

Helios Lenses from KMZ[cite 1][cite 2]
Model Mount Focal Length Maximum Aperture Minimum Aperture
Helios-1 50mm ƒ/2.0
Helios-2 M42 45mm ƒ/2.0 ƒ/16
Helios-3 100mm ƒ/2.0
Helios-23 35mm ƒ/2.0
Helios-27 135mm ƒ/2.0
Helios-29 25mm ƒ/1.5
Helios-31 40mm ƒ/1.4
Helios-32 15mm ƒ/2.0
Helios-33 M28 35mm ƒ/2.0 ƒ/16
Helios-34 15mm ƒ/4.0
Helios-35 15mm ƒ/1.5
Helios-39 25mm ƒ/4.0
Helios-40 M39 85mm ƒ/1.5 ƒ/22
Helios-40-2[exp 1] M42 85mm ƒ/1.5 ƒ/22
Helios-41 150mm ƒ/2.0
Helios-42 27mm ƒ/2.8
Helios-43 19mm ƒ/1.5
Helios-44[exp 2] M42, K 58mm ƒ/2.0 ƒ/16
Helios-49 75mm ƒ/1.5
Helios-50 100mm ƒ/1.5
Helios-51 200mm ƒ/1.5
Helios-52 150mm ƒ/1.5
Helios-53 M42 200mm ƒ/2.5 ƒ/16
Helios-54 135mm ƒ/2.0
Helios-55 200mm ƒ/2.5
Helios-57 9mm ƒ/3.5
Helios-58 10mm ƒ/1.6
Helios-61 80mm ƒ/2.5
Helios-62 29mm ƒ/1.8
Helios-64 44mm ƒ/1.8
Helios-65 M42 52mm ƒ/2.0 ƒ/22
Helios-66 10mm ƒ/3.5
Helios-67 200mm ƒ/1.5
Helios-68 200mm ƒ/1.5
Helios-70 M42, K 52mm ƒ/1.9 ƒ/16
Helios-76 35mm ƒ/2.0
Helios-77 75mm ƒ/2.0
Helios-77M M42, K 52mm ƒ/1.8 ƒ/16
Helios-77M-4 M42, K 50mm ƒ/1.8 ƒ/16
Helios-79 45mm ƒ/2.0
Helios-81 F 52mm ƒ/2.0 ƒ/16
Helios-85 M42 85mm ƒ/2.0 ƒ/16
Helios-88 M42 50mm ƒ/1.9 ƒ/16
Helios-89 30mm ƒ/1.9 ƒ/16
Helios-94 Contax-Kiev 50mm ƒ/1.8 ƒ/16
Helios-97 M42 52mm ƒ/2.0 ƒ/16
Helios-98 M42 28mm ƒ/2.8 ƒ/16
Helios-101 M42 52mm ƒ/1.8 ƒ/16
Helios-103 Contax-Kiev 53mm ƒ/1.8 ƒ/22
Helios-107 M42 65mm ƒ/2.8 ƒ/22
Helios-113 M 40mm ƒ/1.8
Helios-123 50mm ƒ/1.4

Additionally, some lenses were made by Japanese manufacturers and badged as Helios for import to Britain and the Netherlands. They were sold by TOE, the main importer of Russian photographic equipment, if there was no exact equivalent currently available from Russian sources. The most common examples are 28mm f2.8 and 135mm f2.8 auto-stopdown M42 lens, probably manufactured by Chinon.[1]


  1. ^ The 40-2 is not truly a different optical formula, however its filter diameter was increased from 66mm to 67mm, and its tripod collar was made rotatable. This allows for easier mounting on some cameras. Reflective coatings have also been changed.
  2. ^ There have been many variants of the Helios-44 produced since its inception.


  1. ^ Zenit Lens Catalog (in Russian)
  2. ^ [1]

  1. ^ "Helios Lenses... made in Japan?". Flickr M42 Discussion Group. Retrieved 26 December 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)