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Russian Lensmaker Zenit Announces New Helios 40-2 85mm F/1.5

By Anthony Thurston on April 12th 2015

In the world of vintage lenses, not many lenses enjoy quite the popularity of the Helios 40-2 85mm F/1.5. A Russian manufacturer is hoping to capitalize on that popularity with the announcement of a new, updated version of the lens.


According to the information I have been able to find, the lens is an updated version of the original Helios 40-2, though what exactly has been updated is not clear.  I was able to find some translated specs below:

  • Focal length: 85mm.
  • Relative aperture: max 1:1.5 | min: 1:22.
  • Dissipation factor: no more than 0.03
  • Transmittance: not less than 0.75
  • Working distance: 46.5mm
  • Nikon bayonet
  • Field of view: 28°
  • Focusing range: 0.8 to “∞”
  • Dimensions: 82mm x 96mm (without caps)
  • Weight: 800g (without caps)

The original Helios 40-2 has been a really popular lens for filmmakers, but has also been gaining some notoriety in the photography world as well. Its bokeh at F/1.5 is legendary and it is commonly referred to as one of the most desireable vintage lenses to adapt for mirrorless cameras these days.

[REWIND: 3 Canon FD Lenses Mirrorless Shooters Should Consider]

This new updated version of the lens will be available for around ~$400 on Amazon or Ebay, and is currently available in the Nikon F Mount. You can also get a Canon version with an adapter, as well as an M43 screw mount version – but no prices are available yet on those.

[via Nikon Rumors]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Emilio Savov

    I have a Helios 44-2 58mm f/2.0 and it’s an amazing lens. Someone used to crack nuts with that lens before, but it still works flawlessly and is tack sharp.

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  2. Barry Cunningham

    Since it doesn’t say, am I to assume that this is manual focus only?

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    • J. Dennis Thomas

      Yeah, manual focus only. The original is stop down metering only. I’m not sure if they added auto aperture on this model or not. I would venture to guess that aperture indexing is probably the main (if not only) update.

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