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Hello From Nuu

I'm having difficulties coming up with good puns on the topic of prime lenses, bokeh and such, so bear with me on the titles, please! :D Anyways, this post has nothing to do with date-rape or the song by same name, but all to do with Helios 44-2 and Super-Takumar.

So yey, I got my Super-Takumar home too yesterday! It is a 50/1.4 prime lense which is said to be super sharp. The above photo of Nuu was taken with (full possible aperture) f1.4, 1/80, ISO200. First I have to say that I had thought that this old lense would yellow, but I like the photos quite straight off the camera! Thenagain, I tend to give a yellowish colour cast to my pictures, so it might just be that ;) I did a bit of contrast light/contrast editing to this photo, but quite a bit less than what I usually do.

I'll also note that I got my cool white lamps home as well ^-^ The pics were taken indoors, in a dark room with the dual lamps. Looks very daylighty to me, so I'm pleased! I bought these Mantra bulbs, in case anyone in Finland wants to get the same ones.

So, with the lights all set up, and the two vintage primes at hand, I took some comparison shots. Sadly I couldn't take any with my Canon 50mm prime, since my camera bag was in the room that Loki was sleeping in and I didn't dare risk waking him up. But this was a very quick tryout anyway, I'm still planning on a better comparison outdoors, where I can show full bokeh effects as well. All of these images are unedited, not cropped, not colour/light corrected. Just straight off the camera (well, I shoot in RAW, so they've been saved into JPEG in Photoshop). I had my camera on Auto White Balance.

160123 Nuu 01 with Helios44

First, a shot with Helios 44-2, f2 1/100. You can see now that the Helios gives a very low-contrast, greyish/bluish photo. Some call that the real retro look, since older photos tend to be more washed out. I can fix this with Photoshop and adding contrast and tweaking with highlights/shadows makes very vibrant photos to be had.

160123 Nuu 01 with SuperTakumar

Same shot with Super-Takumar (I need to come up with a nickname for this name monster...), f2 1/100. I just screwed off the other lense and replaced with the Taku (hah!), not moving the camera that was attached to my tripod. You can clearly see more contrast and a warmer tone. It is also a wider shot and I have an even better comparison of it below.

160123 Nuu 02 with SuperTakumar

You see, the Taku can focus quite close to subject. I think it says 0,35m on the lense as minimum distance. This is as close as I could get to Nuu.

160123 Nuu 02 with Helios44 unfocused

Now when I switched on the Helios, it could not focus this close at all!

160123 Nuu 02 with Helios44

So I had to move my camera a bit and that's why the doll is not in the same position as in the picture above. Note however, that Nuu actually covers a larger area of the photo than it did with Taku.

This is because the Helios seems to be a slightly longer lense than Taku. Or the distance from the sensor to lense is wider (I'm not that technical). You might not even notice this in regular photography, but it becomes obvious with dolls! Especially tinies.

And here are the two, with Helios being attached to my Canon DSLR. Both lenses came with both caps attached. Taku has the Asahi Pentax logo and Helios has KMZ logo on it.

Taku is supposed to be from the sixties, but it looks brand new! There is hardly any wear on it at all. At the back of my mind I'm thinking I was cheated and this is some new lense after all :D But as it functions just as I wanted it to, I wouldn't mind after all...

The markings on the lense.

The Helios has much more wear and tear, but it is all cosmetic and mentioned in the sales. I don't mind that the paint is chipped, as long as the lense functions as I need it to :3

Helios was indeed made in the USSR, and probably would withstand much more damage than what it has already gone through.

The markings on the Helios. I was really happy to have found a KMZ factory version of it! That arrowy logo (some call it a seagull?) marks it as a KMZ product.

And a shot of the adapter ring I bought. I bought it from Ebay and for the price it seems very durable and of good quality. It is all metal and weighs heavy on hand. It locks onto Canon's mount very well and the M42 lenses screw onto it tightly. I have nothing bad to say about it!

I'll hopefully post more reviews/comparisons soon. And if you have any questions, I'll try to give you a comprehendable answer in the comments! :P


  1. I'm in love with the taku lens!!! even the color it gives is nice~ and I think it can focus closer than the canon one by the look of this.
    Everything made in the sixties was made to last a lifetime, or at least last a long time, so that's probably why the lenses are in such a good condition, even if the helios looks in worst shape than the other. It probably wasn't stored well or it was just used way too much haha.

    I'll keep waiting for more reviews, I have to say that this is very useful, maybe in the future I'll be looking for more vintage lenses as well :D

    1. I'm in love with it as well ^-^ I think it works best for doll portraits, and the Helios is more of a special lense used outdoors (as I think I thought it might be). But of course we'll see better after I get more use out of the both of them.


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