Helios-81М 2/53 Review

03/03/2016 - 06:39
Helios-81М 2/53 Review




Helios-81М 2/53 is the kit lens for cameras Kiev-17, Kiev-19, Kiev-20. Prodused on Kiev factory Arsenal. I have seen this lens produced from 1979 till 1982. It maked me think that the lens has been produced at that period of time but exact information I could not find.

Helios-81М 2/53

 

Since 1982, it was maid with multi-coating which reflected trough appropriate inscription in the title — МС Helios-81М 2/53.

Optical design is 6 elements in 4 groups.

Later on, at 1983 it was exchanged by Helios-81Н, about differences later. I also have seen the lens made at 1983 with unusual marks МС Helios-81Н 2/53 with the design of M version.

Lenses has mount Nikon F. The letter "М" in the name scares a little because you can thing that the lens has mount M42 like Helioses 44-x-М, but in reality the mount is Nikon's. In this case the letter "M" means that the lens has "blinking diaphragm". And dose not matter М42 or Nikon. I think that at the years of its production there was not customed yet to mark the "Kiev" mount by the letter "H", but after production of Helios-81H this rule had established.

My copy of 1981 could fit on Nikon after little adaptation.

 

Helios-81М 2/53 Specs

Focal length: 53 мм
Aperture range: f/ 2—16
Weight: 320 г
Length: 42 мм
Filter diameter: 49 mm
Number of diaphragm blades: 6
MFD: 0,5 м

 

Design and Ergonomics of Helios-81М 2/53

The lens has a nice design. Metal corrugated focus ring width of 12 mm is rotated 270 degrees. The front part of the lens extends to 8 mm. The front lens does not rotate.

Helios-81М 2/53

The front lens is slightly recessed into the frame for the better protection from front light.

There is the aperture control ring near the mount. Aperture has 6 petals, petals are not blackened. Iris closes with discrete clicks but has a large number of intermediate values - 2-2.5-2.8-3.5-4-5-5.6-6.3-8-9-11-13-16 (marked by a step) that allows you conveniently adjust DOF and sharpness at the close to open values.

 

Differences Between Helios-81М and Helios-81Н

Comparing this lens with МС Helios-81Н 2/50 you can notice several differences:

Helios-81М & МС Helios-81Н

1. Helios-81М is slightly longer.
2. The aperture ring is 1 cm wide, Helios-81Н has 0,5 cm.
3. The front lens is recessed in the frame.
4. One layer coating with blue tint, МС Helios-81Н has green.
5. Preset aperture ring a little wider.
6. The diaphragm closes smoothly.

I like more the design of Helios-81m and while on the camera it has more aesthetic appearance.

Helios-81М 2/53 on Nikon D80

Mounting on camera view Nikon D80

 

Helios-81М 2/53 Sample Photos

All examples were taken on Nikon D3100. Exports from RAW with a slight exposure correction.

 

The Sharpness of Helios-81М 2/53

On a large aperture the lens has good portrait sharpness. It seemed to me that it was a little better than the lens MC HELIOS-81H and Arsat H 1:2 50mm. Particularly at distances close to infinity.

Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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When you close the aperture sharpness increases. The best sharpness is observed on the values of f/ 5.6 - f/ 6.3.

 

Drawing and bokeh of Helios-81М 2/53

The lens gives a nice plastic figure similar to the pattern of МС Helios-81Н и Arsat H 1:2 50mm, it the same lens with slight modifications in the scheme such as enlightenment.

Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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Like all Helioses it makes bokeh at the mottled background.

Helios-81М 2/53 examples

f/ 2 MFD

Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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Helios-81М 2/53 examples

f/ 2 MFD

Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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Contrast and Color Render of Helios-81М 2/53

In spite of a single-layer coating, the lens has a good contrast.

Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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Helios-81М 2/53 examples

f/ 2 MFD

Helios-81М 2/53 examplesо

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Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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Helios-81М 2/53 examples

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It does not efraid of back and strong side light but it worse than multi coating МС Helios-81Н and Arsat H 1:2 50mm.

Helios-81М 2/53 examples

f/ 2 In front of window

Helios-81М 2/53 examples

f/ 2 Example with strong backlight

I did not notice big differences in the contrast between these three lenses in color render.

Helios-81М 2/53 examples

f/ 2

 

Conclusion
Helios-81М 2/53 is nice lens of Helios family. No worse than their fellow MC HELIOS-81H and Arsat H 1: 2 50mm. I liked it even more than the last two.





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