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Purchase from helios44-2. Com?


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I have tested quite few Helios 44-2s and kept only two, but never bought from that site.


The Helios is a very old construction and the sample variation is massive, from lemons to some really nice lenses, even if coating and mechanics were never that great (lack of perfect coating being one of their charms).


Thankfully the first two numbers are normally indicating the year of production. The older lenses tend to be the better ones, since the Soviet Union tried to get them a name abroad. They even succeed in the middle of the cold war at the world expo in Brussels with some lenses.


Beware of years from around the end of the SU, like late 80's and early 90's, things got really chaotic then. I don't know if they are still in production, but I'd rather go for the earlier ones.


Here in Europe there are still quite a few around, namely from former communist countries like Poland or Czech Republic. There are some good sellers from Russia too. Just check carefully with them, quite a few lenses have been "repaired" by amateurs or cleaned to death.

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They're a good value and fun to use as a novelty and to give a unique look.  I picked up a couple in St. Petersburg Russia recently for about $20 each.  If you feel like splurging a bit, there's a guy out of London who modifies them to make colored lens flare, less contrast and other desirable defects, plus he modifies the exterior to give them an unusual look. It's called Dog Schidt Optiks.  They cost quite a bit more, but it's still cheap compared to other lenses, and you can customize the features you want him to build into your copy. 

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