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HELIOS 44-2 58mm F2 Review | The Batman Lens

Helios 44-2 WPFI (2)

The Helios 44-2 is my first vintage lens.  I wanted to get something that I could take with me for street photography and short trips and wanted something small.  After watching a few YouTube videos I came across the “Batman” lens.  “What the heck is the Batman lens?”  “No WAY!!!!!” were my thoughts when I watched the first video on this lens.  This lens has been used in The Batmobile car chase vs the Penguin, Dune and Rogue I.  When I found out that they filmed some of the action scenes with the Helios 44-2 I wanted to get my hands on it and own one.  I crossed my fingers and hoped on Ebay to see if I could find a good copy.  Took a couple of days but found a seller out of Ukraine selling one in good shape so I pulled the trigger (I paid $64 with shipping included.  Unfortunately all of these overseas sellers get you with shipping but can’t complain as the average price is about $80 as of the time of writing this post).  Two weeks later the lens got to my home.  I needed an adapter to be able to use this lens with my Sony full-frame cameras so I bought one on Amazon as well (Fotasy m42-E).  Cant recommend this adapter enough, works on all my m42 screw lenses.  Before jumping into some pictures lets talk about the lens.

Technical Specifications:

  • Focal Length: 58mm
  • Aperture: F/2-16
  • Lens Construction: Metal
  • Weight: 230g (you can feel the nice hefty-ness to it)
  • Filter Thread Size: 49mm
  • The specific model i own was made in 1986

Build Quality:

  • This feels like a little metal ball in my hand.  I love how it feels.  Could it survive a fall?  You have a chance with how this lens is made (I would not test it though).


Price for the Money:

  • For the $64 USD i paid for the lens and the $12 adapter this lens is definitely worth it to me.  Will this lens give you the same quality shot as a Sony 35mm GM?  No, but I was not looking for that.  I was looking for a vintage lens that can give me a good vintage look for my images at a good price and I got that with this lens.  This is an excellent lens to take on your walks/trips for street photography and for landscapes shots.   If you drop it and it breaks, then you are out $60-$80 versus the price of a modern lens.   Obviously its good for video too (ask the Penguin 🙂 ).  P.S get a lens hood for it if you plan on getting one.


User Experience:

  • This lens is for M42 mount cameras so if you dont have one of those then you will need an adapter to use on your system.  There is no auto focus with this ole chap so if that bothers you then its not for you.  Manual focus only.   Other then that, i like it alot.  That vintage look with the  bookeh it produces is something i really enjoy when i take it out to shoot.



The Lens Hooche Verdict

Fantastic little lens.  Complete metal from top to bottom and the images it produces are simply fantastic.  Its not a modern lens by any means and you do have to switch to manual mode on your modern camera like i did to get the shot i wanted but it is worth it 100 percent.  took half  a star off because the edges are a bit blurry at the corners and edges.  Pick your poison, the center or the edges and you will choose the center all the time to focus.  Also, flaring is pretty crazy at f16.  Still, love it.  Get yourself a copy but make sure you fully communicate with the seller when you buy one.  My copy came with oily blades which means im going to have to get it cleaned up very soon aka another expenditure i was not expecting.  Obviously, the lens rocks for video, ask Matt Reeves.  I might edit this post later on with a video review.




P.S I tried looking for the exact model used in the movie but so far no dice, have not found it (yet).  They also use a Jupiter 9 85mm.  Will try to get my hands on that one and review it for you all.


P.S.S If you want to take a deep dive into these lenses check out this thread on MFLenses.






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