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Sony A7CII VS Sony A7II | Vintage Manual Lenses Test

   The Helios 44 – 2 Serial 00 lens is one of the best helios lenses ever made.  It was made in the KMZ factory famous for making some of the best helios copies before they expanded to other factories.  I bought this lens beacause I wanted to own one with this serial number to see how good it can shoot today.  I figured I would test it with both Sony A7II and Sony A7CII to see if I can tell visually the difference between a 24 mega pixel camera and a 33 mega pixel camera.  Can the eye tell the difference?  Can a camera made in 2014 still perform to expectations in 2024 and versus its newest counterpart for shooting vintage manual lens like the Helios 44-2?  A battle royale for vintage lens shooting supremacy:  The Sony A7CII vs Sony A7II.  Which is best for shooting this legend of a lens?  Lets find out.

Technical Specifications Helios 44-2 Serial 00 Lens:

  • Focal Length: 58mm (87mm on APS-C).
  • Focusing Distance: Ranges from 0.5m (50cm).
  • Aperture: F/2-f/16.
  • Lens Construction: 6 elements in 4 groups.
  • Weight: 222g .
  • Filter Thread Size: 49mm.
 
Sony A7CII:
  • 33MP BSI CMOS Sensor.
  • Bionz XR Processor.
  • 759 Autofocus Points.
  • Shoots 10 Frames per second.
  • In boy stabilization at 7EV.
  • 2.36 Million Oled viewfinder.
  • Video records UHD 4k/30p from 7k as well as Super35/APS-C mode.
  • Price: $2200.
  • Released in September 2023.
 
Sony A7II:
  • 24.3 MP full-frame Exmor CMOS sensor.
  • Autofocus system with 25 contrast-detect and 117 phase-detect point.
  • Bionz X image processor.
  • 3 inch LCD with 1.23million dots at 640×480.
  • Video at 108p recording at up to 60 frames per second.
  • Price: $600.
  • Released on November 2014.
 

Lens Adapters:  I used both a K&F Concept adapter and a FotodioX Pro M42 Type 2 adapter on both cameras.  Both performed as expected.  I had no image distortion or shake on either one while testing both cameras on this lens.

 

Lens Build Quality:

  •  The outer casing is made of thick metal with an inner layer of plastic casing.  This is a nicely built lens.  It has a different color scheme with a black,yellow,red coloring.

 

Lens Price for the Money:

  • I paid $90 for this lens.  I don’t go over $70 for Helios lenses but this is a Serial “00” helios lens.  Made in the KMZ factory in Russia, this factory made some of their best lenses before they started making them in other factories.  Great for portraits and close ups.  The further you get after that, the more distorted the image gets.  I don’t recommend this lens for more than that.  It is still a beautiful lens.

 

User Experience:

  • Shooting this lens with both cameras during different days I had almost the same cloudy conditions.  Minimal lighting and it was still a pain to see the quality of shot I was getting.  I had to erase a ton of images because some were blurry.  That is what you get when you shooting an older lens like this regardless of the tech that you are using.  I did love the shots I got, especially botanical with both cameras. This is a really nice lens for close ups and portrait shots.  As soon as you get some distance between yourself and your subject you will start to lose image quality.  Shooting it with both Sony A7CII and Sony A7II at two different locations and at home, I just could not tell the difference between Sony’s latest sensor the Exmor R CMOS 33 MP versus the older Sony A7II and its 24MP sensor.  Keep in mind you are shooting this lens in Manual mode so that will get the cameras in to a more even field.  The A7CII viewfinder is of course better but i still had to battle it to view some of the shots i was taking.  There was not much of a benefit.  To carry, the A7CII is smaller but i also couldnt tell much of a weight difference even though I also had a battery grip on the Sony A7II.  You are supposed to get cleaner images with less noise with the Sony A7CII but again, i just could not tell the difference with this lens.  For the $1600 difference between both, I just could not justify the price difference for shooting a lens like this.  For vintage manual lenses, an older full frame camera like the Sony A7II will still get you very nice shots.  Get a battery grip with a couple of batteries for this camera as it drains fast.
 
 
Shots A7II on Helios 44-2: 
 

Shots A7CII on Helios 44-2 Lens:

Video A7II on Helios 44-2 Botanical tests:

Video A7II on Helios 44-2 Lens at Imperial Beach Ca:

Video A7CII on Helios 44-2 Lens at DownTown Chula Vista Ca:

Video A7CII on Helios 44-2 Botanical Tests:

The Lens Hooche Verdict

   I own both cameras.  I love both for separate tasks.  I use the A7CII for video, content creation and for lens testing.  I use the A7II for Lens testing only.  One camera is currently going for $2.2K USD, the other is way older and you can get at a place like MPB for like $600 USD almost new.  For vintage manual lenses I really cant tell the difference.  I will never carry both cameras due to safety concerns.  I cant afford to lose either one to be honest, but for Manual Lenses and at $600 you cant go wrong with the full frame Sony A7II.  The sensor is much older but honestly i couldnt tell the difference between this camera and the A7CII for shooting this lens.  I did get my Lasik like 13 years ago but they wont redo my eyes yet as the doctor said my vision is still good so i am visually qualified (in my opinion) to tell the difference and I just could not.  My favorite shot of the red rose was shot with the Sony A7II.  It still does the job for stills in 2024.  The winner is the Sony A7II for stills and vintage lens testing.  The A7CII is a much better camera in general (of course) I will never argue that but for shooting manual vintage lenses and for the price difference, the A7II gives it a run for the money.  

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