Helios 40 85mm f/1.5-22.0

Lens categoryShort Telephoto
Vendor nameHelios
Type name40
Focal min (mm)85
Focal max (mm)85
Focus min (cm)80
Aperture max1.5
Aperture min22
Diaphragm blades10
Filter size (mm)66
Center (line/mm)36
Edge (line/mm)17
Helios 40 85mm f/1.5-22.0

Made in Russia by KMZ.
The Helios-40, was originally designed for use with oscilloscopes but later it was found to a good lens for use with 35mm format cameras too
This lens behaves just like the old fast portrait lenses- soft and fuzzy at full aperture, and becoming sharper as the lens is stopped down.
This lens is very good for portraiture and it has good bokeh too.
When buying, note that this lens is only available in silver/white finish and it only comes with an M39 “Zenit” screw thread mount.
So if one is not already supplied with the lens you will have to buy an additional M39-M42 adapter ring to be able to fit this lens onto your M42 mount camera or your non-M42 mount SLR fitted with an M42 adapter.
If this puts you off because you only want the M42 version make sure you buy the later model called the “Helios 40-2”.
The later 40-2 model can be easily distinguist from this older silver/white coloured 40 model because the 40-2 only seems to come with a black finish.
As this lens has a fixed tripod mount bracket you could have bracket to tripod alignment problems due to using the necessary M39-M42 adapter ring, for instance the adapted lens will mount with its tripod collar on one side instead of the bottom- which would prevent convenient tripod mounting of the lens.
This problem was addressed in the later 40-2 model by using a rotating tripod mount.
Also note this lens has a non-standard sized filter thread of 66mm instead of the usual 67mm making it nigh on impossible to use standard sized filters with it. However if you are a dab hand at DIY you could try to make your own 66mm to 67mm adapter which would allow you to use standard 67mm filters, but only at your own risk.
The later 40-2 model has a 67mm filter thread and so it can use standard 67mm filters.
The photos below show both models, the silver/white Helios 40 and the later black 40-2 model.

2 Comment(s). Add a comment or Trackback

  • Davide Cavallaro, Milano, Italy  13:17 May 06, 2008 

    Hi all,
    I own an example of this lens wich features the rotating-collar tripod mount as the Helios-40-2 do, while all the other features are the same of the described version. S/N is 660570. I can send pictures of it upon request.

  • Emmanuel Corr?ia  11:03 Mar 10, 2011 

    H?lios 40 85mm f1.5 .
    A big one 😉 900g ! I love that lens . Very soft wide open but also very sharp after F4.
    C’est sur que quand on appr?cie l’H?lios 44 on cherche vite son grand fr?re l’H?lios 40 85mm F1.5 . Cette focale est ?vidente pour le portrait et sa grande ouverture isole parfaitement le sujet . Ce gros objectif est lourd , encombrant , tr?s soft ? pleine ouverture mais il a un quelque chose en plus qui fait qu’on ne peux plus s’en s?parer 😉

    Lucie avec des fleurs sur la t?te.

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