Sunday, 15 January 2012

Über Bokeh Monster..

This lens has gained a bit of a cult status and is sort after by both still and video photographers. Its the Russian built Helios 40-2 m42 mount lens.

Originally designed to be used as an oscilloscope lens, I don't know who started to use it on a camera but what a discovery !

Its has an 85mm focal length with a minimum aperture of f1.5, yes, I'll say that again, f1.5 ! That makes it a really, really fast lens and the focal length is just perfect for portraits (for example). But really what is all the fuss about. Well, we arrive once again at something called 'bokeh', and the popular opinion is that this is one of the best. Bokeh really is a personal thing but this lens really does have some wonderful abilities.

Here are a couple of images to give you an idea, and what you will see is that depending on where the highlights are you will get one effect or another, from buttery smooth to crazy swirls.

You've probably guessed it already that the club has managed to get its hands on one of these fine lenses. However, lets get a few things straight, its manual focus, you have to set and 'activate' the aperture manually, and f1.5 means that depth of field can be measured millimetres at close distances, and it has an m42 mount which probably doesn't fit any of the camera's we own, and its heavy.

I know, I know, before you all start shouting at me for such a stupid purchase, we also have two converters for both Canon and Nikon mounts (now all the Nikonians can't start complaining theres no lens for them this year !). The Canon converter does have the advantage that the central focus point will flash when the lens is correctly focussed (neat no !?). The Nikon convertor doesn't have this (because I couldn't find this functionality anywhere), but it is specially built such that the lens can be focussed at infinity.

We are really lucky to have picked one up, and in such good condition, and personally I absolutely love it, I'm having a great time using it, you have to take your time and think a bit more, but the results are really worth the extra effort.

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