Review: Helios-40-2 85mm f1.5 (Nikon F-Mount)

Helios 85mm gservo-20140602-00216

Out of the past comes the Russian-made Helios-40-2 85mm f1.5. A friend said I should try it after they found out I was looking for a Nikon 135mm f2 DC. After doing some research, I decided to take a chance. This lens, which originally dates back to the 1960s, is a passport to old school photography. We test new lenses all the time here–but in the nooks and crannies of the photography world lenses like this still exist. Let’s see why I purchased it.

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The Zenit Helios 40-2 85mm F1.5 Lens is Now Available in Nikon F-Mount

KMZ Zenit Helios 40-2 85mm F1.5 Lens

Back in the good old days during the cold war and thereafter, Zenit was one of the leading Soviet brands of SLR equipment. The manufacturer, KMZ, got under the radar when the Soviet Union collapsed, but their lenses had a renaissance when mirrorless cameras became popular a while back. Recently, the old factory has been reopened and production was continued, and now one of the first “new old” Zenit products is available. It’s the Helios 40-2 85mm F1.5 lens, which was previously a sought-after product on eBay. While the lens was exclusively made in M42 screw mount back in the old days, it now comes in Nikon F-mount, meaning that it can be used on all Nikon film SLRs and DSLRs.

Versions with Canon and Pentax mount have been available for a little while and sell for US-$ 549 at Amazon.com, so we expect the Nikon mount version to retail at the same price. The lens is all manual, but it’s a bang-for-your-buck alternative to the more expensive Nikon lenses.

Via Nikon Rumors