Steve Cushing Impresionist Fine Art Photography

Steve Cushing Impresionist Fine Art Photography

Embracing imperfection, recording emotions, one impression at a time…

Helios 65 50 f2

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The Lens details of a series of images taken by Steve Cushing on mirrorless camera.


Soviet lenses have a strange background in comparison with their German and Japanese counterparts. Some optical designs, such as the Helios 44 are direct copies of the Biotar and Flektogon series made my Carl Zeiss. The Jupiter 11-A has the Sonnar design. However, what makes them stand apart is that even if they are copies they still have a unique image rendering.

The names of the Soviet lenses often featured cosmic themes rather than optical design names such as Jupiter, Vega, Helios, Tair. In the Soviet era, everything that is connected with space was a trend. And they called the cosmic names of not only for their lenses, but other items such the tape player "Vega" motorbikes "Jupiter," and so many more products. Soviet lenses can be divided in two ways. Sometimes the name states the optical design (Helios, Industar, etc), The second way to clarify them is the brand of the manufacturer (Arsat, Zenitar, BelOMO).

The first way implies that the name of the lens attached specific optical design. This logic is likely to have been borrowed from the German company Carl Zeiss. Historically, after the WWII the Soviet Union brought the reparations of the optical factories from Germany, with raw materials and blanks, and also received the right to use certain optical designs, it is mostly the firm Zeiss.

But as the companies developed, Soviet designers took Zeiss lenses, produced them with Soviet types of glass and put them into production. So developed legendary Soviet lenses. Some optical designs were also invented by Soviet designers. For example Tair, Telear, Kaleinar etc.

This Lens

Some vintage lenses are rare, some are Ultra rare like the Prototype Helios- 65, a lens that was produces in 1965 in Kiev. This Soviet Lens is so rare that its mount is not available on the market for adapting it on any camera.

The Helios 44 series is known for its swirly bokeh. It is considered to be one of most mass-produced lenses in the world. I have reviewed a few here and just love its bokeh.

The 65 is a smaller version of the Helios 44-2 who is famous for it's swirly bokeh, but  ... Oh boy this 65 is way better ... the swirl are so strong and the center of the image is so sharp. It is the predecessor of the much more common Helios-81.

The calculation of Helios-65 was carried out in 1957 by the State Optical Institute (GOI). The task was to reduce the focal length of Helios-44 from 58 to the classic 50 mm. Helios-65 can be considered an intermediate stage. The types of glass used in it are the same as in 44 Helios. Several lenses were produced on the Helios-65 scheme, which are all prototypes.

Focal length: 50mm
Field of view: 45 °
Frame size: 24 × 36 mm
Number of lenses / groups: 6/4
Working distance - 44 mm
Aperture ratio: 1: 2
Aperture scale limits: 1: 2–1: 22
Aperture blades - 6
Aperture adjustment - controlled from the camera
Near focusing limit - 0.5 m

This is a very rare lens with no adapter so you will need to make your own adapter. As the aperture was controlled within the camera this is a little more complicated than normal as you need to create an aperture control system into the adapter.

I used an FD to EOS adapter to do this first removing the top and bottom mounts from the adaptor.

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Take all the metal away as every mm counts, this lens has a short focal registration. The lens has a small lug that controls the aperture it needs a small slot to created in it so that the turning mechanism can control the aperture not ways.

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Now you have done the hard work. You have a system where the turning adapter screw fits into the lens aperture control system.

I put a longer screw to ensure it would not slip out in use.

Glue and screw a 42mm filter step up filter to the bottom of the adapter. You may need to file the step up part off again to gain mm which are precious if you want to add a helicoid like I did and still get infinity focus although not important if you just want to mount the lens.

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Now we just need to add the lens. Ensure the pin is located correctly and that the turn mechanism is in the correct place for the aperture to be opened and closed. Sounds obvious but an easy error to make!

And add a 10-15mm M42 helicoid and I have a working lens, infinity and macro focus…. And an external aperture control wheel!

Lens In Use

  • Lens Elements: 6
  • Aperture blades: 8
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 55cm
  • Weight: 296gr

  • compact
  • interesting bokeh
  • inexpensive
  • easy to find

  • flare prone
  • needs to be stopped down
  • a bit heavy for its’ size
  • chromatic aberration


Finding this lens is like finding a treasure. Apparently, this is also a price to pay for low friction.
Now the Helios-65 Automatic is more likely to be of interest only to collectors. Its non-standard mount and aperture control makes its use with modern cameras a task only for the keen enthusiast.

But if you are just an enthusiast and you are interested in looking at the picture that the 65th Helios gives, then a dilemma arises. All varieties of this lens, except for the Automatic, are super-rare, but the Automatic is relatively affordable and not expensive.
great fun. For its price it is excellent value for money.

For general information on lens design and lens elements go to the homepage HERE


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