Made in USSR

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by machts gut, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. I recently found a Revueflex B, actually a Zenit B, with a Helios 44-2 2/58. I got it for little money and bought it more out of historical reasons. It turned out to be quite a fine maschine :))
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  2. Yes, it can be pretty sharp and distinguishes the colours quite nice. Even on Kodak amateur film, expired 2001.
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  3. What if you get closer?
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  4. I guess the best use of it for me is for portraits.
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  5. Very nice.
    Save your all-Union Rubles, the USSR shall rise again!*
    *(parochial reference to the old "save your Confederate dollars, the South shall rise again" cry of the unreconstructed following the US Civil War)
    I think the Helios is a clone of the Biotar 58mm f/2 lens, one of the real prizes of the Zeiss Jena line-up. Normally, in my experience, the Soviet-made versions are very fine too.
    You've obviously figured out the rewind controls ;) so have fun. My version of this is the Zenit ET without aperture automation, but also with the Helios. Made like a brick.
    You may know that a manual is available for download at Butkus's admirable site (link ), if you don't have one (although to figure out the rewind release, you either have used other old Soviet cameras, or have a manual, right?). I can say it was not obvious to me, although I may be exceptionally untalented, I suppose.
     
  6. "Aperture automation" - what's that? The only automatic of this camera is that transport and shutter are coupled:). Yes, the rewind mechanism is unusual. Thanks to the archives I found advice on pn.
    The lens is really fine. I'm really looking forward to useing this camera from time to time. Next time with some Neopan in it.
    The next cam I'm throwing an eye on will be a Practica. I know you are collecting them, too. My first SLR was a LTL I got when I was 14. I sold it some time later in favour of a Minolta, but thanks to digital photography buying eastern cameras turns out to be much fun. In germany there is a huge market, too.
     
  7. Aperture automation is where a pin on the back of the lens is pushed in by a plunger in the camera body so that the aperture stops down to the opening that you've set it at. If there is no pin, then you've got one with a "preset" dial. Either way, I've had nothing but good experiences with Helios 44 lenses. The only fundamental limitation to a Zenit is that they are designed for shutter speeds no longer than 1/30 second. For normal photography that's no problem. Personally, I use longer shutter speeds at times so I like shutters that go up to one second. Other lenses that can be fun are the Industars and Jupiters. OK, they don't carry the "Nikon" name to them, but they are often very good too. Sometimes the biggest difference in photo quality isn't the name on the lens but who's behind it. Your pictures look quite good to me. I've had limited experience with a Zenit B. It came with an Industar 50. I tested it out for a friend that had just bought it. It was a good issue.
     
  8. Very Fine! I too, have this lens. Mine seems OK, but it was results like you've posted that made me get one! Well perseverance pays off. Thanks for posting!
     
  9. My question about aperture automation was meant to be ironic. Hm, didn't work, that's how it goes with foreign languages. But thanks anyway, Rob.
    Yes there are some limitations, but for other purposes I still have my OMs.
    The lens seems to have a reallly nice bokeh and the focal length suits me well. Just a little bit longer than standard.
     
  10. Very Nice results Stefan! Love the portrait. Thanks for showing us what that lens can do.
     
  11. Excellent pics! I have the Helios 44M lens with the automatic pin for the aperture. It works well on my Prakticas. It is a classy lens on par with the Zeiss Pancolar etc. In B&W the lens is sharp and raises excellent tones, as well. Thanks for the post. sp.
     
  12. The other peculiar thing about my Zenit Helios is that it is a pre-set lens, but the aperture is open when the red mark on the preset ring is on the f/16 or whatever and the lens is stopped down when the preset ring is on the f/2 red mark. I also just discovered that my copy has oil on the aperture blades. I managed to find the Biotar (Exakta mount) disassembly instructions on our own Rick Oleson's admirable pages (link ), but I haven't got the time right now to figure out if the Helios is also similar in mechanical structure as well as optical.
    Yes, I recommend that everyone should have at least one Praktica. My personal experience is that the L series are the best of the M42 bunch, but of course a working meter is always a little problematic on these older cameras (e.g., my Nikkormat FTn) and most of them take the mercury batteries. That's one reason I like the simplest ones with no meter best (L, L2 at Dr. Mike Otto's Praktica listing (link ))
     
  13. I believe you can put a 1.5V AA alkaline battery in L series Prakticas with meters, and compensate for the 1 stop underexposure that produces.
     
  14. JDM, all my older Helios lenses have oil on the aperture blades, makes 'em real smooth....and rust is never an issue!
    Stefan, your shots are really nice, especially the last portrait, I think that you now know what the Helios is best used for!
     
  15. Sweet.
     
  16. John Farrel, the Praktica L-series meters have a bridge circuit and they measure the differential current between the loop in the Light Resisting cell [CdS] and the the tunable potted resistor. Thus the meter is independent of the voltage in the cell, of course within reasonable limits.[You cannot use 110 or 220 Volts! :)] In the PLC series I have used 1.5 volts AA torch cells instead of the recommended 4.5 volts. In the Super TL and MTL series I use 1.5 volt button cells, without any problems. One can also tune and calibrate the Meter easily. I posted a discussion some months ago on a thread with Chris Dzombak in this Forum. Regards, sp.
     
  17. Thank you all for your friendly comments. This forum encourages me more and more to stay with film.
     
  18. Stefan, it doesn't have to be either/or on film and digital. It's fine to "go digital" so long as you don't forget to visit Grandma Film regularly.
     
  19. Zenit B (It is actually reads like V since "B" in cyrillic is corresponds to "V" latin, and "B" in latin corresponds to "Б" in cyrillic). However is indeed a good camera, moste reliable of all amateur Zenits.
     
  20. JDM, the big advantage of being an amateur is that I simply don't have to follow the mainstream. Yes, I have 2 digicams, a p&s and a DSLR. The DSLR stays in the bag mostly; the p&s makes a nice visual notebook. I'm not argueing about the quality. It's just the whole process or better, my workflow. With film, I get more and faster prints that I can share with others. And thats what photography is about: making photos and showing them to people.
    I have an 8-year-old daughter. I guess sometime later in her life she will have my photos and negatives. Probably many of them will not have any value for her, but maybe she will take some time to hold them against the light and see whats on those funny looking, small strips, like I do now with the negs of my parents and grand-parents. She probably won't do that with those many files on my computer. But I can be wrong on this.
     

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