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Helios 44 M – Lens Review

Helios 44 M Lens Review (2 of 8)

[Today we have our first contribution from Emil Berth, a photo geek and all-around cool guy from Denmark, whose occasional contributing articles we hope you’ll all enjoy. Let’s welcome him. – James]

The recent surge in popularity of mirror-less cameras coupled with affordable lens adapters has effectively elevated a handful of mostly-forgotten legacy lenses to a new level of popularity that they’ve not enjoyed in decades. One such lens bears the name Helios, and the Helios 44 models in particular are regarded by many photo geeks as being among the greatest legacy lenses to come from the long-departed U.S.S.R.

But why does this lens enjoy such cult status these days? What makes it so desirable compared to its German and Japanese contemporaries? Is it especially lightweight? Does it produce exceptional sharpness?

We wanted to know, so I took the lens for a little walk around Copenhagen to see what it could do. Continue Reading

Canon FD 24mm F/2.8 S.S.C. – Lens Review


Not long ago, we penned an opinion that every photo geek should own a wide-angle lens. In case you missed it, we heralded the incredible ability of wide-angle lenses to present a vision of the world that just can’t be captured by a standard or telephoto lens.

Taking our own advice, we spent the past few weeks shooting wide, and today we’ve got a review of a pretty fantastic wide-angle lens. It’s Canon’s FD 24mm F/2.8 S.S.C., and whether you’re shooting a vintage film Canon or a new mirror-less or DSLR camera, it’s one of the best values in wide-angle photography.

It’s not a perfect lens, but this legacy glass just might provide everything we’re looking for in a wide focal length.

Should you add this beautiful chunk of glass to your camera bag? Let’s find out.

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Pentax – A SMC 35mm F/2.8 – Lens Review

Pentax A SMC 35mm 2.8 Lens Review

We’re back from a brief vacation and we’ve brought with us a treasure trove of material for our Photophile friends! First on the docket is a review of a pretty rare and rather wonderful legacy lens from Pentax. It’s the SMC Pentax-A 35mm F/2.8.

During our journey up and around Maine’s rocky coast, we shot this hard-to-find lens in a variety of stereotypically autumnal New England situations. We peeped leaves and hiked trails, we strolled through colonial fishing villages and sipped nutmeg-infused beverages, we basked in fleeting sunshine and we froze our asses off. And of course, we snapped photos.

We really wanted to put this lens through its paces to see how it performed on both vintage and digital cameras, so we not only shot it on a pair of classic film machines (the Pentax ME and the Ricoh XR-1), but later adapted it to the Sony A7 as well.

How did the SMC-A 35mm/2.8 comport itself? We’ve got the inside scoop on this uncommon assemblage of glass.

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Minolta MD 50mm ƒ/1.4 – The Ultimate Standard Legacy Lens?

With the runaway success of today’s mirror-less digital cameras has come another photo gear boom. And while the products in question are neither new nor novel, they’re essential and seem almost tailor-made to the mirror-less machine. We’re talking about legacy lenses. With impressive performance and value, legacy lenses have become a real passion for more and more in-the-know shooters.

And it’s easy to see why. Cameras like Sony’s A7 and Fujifilm’s X-Series have never looked better than when fitted with a classic, manual-focus lens. These modern, mirror-less marvels provide a perfect platform for the stylish and technically masterful lenses of yesteryear.

But with so many brands and models stretching back more than fifty years, which is the lens to choose? Especially in the standard 50mm focal length, the sheer quantity of available glass can be pretty overwhelming.

So, today we’ll make a case for what may just be the very best standard, 50mm legacy lens. With an ideally balanced combination of performance, build quality, versatility, and price, this lens is the perfect complement to your new mirror-less camera or classic film SLR.

It’s Minolta’s MD 50mm ƒ/1.4, and if you’ve been looking for the best legacy fifty, you may have met your match.

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Olympus Zuiko Auto-W 28mm ƒ/2.8 – Lens Review

Olympus OM System Auto-W Zuiko 28mm 2.8 19 (1)

We’re back with another lens review, and this time we’re taking a look at a sleeper lens from Olympus. The OM-System Zuiko Auto-W 28mm ƒ/2.8 doesn’t look like much on paper, but its fun-factor, price, and versatility set it apart from many higher-spec lenses.

This lens, when shot within its limits, is capable of creating some really incredible images. It’s sharp, well-corrected in normal shooting situations, and offers a nearly unbeatable value for the money. Equally at home on a mirror-less camera, DSLR, or classic film machine, it’s a lens that any shooter can enjoy.

To find out if this little lens packs enough punch to earn a spot in your camera bag, read on.

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