Best Helios/Jupiter/Vintage Lens for filming??
October 7, 2019 1:31 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a lens to shoot video on my Sony A7ii and as much as I am actually interested in aberrations and imperfections (the 'character' of vintage lenses) the swirling bokeh that seems to be standard on the Helios 44-2 & Jupiter 9 (two of the most recommended lenses it seems) happens a little too much character for my tastes. Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced vintage lens (Helios, Jupter, otherwise) that doesn't feature this particular swirling bokeh??
posted by dr handsome to Media & Arts (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm really partial to the build quality and character of the Pentax Takamur line (in particular the 50mm f/1.4).

Pretty much any lens that's more than say 30 or 40 years old will give you some character. The faster the lens the more the character too, so maybe look at the 135mm f/2.8 - 3.5 and 50mm f1.4 - 2.0.

Swirly bokeh even with the correct lens is kind of hard to achieve. I have a Helios 40-2 and hitting the swirly bokeh requires some pretty careful distances between the subject and the background and the subject and the photographer.

One last thing to look at is what mount the lens you buy will use. The Sony with an adapter will be compatible with most SLR lenses, but some mounts are annoyingly rare. Unless you have a good reason not to, I would stick with the m42 mount.
posted by gregr at 1:49 PM on October 7, 2019

I've played with a few of the Helios and Jupiter lines while they are interesting for still photography I'd say they are too much for video work. Also the lenses I've encountered seem to vary wildly - I've had had 2 Helios 44-2 that produced surprisingly different and unpleasant results. I feel with the Russian/Soviet glass you really have to go all in with the imperfections.

Dr. Handsome's Takumar suggestion is a good one. Those lenses have a really nice character that modern glass doesn't have. I'm partial to the old Olympus glass - either their OM line or their original half frame Pen line.

You could try lenses from old cine or slide projectors - I've seen some interesting results from those.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:30 PM on October 7, 2019

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