The Helios lenses have really grown in popularity over the last few years for their classic rendering and crazy swirling bokeh. But are they really any good? With all the awesome new third-party lenses out of China or Japan, the Helios lenses no longer get as much attention as they used to, but they're still fun lenses to shoot with if you can get a good copy.
When I first started using Aurora back in 2017 it really felt like the beginning of something awesome. Like the baby alien that just burst out of Kanes chest in the first Alien movie, it took off running doing all these mysterious things behind the scenes. The little creature continued to grow while occasionally popping out for an update here and there. It was exciting and still powerful, but we only got to see hints of what this beast would become. Finally, with the launch of Aurora HDR 2019, it's true form has been revealed as the perfect landscape devouring monster.
You've probably seen a lot of comparisons between the Nikon D850 and the Sony A7rII or A7rIII these last few weeks, comparing sensor sharpness, dynamic range or low light performance. But they often make one critical mistake, they don't use the same lens. So to compare both cameras, I wanted to use the same lens. To do this, I employed an old and very sharp Helios 44-4 58mm lens that I have adapted to both cameras and shot using the exact same settings.
If you're looking to get started collecting old vintage lenses from the 80's and 90's, then the Helios 44 series is a great place to start. They are known for their beautiful large swirling bubble bokeh. There are several variations of this lens all with different character. They are all similar and different but built with the same goal - to copy the Zeiss Biotar.
I pulled out my ol Sony A7rII again. I had to take a break from it for awhile and focus on some of my Fujifilm lens reviews. You know, I never did a full review on the Sony A7r II. Weird right? But there is a good reason . . . I don't really love it. And because I don't love it, it's hard for me to get excited enough about it to spend the time reviewing it. It's almost a super cool camera, almost, but there are a few things that really bother me.