Browsing the Optyczne.pl website today, I came across an interesting piece of news: the Zenit company is launching the Zenit Helios 40-2 85mm f/1.5 lens with Canon and Nikon mounts. This is a good time to write a few words about this legendary and "cult" lens;-)
The first version, called simply the Helios-40, was optically slightly worse than its successor, the Helios 40-2 and I'm sure it had a silver body. The 40-2 was black, it had a better lens coating and slightly better sharpness, especially at large apertures. Both were large, heavy metal, and both also are famous for a very specific out of focus blur, known as "swirl bokeh".
Należy też pamiętać, że jest to obiektyw manualny, z przysłoną preselekcyjną (jednym pierścieniem ustawiamy jej wartość, drugim domykamy do maksymalnie tej wartości), na dodatek duży i ciężki, więc niespecjalnie wygodny w obsłudze - szczególnie z małymi bezlusterkowcami. Z tego powodu się go pozbyłem, ale muszę przyznać, że czasem tego żałuję...
For this reason, this lens was called the "king of the portrait". One can argue whether this is a pleasant bokeh and whether or not it distracts attention from the model, but you can not deny that it gives some very interesting results :-)
Helios 40, as well as the second version, is not optically perfect, to put it mildly. Wide open is not very sharp even in the center, however, stopping it down improves the situation quite quickly. The edges of the frame remain soft for a long time, but who needs sharp edges in portrait??? The lens is not free from chromatic aberration, and in general it has a lot of faults, but they... actually add to the photos taken with this lens and make them really different and often very artistic and picturesque. For portraits, the background shouldn't be too busy though, to ensure that the bokeh does not dominate the main theme.
Please bear in mind that this is a manual lens, with preset aperture (one ring set its value, the second ring stops it down), and in addition very large and heavy, so not really easy to use - especially with small mirrorless cameras. For this reason I got rid of it, but I have to admit, I sometimes regret it...