I am real Helios 44-2 58mm F2 “fanboy”; I recommend it to everyone who asks me for a vintage lens advice, but thanks to the video made by fellow vintage lens fan, Victor Bart, there is a “new” kid on the block that we should be taking the notice of. The lens in question is the Pentax Asahi Super-Takumar 55mm F2 which costs about the same as Helios and has similar un-amusing specs. F2 wide open is not impressive at all for a 50mm lens, but as proved by Helios, specs don’t always matter and sometimes slower lenses actually are just as good if not better than faster alternatives.
While Helios is bursting with character including dreamy flares & swirly bokeh, Takumar is a little bit more conservative, but still has a very pleasant look. It’s certainly more suitable for every day shooting where Helios might a bit too much.
It’s also important to note that both lenses perform quite nicely wide open, so even though they are slower than most other 50s, you don’t need to step them down to get usable images.
Is there a winner in this comparison? For me Helios will always be a special lens, but Takumar is just as worthy and is even more suitable for projects when you want a cleaner but still pleasant, organic look.
Thank you to Victor for sharing his review, check out his youtube channel for more useful videos!
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