Iron Glass Adapter, a really cool and young company specialising in repairing and modifying Soviet-era lenses, has announced the Helios 44-2 58mm f2.0 Cine Edition VLFV lens, which takes a classic Russian lens from decades past and gives it a “cine conversion” making it suitable to withstand the rigours of modern-day professional video production.
The Helios 44-2 58mm f2 is well known for its dreamy flares and vintage character, however anyone that’s ever used this M42 mount stills lens on a modern DLSR or mirrorless camera knows how much the ergonomics suck.
However, Vintage Lenses for Video, a popular Youtube channel for vintage glass, has teamed up with Ukraine-based Iron Glass Adapters in order to resurrect the Helios 44-2 and give it the cine conversion treatment with a proper cine lens body, improved iris and focus ring with industry standard pitch gearing for follow focus use, not to mention a 95mm front.
Images by Iron Glass Adapters
This modification appears to be a proper rehousing, not just a fluid aperture mod with some 3D printed 0.8 pitch gear rings; quite the opposite. It appears that Iron Glass Adapters have really put in the hard work to create something special, giving a beloved Russian lens a brand new cine housing, with greatly improved its usability for video production.
The confusing preset aperture control, unreliable M42 screw mount and wobbly body of the original decades old Soviet design have been removed, while a new lens body has been carefully crafted providing plenty of useful features, like integrated follow focus gears, permanent PL or EF mount, а 270 degrees focus throw, an industry standard front, expanded focus distance markings and more.
Helios 44-2 58mm f2.0 VLFV Cine Edition Specifications
Sensor Coverage: Full Frame 36x24mm
Focal length: 58mm
Outside diameter: 95mm
Filter size: 92mm
Minimum Focusing Distance: 0.5 metters
Focus ring rotates 270 degrees
Viewing angle: 40 degrees
Diaphragm scale: from 2 to 16
Quantity of petals of a diaphragm: 8
Inside: 6 glasses in 4 groups
Modul Focus & Iris gears: 0.8(32pitch)
Weight: 550 gramm
One of the goals these guys had was to make this cine conversion as affordable as possible for indie filmmakers. Cine conversions can cost in the $2-3K mark and even more without supplying the underlying glass, but in the case of the the Helios 44-2 Cine Edition by Iron Glass and VLFV you get it for $950 USD, which is very affordable in my opinion. The Helios 44-2 is due to ship in December.
You get a choice of PL or EF mount in either feet or meters. The Helios 44-2 58mm f2 Cine Edition is said to be the first in a set of 6 primes, including a 20mm, 28mm, 37mm, 85mm and a 135mm due to ship (estimated) in January 2020.
The 37mm and the 85mm are based on the MIR-1b 37mm f/2.8 and Jupiter-9 85mm f/2, which can now be pre-ordered as part of a set of 3 lenses for $2850 USD. The 20mm, 28mm & 135mm are TBD.