Specifications of MC Helios-123Н 1.4/50:
Focal length: 50mm
Max and min aperture: F1.4-F16
Number of aperture blades: 7 pieces, grey matte color
Optical scheme: 7 lenses in 6 groups
The diameter of front filter: 52mm
It can be installed on Nikon cameras without any adapter.
MC Helios 123Н 1.4/50 and Arsat 50mm 1:1,4 H are absolutely the same lens with different names. Arsat 50mm 1:1,4 H is a newer version. After the Soviet Union collapse The Arsenal plant began to produce products under the brand name Arsat. Lens Arsat 50mm 1:1,4 H was a standard (kit) lens of the camera brand «Kiev». It can be found the inscription «Made in Ukraine» on the lens.
MC Helios 123Н 1.4/50 is very interesting with its huge aperture of F1.4 and can be simply installed on Nikon. No adapter is necessary. MC Helios-123Н 1.4/50 has the same mount (bayonet mount) as Nikon lens. Old manual focus lenses (with manual focus) are interesting because you can use them on other systems (on cameras from other manufacturers) without regret that you can lost focus. Otherwise , old lenses are more universal in relation to different systems, rather than modern, but it goes without saying that working with old optics is much more complicated.
The main features of MC Helios 123Н:
- When working on modern SLR Nikon cameras semi-automatic aperture control can be operated . This means that you will have to set the aperture on the lens itself.
- Only manual focus. The focusing ring rotates almost up to 180 degrees. The trunk of the lens is extended almost an inch. All lens move in lensunit when focusing. The focus ring is rubberized.
- Maximum lens aperture is F1.4. It’s The kind of lens limit, because all lenses with more aperture are super high-aperture and their price increases dramatically. Aperture F1.4 is brighter than in F1.8 for 1.65 times. MC Helios-123Н has an unpaired number of aperture blades — 7 pieces.
- MC Helios 123Н is well built, without backlash.
- MC Helios 123Н has multicoated. Equivalent focus distance on DX cameras Nikon will fit for 75mm that can be used for portrait photography.
Good sharpness after F2 starts.8. However. MC Helios 123Н suffers from spherical aberrations at open apertures . The Aberration is the main problem with fast lenses. The lens has very little distortion (there is no distortion on crop at all ). Vignetting on crop disappears at F2.8. The color rendition of Helios-123Н is normal, no peculiar «bottle tone». The contrast at full aperture could be better, the contrast increases with the closure of the diaphragm. At F4.0-F8.0 the lens is very sharp. The bokeh of the lens is excellent. Unlike the legendary Helios 81H, MC Helios 123Н doesn’t spin the bokeh.
MC Helios 123Н is one of the few Soviet lenses with such a large aperture F1.4. It’s even brighter than the legendary Helios-40-2. So there are not so many lenses with F1.4:
- Mir 46 35mm F1.4
- MC Zenitar-K 85mm F1.4
- MC Volna-4 50mm F1.4
- MC Zenitar 50mm F1 MA.4
MC Helios 123Н is standard lens with a huge aperture. At open apertures up to 2.8 the soft effect appears because of aberrations, open aperture can be used for portraits. MC Helios 123Н is compatible with modern Nikon cameras . This peculiarity makes the lens very attractive to use. The lens can serve as a creative tool for a photographer.
Michael: Great review! Now I’m thinking about the purchase of 123Н instead of 81 H
Aleks: Nice review. I Wanted to add that this lens sample is very similar to a cheeky copy of the Carl Zeiss Planar 50/1.4 C/y It can be recommended to familiarize with the optical scheme Planar. The glass, of course, is not the same and the enlightenment too …… but nevertheless..
Nina: Nice review! Very good bokeh