LENS LOVE: MC Helios-81N 50mm f/2 (Native Nikon F Mount)

MC Helios-81N 50mm f/2 (Native Nikon F Mount)
MC Helios-81N 50mm f/2 (Native Nikon F Mount)

The MC Helios-81N 2/50 was originally made for the Kiev film SLR, which uses the Nikon F mount. Helios lenses were sought after because of the swirly bokeh that they create. It looks like there were several versions of this lens and I had 3 of them as of this writing: the 44-2, 44M-6 and 81N. The latter two had the benefit of multicoating and usable images at f/2. For your comparison, see my albums below...

Helios 44-2

Helios 44M-6

Helios 81N

This MC Helios-81N 50mm f/2 is a tiny pancake lens with sturdy build quality and good optics. It has a different optical formula than the typical Zenit Helios lenses, but it achieves the same swirly bokeh, plus a wider 50mm focal length.

The focusing has a strong resistance and looks to be made that way since I have already re-lubricated the focusing helicoid. The focus ring grip is made of metal and non-removable. The bad thing about it is that it feels like spikes on the fingers, then further add the stiff focusing and that's some pain there.

The aperture ring has the AI notch and can be compatible with all Nikon DSLRs. It goes from f/2 to f/16 and there are 6 aperture blades. My copy had stuck oily blades and had to be dismantled to pieces to have it cleaned. That was the only issue when I got this lens.

Another issue for users -- be careful with the glass! This is unlike all the other glass I've ever handled, because the multicoating only sits on top of the glass as a thin coat of delicate film. It easily gets peeled when cleaning, so be extra gentle and apply the lightest pressure possible.

CONCLUSION: It doesn't really matter if you get this lens in native Nikon F mount or the M42 Helios because they appear to have the same image quality and swirly bokeh effect -- but the biggest advantage here is for the Nikon film/digital SLR users and the wider 50mm focal (versus the 58mm's).



Helios 81N f/2

Years Produced
Est. late 1980s to late 1990s

Produced By (Factory)

Helios 81 Automat
Helios 81M
Helios 81N
Arsat-H 50/2
Helios 81 52/2 (KMZ) with 12 aperture blades

Native mount
Nikon F mount

Minimum Focusing Distance
0.5 meters

Front Filter Thread Diamter

Aperture Run
f/2 - f/16 (half stop clicks, 6 blades)

Optical Formula
6 elements, 4 groups (planar)
Multicoated glass

Supports auto diaphragm
Supports Nikon AI
Made in Russia

MC Helios-81N 50mm f/2 (Native Nikon F Mount)

The lens matches the AI tab on this Nikon SLR.



Nikon D5200 (Vivid)

MC Helios-81N 50mm f/2
(mostly at f/2, all unedited/raw)

MC Helios-81N 50mm f/2




MC Helios-81N 50mm f/2


Helios lens versions

A list of Helios lenses

Helios lens logos

# # # E N D # # #


Post a Comment

Hello, if you will leave a comment on my blog, kindly DO NOT insert any links. It will be deleted immediately.


Contact Form


Email *

Message *