Adventures With A Vintage Russian Lens – Part One

Do you ever set out to do just one thing on the internet, get distracted and then end up spending way too long doing something totally irrelevant?

That’s exactly what happened to me last week, I set out to catch up on reading a few emails, one link lead to another, I disappeared down the internet rabbit hole and emerged a couple of hours later having ordered a vintage Russian lens and an adaptor plate from eBay!!

The arrival of the lens coincided with a day at Aspire Photography Training organised by The Guild Of Photographers. Any visit to Aspire is guaranteed to inspire and motivate and I decided this would also be the perfect opportunity to try out my new lens. After all I wouldn’t want to experiment with it on a client shoot and find it wasn’t as good as I was hoping.

I have to say this really is the best £15 I have ever invested in my photography, the lens is sharp (as long as I manage to focus properly!!) and beautifully soft at the same time.

beautiful portrait of girl using vintage lens

I’d thought I may only use it for black and white work but the colours are beautiful, the image above hasn’t been edited other than a tiny crop and converting to a JPEG!

For the photographers reading who are probably desperate to know, the lens is a Helios 44-2. Its a 58mm focal lens with a widest aperture of f2 and all the images are shot wide open. It’s a totally manual lens and I needed to buy a £2.99 mount adaptor to fit it on my Sony. And I’m sure lots of photographers would wonder why on earth anyone would stick an old £15 lens on quality digital camera but there’s nothing like using something unique to really push your creativity and allow you to work in your own unique style.

black and white portrait with Helios Vintage Lens Portrait photography with vintage lens Beautiful vintage lens portrait of girl Portrait photography North West Beautiful black & white portraits with vintage lens Dark & moody vintage lens portraits portrait photography Bolton Portraits of a girl using vintage Russian Lens Helios 44-2

If you are a parent reading this I offer children’s portrait sessions throughout the North West and sometimes further afield. Please head over to the Contact Page and get in touch if you’d like more info, I’d love to hear from you.

And if you are a photographer and haven’t already come across the Guild of Photographers or Aspire Photography Training I can highly recommend both organisations for the support, motivation and training that they offer.





  • Reza

    WOW! Really great portraits!
    About a year ago, I had chance to work with full manual lenses for a day!!!! Three Canon FD, 50mm, 135mm, 70-210mm.
    At first, it was hard to work with them, but the shots were sharp (in case of proper focus as you said Janet!) It was really awesome, specially with that price.

    (Color shots are so beautiful here, but personally I prefer black and white for portraits.)

    • Janet Broughton

      Thanks Reza!
      I think I probably agree on the B&W/colour, I do love to work in B&W for portraits

  • Barbs

    Love the B&W results with this lens Janet, but you know I love your B&W work! I just think this lens really compliments your style. I can’t wait to see future images, with your elegant use of light I bet they will be stunning x

    • Janet Broughton

      Thanks so much Barbs x

  • Marquis Amburn

    Russian cameras were produced by companies with a very different set of priorities than most current camera manufacturers. When you find one that works, which happens more often than you think, it will work forever.