Cyclop 85mm 1.5 (Helios 40) compared to Canon 85mm 1.2 II L

Hello. Recently I have found myself really getting into MF lenses. I started with the Meyer Trioplan and recently bought the Cyclop 85mm 1.5 (very similar to the Helios 40 85mm 1.5). The Cyclop 85mm 1.5 is said to be the same glass as the Helios 85mm 1.5, but without the ability to change the aperture. The Helios and the Cyclop are know for their “swirly” bokeh.

Perhaps my favorite lens is the Canon 85mm 1.2. It is highly regarded as a portrait lens and I could not agree more. It produces absolutely beautiful images with buttery bokeh. It is also very, very sharp wide open as you will see.

This comparison is not clinical or scientific. All shots were hand-held. I wasn’t really comparing sharpness since I am still learning how to use the Cyclop 85mm 1.5. With the adapter, it throws the focus off and it can be challenging – especially with the razor thin depth of field. My main intention was to compare the bokeh, however, when I seem to have nailed the focus, I did provide some cropped images for you to see detail.

One major flaw with this “test” was I did not set the shutter speeds to the same setting. This is why you will see the Canon appear to be darker in some images.

I made no color, brightness, contrast, or any other adjustments to the images. They were shot in RAW and converted to Jpeg.

The only one where the shutter speed was the same, was the very first set of images above. This is a good representation, since I set the Canon to 1.4 to closely match the Cyclop’s native 1.5 aperture. It is also consistent with my findings – the Canon is definitely is sharper, with higher contrast.  The Canon produces a warmer image while the Cyclop’s is more cool.  It also is a good representation of the “swirly” bokeh produced by the Cyclop.  Particularly near and around the head and knees (edges of the frame, particularly corners).


Both shot wide open – Canon shot at 1.2 and the Cyclop at 1.5. Notice the purple fringing along the rim of the copper mold in the Canon 85mm 1.2 II image.  Definitely more pronounced than the Cyclop (Helios 40). Decent representation of sharpness.



These are nice examples of the differences between the two.  The Canon is clearly sharper, but the Cyclop lens has its own look and glow.  Abberations are well controlled on both the Canon and the Cyclop, though the Cyclop seems to have more along the upper leaf.  Both shot wide open.


The Canon is clearly sharper.  It also shows some green fringing on the keyboard.  The Cyclop is surprisingly well behaved.  However, I think if we increased the saturation and contrast in order to produce an image closer to the Canon’s… we might see more than we see here.  However, this softness produced by the Cyclop and other MF lenses, is part of the appeal… at least for me.


This is a good representation of the “Swirl” that the Cyclop and Helios 40 are known for.

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