Don’t Buy The Worst Versions Of Helios 44-2 Lenses– There are many different versions of the swirly bokeh Helios 44-2 vintage lens. Most are good but these are the lowest quality versions that you can buy.
To make things quick, the 1978 Valdai version of the Helios 44-2 is considered by most to be the worst version. That model was mass produced with much less care for the build quality and more about saving cost.
The Valdai Helios lenses are easy to spot. Just look for their lens builder logo on the front of the Helios 44-2. See the image below.
Thanks to Mathieu Stern for the great video about Helios 44-2 lenses.
Though the Valdai Helios version of the 44-2 lens is considered the worst version they are still plenty usable. The lens will give you a different feel in certain situations that may be more desirable for the look you are trying to achieve. .
You can find good copies of the Helios 44-2 here for a good price.