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Russian Helios Frankenlens

Photo Moment - July 18, 2018

I've been assembling a “frankenlens” out of the Helios 44-2 2/58, a M42 Converter, and a Wide Angle Adapter for fun and giggles, but it's not quite right… what do you think I should do next?!

Front view of the Helios 44-2 2/58 Frankenlens

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Just some pretty photos of the Helios frankenlens…

Focus rings on the Helios 44-2 2/58 Frankenlens

Aperture ring on the Helios 44-2 2/58 Frankenlens

Close-up up the wide angle adapter on the Helios 44-2 2/58 Frankenlens

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It was designed for 35mm so if you want the effect get on full frame. It’s that easy
use a set of these that are a bit shorter than the adapter will correct the infinity focus (lens needs to be closer to the sensor) and allow use as a macro lens (lens needs to be further away from the sensor)
If you have a set of macro diopters the same filter size you could try different values to see how they affect the focus.
1. Try the wide angle lens on a lens that has 52 mm filter thread . If it focus on infinity , then distance between wide angle lens and your front lens is the problem .
2. Flipping front element adds creaminess but it only focuses on close objects . Probably this where wide angle adapter comes in . To focus infinity .
I feel flipping the front element and using wide angle adapter will give you the look.
3. Also check wether with the adapter and just the lens are you getting infinity focus . If yes , then try suggestion in point no 2. It will work
I have been researching the helios, on DSLR Nikon cameras with m42 adaptor the helios focal plain is 1.9mm in front of the Nikon DSLR cameras focal point on sensor which prevents you from achieving infinity focus. There are ways to adjust the lens to allow back of lens to get closer to the correct focal plain but you have to be careful not go to far and cause mirror slapping the back of lens.
yikes! Mirrorless is definitely easier for this sort of thing.
Don't know if you ever figured this out, but when I was adapting various lenses on my APSC sensor, some lenses would never be able to focus on infinity and it came down to them either being too far away or too close, depending on the adapter. When I went to a full-frame camera, all the lenses worked perfectly. Could be just a distance thing.
Same experience. Some of the adapters can ve adjusted a bit too. Thanks for sharing your experience
Wery nice video! In the most cases, when I get creamy look with no matter how I close the diafragm is whrn I put a couple of fingertips on the back lens! )))) It works! )))
The 44-2 needs a little adjustment on the back to make it works for infinity focus, infinity adjutsment "" is not hard to do, maybe this is your problem. greetings from a Chilean, in Ukraine.
My Helios 44M-4 with my Nikon F mount adapter / with or without speed booster Nikon will not infinity focus with this lens WITHOUT an M42 focus adapter. You may be having the same issue. Supposedly Canon mounts have no issue. I thought only Nikon had this issue due to flange distance. I purchased this M42 to Nikon with lens adapter
Flipping the front element is what makes all the difference. The Helios 44-2 2/58 is very easy to just unscrew the front middle ring, pop the element out and flip it over, then tighten it back down That is what causes the dreamy look. I keep one of mine permanently flipped.
It's that easy?! 🤔
Yes i own 4 44-2 lenses plus is u reverse it it adds more swirl as well
here's my attempt I used helios 44m-4 with a wide angle adapter
I saw another video on here where they took the helios apart and filed down the ring a bit in or to achieve infinity focus
If you happen to find that, please drop the link here. I’ve heard about this before. Thanks!
do you ever get to the point? I don't trust any photographer who's never heard of the helios 44-2. use a focal reducer (speedbooster) btw. also unscrew the rear element about half way out or so to focus to infinity
Did you ever figure out how to make the frankenlens?
It hasn’t progressed beyond what you see here, but it’s a complete lens at this point… I think reversing the front element is still a key to get a better focusing range though. I haven’t tried that yet. Not sure if it’s something I can personally do without screwing everything else up though ;-)
Cool video! Ever tried making a monocle lens? We made one last year that was pretty weird and created a very lo-fi look.
No! What is a monocle lens? (A google search later…) huh, a single element lens? How awesome!
Try the viltrox ef-m2 the best speed booster for 150 usd with all exit data and aperture and auto focus. For the M42 speed booster you should go to s M42-Nikon to m43 speed booster there is a generic one from pi Co and viltrox also. I got two of these for 65 usd
Swirl is a design flaw with the Helios which is a Zeiss clone
E the disassembly ] of the Helios is e way to go, I read a few articles about it. You need to reverse the part you mentioned to get the Helios to focus on infiinity. Hit me up if you need more
I believe infinity focus is an M42 problem not sure ab out it thought or maybe it is a Helios issue.... need to check it,....forgot to mention you also earn a stop of light with the solution I suggested. I use quite a bunch of M42-Nikon lenses on my gh5 and loving the look
Hey Joseph waiting your latest great stuff. I jut got my own Helios lense ... serendipity? Have you tried using a generic speed booster M42-Nikon to m43 ? I have one and it helps wit te length of the helps as the cf drops to 1.4 instead of two and you get even better bokeh as a result...... you can get a Chinese adapter for 60usd. I can send you an eBay link if you need .....
Helios is very cheap old lens, used to be kit lens for Zenit cameras. Optics is so poor on edges that it creates swirly bokeh. it will be more visible on Fullframe, because MFT uses only mid and edges do not fit into small sensor. try speedbooster.
Ah that’s an interesting point (about FF).
this should do the job, even it's only 0.726x so it still won't be exact same field of view as on FF. not sure what will happen together with wide angle lens. I was trying helios only in standard setup with adapter without optics and I was able to get only bubbles in bokeh. it was not so swirly on MTF as other internet photos show. but it worked only on some specific distances between subject, background and camera. try it on some light passing through leaves, where it's easier to see bubbles.
KrispinPucinko Right, it’s not as wide… but, it’s the only thing I could find available. I requested it from B&H for the show; we’ll see if I can get it! If not I may just buy it. I don’t know why I’m so obsessed it’s this, but I am ;-)
Well... you might be able to fix it by make it even MORE of a frankenlens.
Replace the M42 adapter with a tiny little adapter ring that goes from M42 to L39 (aka M39) and attach a M4/3 to L39 adapter to it. The M4/3 to L39 is very little and you'll get it moved further back than needed. Now you can move it incrementally forward a bit by adding the smallest M4/3 macro ring you can find and see if this doesn't end up being about right.

Should go like this:
Camera -> m4/3 macro ring -> m4/3 to L39 (really thin ring) -> L39 to M42 (much smaller adapter) -> Helios
I also saw one guy who simply sawed the middle of an adapter off so he only had the mount attachments, braced it up at the length he needed with some plastic tubing and duct-taped it back together as like that as a custom length adapter. Personally I'm not a tool-guy so I'm skipping this option.
I guess you could accomplish the same thing by simply buying a small adapter that fits the camera (any mount in the other end) and a small adapter that fits the lens (again the mount in the other end won't matter) and then glue/tape/whatever those two together at the required length. That might actually be the simplest solution to this.
You could even find a rubber tube at a tight fitting diameter and glue/tape/ that to the two adapters. The rubber tube would let you wiggle the lens a little and it's now able to do something similar to freelensing (without light leaks) and a little bit of tilt/shift. That would make it a hell of a toy.
Can you use the lenses for gh4?
Yes absolutely. What I’ve shown here will work on any micro four thirds setup.
Could you put the micro adapter on the front of the wide lens rather than where it currently sits... if that's possible?, not sure what that would do different, or perhaps add a diopter if practical and not too expensive to give you an additional focus..
No, because look at the shape of the adapter. It’s narrow at the back and much wider at the front. The macro adapter only fits on the back.
Wouldn't make more sense to use a speedbooster?
At how much more cost?
Except for the price of a speedbooster, it can only reduce the focal length by ~0.7x, while a wide-angle converter can (usually 0.43x) can really make a difference. I've been personally looking for a vintage Russian lens (for swirly bokeh) that is wide angle enough to achieve a focal length between 35mm and 45mm (for realism, similar to human angle of view). Instead of buying an expensive Mir-1 and a speedbooster, I can get a wide angle converter to use with the Helios 44M-4 that I already own :)

Speedboosters can be purchased for 80-120 USD nowadays, and they are as good as Metabones speedboosters, especially the Viltrox which reduces FL and Aperture by 0.68x (they just advertise it as 0.71x)...and it's a really good investments if you own a full set of vintage primes you habitually use.
I've just found this video as I'm waitingfor my 0.45 and 0.7 times converters to come, thank you. I plan on trying them out on my cheap focal reducer as well as a helicoid adapter to make wide angle macro lenses. Of course just using the wide angle converter means you don't get towards the edges of the lens where the optical distortions happen as this convertor doesn't condense the image circle the way a focal reducer does. A helicoid adapter will allow you to push the lens out a bit to give you infinity focus
Great! When you get it working please use it as a Videolens on your Panasonic :D I would love to see what kind of videos it can create.
Oh no doubt.
I'm only guessing here as I'm not an optical engineer.

The "macro adapter" you have there is perhaps just a diopter that is helping getting the light rays at the right angle. Perhaps it's too strong and that prevents you from being able to focus at infinity (i.e. the same way as a macro tube would do). So, I'd guess that you need a weaker diopter in that "macro adapter" to get your infinity focus back.

I'd use a focal reducer instead (and that's what I do with my m42 lenses) -

For a different kind of fun (see you may want to try the tilt adapter:
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