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Helios Lens + MFT adapter + Macro tubes

PhotoJoseph's picture
August 21, 2018 - 12:00pm

I've done a lot of videos on this conversion process lately. It's fun, it's inexpensive, and even if you copy exactly what I've done here, you're still likely to get a different result just because many of these older lenses are utterly unique. They have aged differently, may have scratches, mold, or any other oddities that contribute to their overall look. And that's what makes this fun!

Add in a little post-processing work, and away you go.

The objective

My Series 1 Apple Watch and third-party watch band both recently reached the end of their life within a matter of weeks from each-other. Go figure. I just upgraded them both (yay!) and wanted to shoot some photos to post on Instagram. Well you know how that goes… it can't possibly be a simple photo, can it?! No!! You gotta find a good background… arrange the product… choose a lens… determine a look in post… yeah, that's how it is. (This is why my wife never asks me to snap a “quick photo” of her anymore. I just. Can't. Do. Quick.)

The gear

I've recently done a bunch of videos on these various parts I used for this (all videos embedded at the end of this post):

  • Russian Helios 44-2 2/58 (eBay search)
  • Zhongyi M42 (screw mount) to M43 (Micro Four Thirds) adapter (B&H)
  • MEIKE MK-P-AF3A macro extension tubes (Amazon)

The Russian lens was found on eBay for dirt cheap, and came recommended by a viewer. The M42 to M43 adapter is a “speed booster” style, using more of the original lens than the straight glassless adapters, and then the macro tubes just let me get this combo super close. 

The Russian Helios 44-2 2/58 and Zhongyi M42 to M43 adapter and the Meike macro extension tubes on a LUMIX G9A Helios, a Zhohngi and a Meike walk into a bar…

The shots

I didn't shoot any behind-the-scenes of the setup, sorry… but the series looked like this.

Lightroom layout of a bunch of photosThe collection of photos, some already edited

The treatment

Naturally these needed more work done to them, because… well, that's what we do! I imported these into Lightroom on my iPad, and starting with some VSCO presets, continued to tweak a bit here and there to get the result that I wanted. Honestly, a very quick edit. I think I did all this while the kids were washing dishes or something. It just turned into one of those things that I quite liked and wanted to share!

Here's a couple of before and afters. These are cropped 4:5 vertical for Instagram because that was the final destination.

This is my favorite photo of the bunch. I love the super shallow depth of field and partially obscured interior of the Apple Watch.
I thought this was cool too, getting really into the details of the broken leather

The result

The final photos were, as mentioned, destined for Instagram. So here's that post!


I guess it was time for an upgrade. My generation 1 Apple Watch lasted just over three years, and the @nomadgoods strap lasted only slightly less. In less than a month, the strap fell apart and the watch followed suit. I miss the stainless steel but wasn’t prepared to spend that kind of money again, so opted for the black aluminum this time, and the Nomad strap to match. Looking forward to watchOS 5 so I can play podcasts from the watch, and leave my phone behind when I run. Shot on a #LumixG9 and Russian Helios lens (with the adapter shown on today’s Photo Moment show) @LumixUSA @Lumix #LumixAmbassador #WhereLUMIXGoes #ChangingPhotography #apple #applewatch #applewatchseries3 #applewatchband #nomad #nomadgoods #adventureon

A post shared by PhotoJoseph (@photojoseph) on


Have you created a unique lens combo?

Tell us what you've created! And, if you have some photos you're proud of made with a unique lens combination, post them below!

The videos leading up to this

Here's the videos I promised. Enjoy!




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