Helios-103 conversion.

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by E. von Hoegh, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    So, I've caught the Soviet lens sickness with a rather nice Jupiter-8.
    From reading around on the web, I've become interested in the Helios-103 53/1.8 which is available only in Kiev/Contax mount. In one forum, someone stated that the optics capsule from a Heilos would screw into the focussing mount from an Industar 61, this making a threadmount Helios. Looking at pictures of both, it seems that the rear of the optics on the Helios are too large in diameter to fit, does anyone know more about this?
     
  2. Fixcinater

    Fixcinater Subscriber

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  3. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Thanks, I saw that. I'm sure my German genes would turn against me if I butchered one of these http://www.ebay.com/itm/Leica-Leitz...8?pt=US_Camera_Cases_Bags&hash=item3a859b29e2 to mount a Soviet lens on a Japanese camera!!:blink:

    I have a Sonnar (J-8) and while I really like the Sonnar look, I was thinking a cheap and good double Gauss might be nice to have as well. The Helios and Industar ( to cannibalise) are cheap enough, but will it work??. Another uption is to buy a scrap Kiev for the focussing mount and make an adapter. I think there is enough metal in the mount of a J8 to bore it out to fit the Helios' optics capsule, but I've yet to find dimensioned drawings of the lenses. The adapter might be the best bet, just build one, once. I might even get lucky and find a scrap Kiev with a good Helios on it!
     
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  4. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Hi E.

    If you are a Kiev or even a Contax IIa user they are nice lenses to try but doing a Mr Sweeny is hard work. All the Ja /2s or /1.8s are comparable paint brushes.

    The Kiev users will think it unfair.

    Noel
     
  5. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Hi Noel,
    I have access to a toolroom lathe and a jigborer, I shall not be doing a dremel hack. I started this thread in an attempt to sort out internet hearsay from reality - perhaps someone here has done this, or has the lenses in question and can provide measurements. Dimensioned drawings of the lensmounts would answer my question, as would five minutes with the lenses and a dial caliper in my hands.

    The J-8 is a Sonnar, the H-103 is a double Gauss symmetrical type and the two types have very different characters; The J-8 behaves very similarly to the 5cm/f:2 Zeiss Sonnar I had on a Contax II and the Helios should behave somewhat like my 50/f:2 Nikkor Hs.
     
  6. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Isn't the 50/2 Nikkor basically a copy of the six-element Sonnar? I got curious about this thread and dug around a little bit, and the Helios seems rather to be a close relative of the original Summicron. If it really performs similarly, that would be a pretty good argument for putting in the effort to adapt it to LTM!

    Sorry to jump in without helpful information. I'm interested in how this experiment goes, though. Do you expect that you can keep rangefinder focusing if you do a mount transplant of this sort?

    -NT
     
  7. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    No, that's not strictly true, they claim that but - the Helios, Summicron, Summitar, and nearly all modern 50mm std. lenses are Double Gauss types, a symmetrical design traceable back to an achromatic telescope objective calculated by K.F. Gauss. The Soviets just used a well known existing design, as did Leitz, Nikon, Pentax, Canon, Yashica,etc. My favorite 50 for my Nikons is the 50/2 Nikkor-H, another dG. The Nikkor S mount 50/2 is indeed a Sonnar type.
    Having the lens couple to the rangefinder is the whole idea! That's why I'm looking for a focus mount to put the optics in.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2013
  8. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    You're talking about those funny Nikons with a mirror in the way, aren't you? :smile: That explains my confusion. Very nice of them to reuse the "-H" suffix for different designs.

    The lenses aren't precisely the same focal length, right?---even neglecting manufacturing tolerances, you usually see the Helios listed as 53mm and the Industar as 52mm, so you'd have to put a shim somewhere. If it works, you could probably make a bit of pin money doing conversions and selling them...

    -NT
     
  9. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    only Mr N Sweeny will have engineering details

    If you have a scrap Kiev you could make a contax to LTM adapter easier than a heliciod/rangefinder cam.

    Only the very late Kievs came with a Helious but they are so homely there is little demand.

    They do perform well compared with a good J8.

    The Helious seems to be a type IV summicron clone i.e. a simplified for production double Gauss
     
  10. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    It gets knottier, they're neither. The Contax standard they are made to is 52.4mm, and the focus issues you hear of arise when using them on Leica standard bodies which are made for a 51.6mm lens!! The J-8s are marked 50, but are actually 52.4 also. You can shim them (on a Leica or other body made to that standard) to be spot on at infinity, in which case they'll focus farther away than the rangefinder indicates at closer distances, or you can shim them for close work and let DOF take care of the far error. An elegant fix would be to change the RF coupling arm and roller for one of the correct length to make the RF track perfectly at all distances. But then, the camera wouldn't couple properly with the correct lenses:blink:.

    The 'H' suffix Nikon used = hex, six; it denotes the number of elements and nothing else.
     
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  11. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I mentioned that above in post #3, I'm starting to think it might be the better route.
     
  12. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Yes I detected you were aware.

    Lots of parts Kievs are complete apart from the mount so someone is doing it: buying one is/would be simpler than machining.

    For a while Helious were available NOS really cheap. Probably all gone now.
     
  13. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    There are still H-103s out there for reasonable prices, quite a bit less that J-8s in equal condition anyway. I think Fedka wants about 40 USD for one.
    The Kiev mount conversion would still entail a fair bit of machining to connect it to an LTM body; I can cut 26 TPI threads, but do not have facilities to cut metric threads. I couldn't make some dremel and epoxy kluge anyway, I'd wince every time I saw it and besides my friends would probably euthanise me if I did.:laugh::laugh:
    The Contax/LTM adapter would let me play with other lenses, too.:smile:
     
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  14. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Nope. Not in a mid-70s J-8 anyway. So it's a junker Kiev for the mount and machining an adapter; not at all a bad idea as I now have two Kievs which work like a charm but could conceivably need spares in a few decades.
     
  15. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Holy Cow Batman

    Thread resurrection!

    Robin

    PS how much are the FSU 'people' selling the Kiev based adapters for?

    Anomouse
     
  16. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Too much. I can make one for the cost of a junk Kiev(four for 16 USD at last check, plus shipping of course) and a few hours of fun.
    I took a chance on a '69 K4 with an '81 Helios, 80 USD shipped. The body is very clean, the meter works accurately, the Helios was hazed (of course);
    I took the top casting, filmplane casting, and front trim off - a bit of diagnostic lubrication and I have a very well functioning camera. Ribbons look like new.
    I'm tempted to keep buying these things, just so I get a bad one and know that not everyone is full of @rap.
     
  17. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Hi

    A 69 should still be a nice camera an 82 will be a bit rougher.

    The problem cameras are those that have been subject to 'maintenance' or Russian winter condensation.

    A 49-55 just same as ContaxII but with different chrome.
     
  18. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I have a chance at a nice looking '53 Kiev III/J-8 for what seems a fair price. But what I really should get is a J-9, because I want a good working RF outfit of 35-50-85 and two bodies. As for the '69 being a nice camera, it's more than nice - and I've had ur-Contaxen. What would a good Kiev go for if it said anything other than "Made in USSR" on the shoe?
     
  19. Fixcinater

    Fixcinater Subscriber

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    Did you ever get this lens switcheroo switcherooed?
     
  20. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Si
    Simpler for normal people to use a Helious on a Contax IIa or early Kiev or get an adapter.

    The Olympic Nikkor and the post 2000 Nikon RFDRs use double gauss designs. If you are well healed.

    But the signature differences between Sonnar or double gauss is not that extreme, and any SLR has a double Gauss.
     
  21. mnemosyne

    mnemosyne Subscriber

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    If your objective is simply to have an affordable double gauss 50mm lens in Leica thread amount, there is an excellent and readily available option in form of the Canon 50mm f1.8. Mine was around 80 $ in flawless condition, IIRC. In some aspects (flare resistance, micro contrast wide open) this is even a better lens than my DR Summicron. I own three different vintage Canon lenses (50/1.4; 50/1.8; 35/2.0) and the RF coupling works perfectly with all of them on all of my 4 Leica bodies (1 Barnack, 3 Ms). I wish I could say the same of all my vintage Leica lenses! Of course, if your objective is rather the "project" itself or to own something exotic, than this is a entirely different matter.
     
  22. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Object project confirmed.
    The late /1.8 canon lens will out perform a DR in several domains Canon were superlative engineers for the time.
    The Helious is a productionised lens similar to the type4 cron and will be better off axis than either of the above earlier ones, because of the higher index glass.
    I still use a /1.8 Canon too... You don't need to PS it for a period signature.