Monday, February 3, 2014

Helios-103 53mm f1.8 Kiev/Contax RF Mount - Sample Pictures

The Helios-103 53mm f1.8 lens in Kiev/Contax RF mount does not come with a focus ring. It's like an enlarging lens. The focus mechanism is on the camera body. There are mount adapters for the Sony E-mount, but is very pricey.  I am cheap, so I decided to make it mount on my focus helicoid instead of buying one. Paying more than $100 for an adapter to mount a $10 lens does not seem justifiable. I fully understand the tolerance will be much worse than the commercial adapter, but I can live with it.

The lens turns out to be exceptionally sharp when stopped down a bit. slightly soft with loss of contrast wide open, but still usable. I think it will be a very nice for low light/indoors.  One side of the lens is slightly softer than the other, I am sure this is due to the home made adapter. One thing I do not like much, is the bokeh. It's less than pleasing to my eyes. But, this is the first time I shot with the lens, perhaps I shouldn't conclude so hastily.

Helios-103 53mm f1.8 on the NEX-6. Click for larger.

Bokeh - Helios-103 53mm f1.8 & NEX-6 @ f1.8. Click for larger.

Man at work -  Helios-103 53mm f1.8 & NEX-6.
Old & New -  Helios-103 53mm f1.8 & NEX-6


  1. It is funny as I purchased this lens recently as well.
    Have you used any hood?
    First thing I noticed on the pictures was the very nice bokeh...that is the evidence that bokeh is very subjective thing it cannot be measured, and people like various bokehs...
    I will test this lens soon against my other Kiev/Contax RF mount lense:Industar 26M (likely crap) and Sonnar 5cm 1.5 (likely very good).

    1. Indeed I used a hood on this lens, which helps a lot. The lens is prone to flare.

      I tried the Sonnar clone 5cm f1.5 (Jupiter-3) and I like it a lot.

  2. Hello Yu-Lin,

    I have one of this lenses that I bought in a lot of russian lenses to repair. I'm very interested in the construction of your adapter. I have an helicoid that I use to mount projection lenses and I will made one if I can.

    Can you post some images with the details of your adapter? Or even better, can you make a post with this subject? I'm sure this will help not only to me, also to the other "lens freaks" like me that read your blog :-)



    1. Manel, I am working on a post for your suggestion. Thanks.

  3. i shoot mt 103 and 779 and 110, if you want it get back to