Monday, February 10, 2014

How to Make an Adapter for Your Helios-103 53mm f1.8 Lens for Sony E-Mount - Part II

Last time in Part I, we covered what we need for making the adapter. In Part II, we are going to test all the parts to make sure we can focus the lens to infinity before we make everything permenant.

  1. Remove the glass from both the 49mm and 52mm filters if not already done so
  2. Screw on the 52mm filter ring on the helicoid
  3. Place 49mm filter on the 52mm filter ring, with female thread side towards the 52mm filter (opposite to each other, see picture)
  4. Slip the lens onto the 49mm filter ring.  Hold them together and mount the loosely packed adapter onto any NEX camera.
  5. Turn the helicoid to the fully retracted (thinnest) position, and point the camera at a spot that's very far away (infinity focus).
  6. Adjust the focusing ring on the helicoid. If you can't get a clear picture, the two filter rings together are too thick. You need to get one or both of them with thinner rings. 
  7. If you can focus past infinity by a large margin, get thicker filter rings. The more you can focus past infinity, the longer the minimum focus distance will be.  It's ok if focus goes past infinity by a small amount. We are not trying to achieve perfect focus at infinity here.
  8. If you can't achieve infinity focus with the two filter rings, get thinner filter rings and repeat steps 1 to 6 until you can focus to infinity.  I find that with the 17-32mm helicoid, it's much easier to achieve infinity than the 18-33mm. Yes, one millimeter makes a huge difference!

The picture below shows the order and orientation of the filters in relation to the lens. Note the two filters are mounted opposite of each other.

When correctly put together, the adapter should look like the picture below. The 49mm filter should almost disappear into the 52mm filter ring.

If everything checks out and you have infinity focus, it's time to make it more permanent.  Please refer to the first picture above for reference while following the steps below:

  1. Clean the filter rings and the lens barrel with lens cleaning tissue or mild soapy water.  Allow the items to dry before proceeding further.
  2. Mix the epoxy according to manufacturer's recommendations.
  3. Apply the epoxy liberally to the inner threads of the 49mm filter ring.
  4. Slip the lens into the 49mm filter ring from the rear of the filter (male threads towards the lens) and push firmly against the filter.  Make sure the filter ring is sitting on the lens evenly.
  5. Apply epoxy on the inner threads of the 52mm filter ring.
  6. Slip the 52mm filter ring, female thread towards the lens, on top of the 49mm filter ring. The 49mm filter should go inside the 52mm filter. Ensure that all of them are evenly seated.
  7. Place the lens face down, with the filter rings resting on it.  press the filters firmly together on the lens, and ensure they are all seated evenly.  
  8. Mount the adapter on the camera, and rotate the lens until the aperture index is on top and in the middle of the lens relative to the camera.
  9. Unmount the adapter, making sure you don't move the lens position. Let it set and cure over night.
  10. With the Yeenon 18-33mm helicoid, the Helios-103 53mm f1.8 lens focuses as close as 0.3m from the sensor, or about 12 inches. Very handy for close ups.
Complete lens with hood. Click for larger.


  1. Fantastic excellent post :-)

    Now I will need to buy a lens to justify making this

    1. I don't know if it's worth the expense/trouble :) but at least the focus helicoid can be used for other lenses.

  2. Wow!!!!!

    A really instructive post. I only need the filters and the epoxy yo build one.

    Many, many thanks for this interesting post.



  3. thanks a lot for this tutorial.very helpful.Just wanted to ask a few doubts.
    1)How reversible is this process?
    2)We are sticking the two filters and the lens permanently, So we need to do this for every lens if we have more lenses?
    3)And can we separate the lens without any damage?
    4)And the focussing helicoid is completely reusable?

    Thanks a ton!

    1. Depending on the epoxy you use, but in most cases, the process is completely reversible. I just re-did my previous done adapter and after cutting the filter ring, they came off very cleanly from the lens. The filters are specific to the lens and yes, you will need two filters for each lens. You are screwing the lens on the focusing helicoid, so yes it can be reused.

  4. Thanks for this! I just used a similar arrangement to adapt a Jupiter 8 in Kiev mount to my A7RII. I used a 49-55mm step-up ring tightly fit around around the knurled chrome band, a few more stepping rings, and my 52mm-42mm helicoid.

    This lens came with a Kiev 4 that suffered a shutter failure, and hasn't been used since. It's great to have it back in action again.

    1. If you have a defective Kiev 4, why not use its mount with focus mechanism to make an adaptor? I have two commercially made Contax/Kiev adaptors which I bought on eBay, both made using parts from old Kiev bodies, one to Leica M mount and the other to Fuji X mount. At least with those I can exchange my several Kiev mount lenses at will.