A couple of years ago I happened to see an image on Twitter that completely stopped me in my tracks. It was a very fortunate sighting as I’m not a big fan of twitter, I am however a big fan of serendipity.
I asked the person who posted this image how it was achieved, and I had a reply immediately. I was told about reversing the front element of a Helios 44-2, and pointing the lens in the right direction.
This was the first image I thought was what I wanted. It basically kick started my obsession with the Helios. Onto FeaBay I did go, and shortly I was awaiting a M42 to Fuji adapter and a Helios 44-2 lens. Then it was time to flip the front element. Yikes!!
Despite my fears, it was simple. It took far longer worrying about it than it took to do it. Now what to capture. I do love flowers and plants so the subject (s) were in the garden waiting for me, convenient as mobility isn’t my strongest asset.
I cannot fully explain what it is I find so magical about this lens. The swirl in the background, the lack of sharp focus, even the flare that is sometimes captured, all appeal and hold my attention, making flowers a very obliging subject. I do still love to get sharp landscape images, non of that enthusiasm has diminished in any way, I just so appreciate the carefree abandon of this type of shooting.
I know it’s not to everyone’s taste, but I’m hoping to convince people it’s a fun and addictive pastime that runs alongside photography. Strangely enough, it is because of this lens and the other vintage lenses I bought that I became interested in analogue, it was cheaper to buy the lens with the camera attached. I wasn’t about to throw the camera away so there we go.
All images were with the Helios attached to my Fuji X-T 20. I really do hope that something that you’ve seen may make you think that you could make use of this lens. If you want to have a go yourself, there are a few videos on YouTube on how to reverse the element, but I can vouch for this video by John Gravett. It’s simple and concise. Don’t for one minute think that it is a difficult task, I spent longer looking for a screw driver than I spent reversing the element.
Soon it will be with a MIR1 front element reversed. They’re different again, but I’m yet to get a few images I’m pleased with.
Thank you very much for reading this far folks.
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