Mods & DIY

Modding a Halina Anastigmat f/3.5 45mm – by Tobias Eriksson

I am rather new to the technical side of photography. That is – the choice of multiple camera bodies, changeable lenses with all kinds of filters and whatnot, tripods, monopods, nanopods, etc. I used to stick to one Pentax P30 with a zoom lens in my twenties, disposable cameras in my thirties and an Olympus XA for the five years leading up to me starting my camera shop on a whim at Etsy. So, the last three years have been a time of discovery: Which cameras to sell with a (nominal) profit; how to purchase them. And how MUCH is out there.

However. All this discovering combined with how my brain works means trouble. At least for cheap or already broken things. Which is how this little (feuilleton) project came to be.

Starting point

This is what I had when starting off:

1. A superflous Halina 35X camera with a lens and faulty shutter.

2. A Fujifilm X-Pro1 digital camera with an adapter so that it can be fitted with an M39 lens.

3. An M39 threaded socket from a lens migrated to M42 mount.

And here’s how I proceeded

Conversion / Havoc

The Halina Anastigmat 1:3.5 f=45 mm lens

There wasn’t much to the dismantling. Unlike the Germans and Japanese, the Chinese don’t seem to have bothered about users themselves trying to fix broken cameras, since the four screws that hold the lens in place are easily spotted and removed from the front. The next modding phase consisted of trashing the shutter mechanism. Literally. I found this to be the only option when having removed all the screws I could find and still not have the damn thing come apart. See pictures.

Just off the camera. Then the trashing began…

 

Focus

Note the bed of Sugru!

Positioning the Halina in the M39 mount was just a matter of pressing it into a bed of Sugru at the right distance from the image sensor. The Sugru was rolled into ‘snakes’, then placed on the inside of the mount where the lens assembly is then positioned.

In use

With the lens in place – the Sugru takes a day or so to vulcanize – then comes the user experience:

From my working Halina 35X.

I already own a Halina 35X which I’ve put a couple of rolls through. I quite like the experience. The lens which is much lamented on different forums for being sluggish when focusing and setting aperture, works great on my copy once I’ve twisted the rings a couple of times at the start of the day. The image quality is not – as you’d expect from a 65 year old camera made in Hong Kong – particularly crisp. But I like the unconventional (yes – retro!) look of the pictures produced by both my Industar 69 and my modded Canon Demi 28 mm lens, on my Fujifilm X-Pro, so was keen to see what soft and perhaps swirly impressions I could get from this one.

With that in mind, and that the camera used with the modded lens is a half-frame (sensor) camera, here’s a few examples. (My X-Pro is always in Velvia mode.)

There is a blurry area to the left…

… evident in every picture.

Unlike with the “original” Halina I don’t get the strong vignetting on the edges and corners because of the cropping of the half-frame sensor. The ‘blurry’ area is problematic in some pictures. And certainly not in others…

Like with most second (third?) rate lenses haze is a problem in some lighting situations. (Yes, it is Buzz Lightyear having supper.)

Some pictures taken with my ‘proper’ Halina 35X will intermittently appear on my Instagram @flashknappen.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my modd-ern adventures with a lens of the past.
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5 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Philip Lewis Lambert
    July 23, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    I enjoy your blogs so don’t be deterred…
    Why don’t you start off with a better lens and avoid the fuzzy results? Plenty of Pentax screw mount lenses out there or 50mm Zuiko I use a cheap 50mm Zuiko macro lens on an M240 with Chinese adapters, really good results.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Tobias Eriksson
      July 26, 2018 at 9:48 pm

      Hi, Thanks! I kinda like them compact. And with major personalities. This one will be the last full format lens used on my half frame sensor camera because of that, since I want the lens’ vignetting and other quirks.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Terry B
    July 23, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    This was my first 35mm camera, purchased around 1961 or 1962. At the time great play was made of the Chance Pilkington optical glass, but I suppose the main factor for me was its looking something like a small Leica! From the results I got from it, b/w only, it comes as a surprise now that someone would take the time and trouble to remove the lens to use with a digital camera. :D) The results I got with it weren’t anything to write home about, but I am truly surprised to see how your colour images have turned out.
    One small point, to be technically correct, this is not a Chinese made camera as Hong Kong was part of the British Empire at the time. If you look at the body, you made find “Empire Made”.

    • Avatar
      Reply
      Tobias Eriksson
      July 26, 2018 at 9:54 pm

      Thanks for sharing your Halina story! Yes, I was equally surprised by the quality of the digital photos. Will try it on my Fed 2 for full frame corner vignetting hopefully.

  • Avatar
    Reply
    Cedric Duhez
    July 24, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    A very interesting post. I’ll try something like that. Thx

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