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Helios lens

Helios-103 F- 1.8 / 53 mm fast lens review.

High-aperture lens for rangefinder cameras Kiev / Contax (Kiev-2, 3.3a, 4, 4a, 4am, 4m), bayonet mount Contax-RF. It was standard for Kiev-4AM and Kiev-4M, it was also sold separately - the retail price of Helios-103 is 50 rubles. Replaced quite decent Jupiter-8M, G-103 was produced from 1981 to 1985 inclusive.

Helios-103 for Nikon (Nikon-F), Kenon (Canon EF), Pentax-K, Sony-A - with no adapter, only system mirrorless cameras. Adapter ring Contax-RF / "your mirrorless" costs from $ 70 plus shipping or homemade


  • The focal length is 53 mm.
  • The maximum aperture is 1.8.
  • The minimum aperture is 22.
  • The number of aperture blades is 9.
  • The number of lenses / groups is 6/4.
  • The minimum focusing distance is 1 meter.
  • Center / edge resolution - 52/28 lines / mm.
  • Light transmission coefficient -0.85 (?).
  • Mount type - Contax-RF.
  • Mount Attachment - 40.5 mm.
  • Enlightenment type - chemical single layer.

Ergonomics and design:

Like any other 50 mm rangefinder lens G-103 in comparison with its counterparts for SLR cameras, it is compact and lightweight. As with all domestic rangefinder lenses, the aperture ring is in front and the focus ring is in the back. Intuitively, when you want to focus, you grab the wider aperture ring, it's a little annoying because the set aperture value gets lost and time is lost - and it's just inconvenient to operate a thin ring.


Like Jupiter-8M, the number of petals is 9, at any values they form a nine-cornered hole, without a hint of rounding.

Contax-RF adapter:

Ease of use of the Helios-103 lens paired with a mirrorless camera directly depends on the adapter ring (adapter). Standard lenses for Kiev / Contax rangefinder cameras do not have their own helicoid, it is already built into the camera. Accordingly, the adapter ring is needed with a helicoid, you can make it yourself.

Internal blackening of metal surfaces is acceptable, there is no paint on the diaphragm blades as such, but the metal itself has a matte shade of gray. The ends of the lenses are blackened, but the joint of two glues is not painted.

Photo artistic qualities:

The picture formed by Helios-103 is usually compared with the picture of the previously produced Jupiter-8M, they differ significantly. Jupiter is more contrasting, the details in the bokeh are less distinguishable than in Helios. Helios-103 is not watercolor, bokeh twists. Subjectively, the sharpness in the center is the same for both lenses, but Helios has an open aperture of 1.8, and that of Yu-8 is 2.0. Further comparison of the two lenses is a matter of a separate article.

Helios-103 from an open aperture is quite sharp, it is soapy at the edges and there is not enough contrast. Hard back and side light is not desirable, although the result is much better than that of Helios-44M-4 (without MC) - the merit of the blackening of the ends of the lenses.

It is worth tightening up to 2.8 or more, and the contrast and resolution across the field are tightened. The contour holds much better.

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