Testing the Helios 103

I’ve entered a new chapter of my photographic journey. For the past couple weeks, I’ve been testing some vintage lenses on my EOS R body. I’ve tried several different lenses, and today I’m going to show some of my results from a vintage Russian lens, the Helios 103.

This lens has a Contax mount, so I had to find a Contax to EOS R adaptor – which is no easy task. I found one that appears to be manufactured by a seller in Ukraine. I wasn’t sure how it would work. So far it seems to work perfectly.

Most of these older lenses seem a bit soft, or maybe it’s just me having trouble focusing with a digital camera. Whatever it is, they seem to have some very nice effects.

I especially like the bokeh – the look of the background, the out of focus areas. The Helios 103 seems to elongate the circles of light toward the edge of the image. It almost looks like the background has a circular pattern because of the way the elongations change around the perimeter.

To get outside my own environment, I visited a local cemetery in my town. If that seems a bit strange, well, I’m sorry. I don’t have any problems visiting cemeteries – in fact, I find them very relaxing to walk through. I also love history, and this particular cemetery has some very old (for the US) markers. I love reading the inscriptions and thinking about what it might have been like living here 2 or 3 hundred years ago.

Take a look at these images and see what you think.

I’ve noticed that flare is an issue with this lens. I don’t believe it has multi-coating, so it’s just prone to flaring out if pointed towards the sun (or any bright light). Not really a big deal, as long as you know it will happen and can compensate.

So, that’s what I did today. I’m anxious to try a couple other vintage, Russian, lenses. Check back to see which lens I try next.