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01-07-2012, 02:57 PM   #1
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Helios 44-2, wobbly lens mount

Hi, I have one of these beauties, and while portraits look incredible with this lens, the lens mount wobbles badly. I have tried to disassemble it but cannot go beyond the focusing ring. As you may know, it is of the preset type, and thus the mount is just a metal rim, with no aperture pin etc. There is a gap between that rim and the protruding rear element, and the lens mount is what is wobbling. I have also taken a short clip to illustrate the problem. I thought the disassembly would be fairly straightforward, but I am stuck because I cannot see any screws except for the 3 I have already unscrewed. Thanks.


01-07-2012, 03:11 PM   #2
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What 3 did you unscrew? I'm guessing you have to unscrew the nameplate on the front? (But I don't know, cause I don't have one -- but on the 44-4 the name plate unscrews -- you need a rubber friction tool for this -- the bottom of a crutch works on most).
01-07-2012, 03:15 PM   #3
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It's not like the 44M series, this one is of a different construction. Here is another picture, also showing one of the 3 screws I was talking about. The wobbling lens mount is the thing below the focusing ring.
01-07-2012, 03:19 PM   #4
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Ah. I still suspect the filter ring area might unscrew.

I have a couple lenses that wobble like that -- haven't gotten around to taking them apart yet.

01-07-2012, 03:22 PM   #5
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Yes, the small name ring does unscrew, but it only uncovers the lens elements, giving access to the aperture blades. Been there, done that. (they were oily too).
In the meanwhile, why not share a recent (yesterday) photo taken with this lens?

01-07-2012, 04:52 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcobain1992 Quote
I have also taken a short clip to illustrate the problem.
I was wondering how come a Helios looks like a Takumar until I realized that the way you were showing the problem was to take a video with the Helios and move it so that the sound of its wobbling makes it onto the recording. I expected you would shoot the actual wobbling of the Helios.

I did disassemble one of these lenses, but it was over a year ago, so I don't remember the details. I remember there is more than one set of 3 screws, but I don't remember if there was a set that might affect the stability of the mount. Could be that one screw is loose or broken or missing, and that allows the mount to wobble, but even if you would find it, would you have a replacement for it?

The blades should be oily - this is a preset lens.

Better look for another sample - these lenses should be really easy to find in Romania. Or just use it as it is.

BTW, did you get an SLR in the end? What are you using these days?
01-07-2012, 05:05 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
...
Thanks for the response. I'm not even considering a replacement since I already have another Helios 44M. Now in that video I realise that you don't see the image also moving because of the shake reduction system - quite clever isn't it. Through the viewfinder it really disturbs composing and focusing.
I will go and see if I can get a clean picture of the lens with the focusing ring off (it's 2AM and I have to use an old Russian flash to light it properly), maybe having that in front will help you remember.
I haven't bought any DSLR yet. I was expecting some money for Christmas but it didn't happen, so the acquisition will be delayed for a while. At least I'm sure now what I want is a K-7. In my free time, I am shooting with my girlfriend's K-r and with the black Spotmatic loaded with an old, expired Orwo film.
01-07-2012, 09:04 PM   #8
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44m & 44-2 are very different in construction as the later is a preset lens. I have one with #N00 serial, which I like a lot. Mine had a loose/uneven focusing ring (three screw). Now the wobbling problem is due to the lack of support near the mount (unlike Takumars, 44M or most M42s). If you are using flange less adapter (original or not), there is no way to avoid the wobbling. Now the solution is to use a flange type adapter, but you loose infinity focus. I tried to adjust the depth of the base (three more screw here at the first ring near the mount, some other M42 lens allow that like Opticam 35mm, Jupiter 9) but did not work. So only choice I had was to make the flange thin to a minimum which took it to near infinity. Will add some photo if needed.

Edit: Hope you are talking about the K-r not the Spota.


Last edited by ultraviolet; 01-07-2012 at 09:55 PM.
01-08-2012, 12:01 AM   #9
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congrats on your acquisition. one of my favorite lenses, no doubt!

I think you are barking up the wrong tree disassembling the lens to find a solution to the wobble when the problem is due to the narrow base not having a flange to press it tighter to the camera mount. I solved this quite easily by trying a few different Chinese made knockoff M42 adapters until i found one that presses snugly against the camera (non flange type). It cost $7 and works better in this case than a genuine Pentax adapter. My lens has no wobble whatsoever. The source i had is long gone, but some discussion in an old thread here:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/101836-helios-...-solution.html

The cheap rings are always hit and miss, so you may have to kiss a few frogs i suppose. regardless, good luck!

Last edited by mikeSF; 01-08-2012 at 12:15 AM.
01-08-2012, 12:19 AM   #10
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Yes, this problem is a feature of the Helioses. The genuine Pentax adapter is designed to be a loose fit until the lens is tightened onto the camera, but as you've seen, the "lip" at the base of the Helios prevents any firming up against the camera.

There are 3 solutions:

1. Use a flange-type adapter. Drawback is that you'll not be able to focus beyond a few feet.

2. Use a cheap flangeless adapter that is a tight fit onto the camera. Drawback is that you may find it difficult (or even VERY difficult!) to get it aff the camera once it's on. Removal of the little spring is usually recommended here.

3. Use the genuine adapter, but make up a shim to the same thickness of the "lip", and of slightly larger diameter than the "lip". In this way, the lens (with shim) presents a more or less flat base to the camera. This is my preferred method, and I made up the shim using a pair of scissors and the semi-rigid transparent plastic forming the lid of a pack of greeting cards. I measured the thickness with a digital caliper, and it came out at about 230 microns (or was it 270 - I don't remember, but something in this ballpark should be OK). (230 microns is 0.23mm)
01-08-2012, 01:23 AM - 1 Like   #11
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If I understand Vladimir's description correctly, it looks like the problem is that the mount piece of the lens is loose with respect to the lens. This is unrelated to the lens being mounted on the adapter and not fitting snugly, but he should confirm.
01-08-2012, 01:28 AM   #12
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Well I've got a couple of non-Helios m42 lenses (one a Super-Takumar, and one and old Vivitar) where the rear element wobbles around -- what can cause that? Missing or broken screw?
01-08-2012, 04:04 AM   #13
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Laurentiu is right, the lens also wobbles when not mounted on any camera, and on the Spotmatic (native M42 mount) as well. So my deduction is that some screw is loose inside, although I can't find any.
The photos I promised:
The one from last night, using an off-camera flash (no sync provided, so I focused and composed the shot, turned off the light, set camera in Bulb mode, fired the flash in the ceiling, and then hoped for the best).



And this one is from today, using natural light.

01-08-2012, 12:24 PM   #14
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These images bring back memories, but nothing helpful I'm afraid. I don't think I've removed enough pieces to see how that rear mount part attaches to the rest - I removed more of the pieces towards the front (the Made In USSR ring), to reveal the aperture ring mechanism, but that's as far as I went on this model. I looked now at my Helios and I have no clue how the mount can be loose - it is very solid on my sample.

From what I can tell, the screw part and the black ribbed part just above it are a single piece - is that what you are seeing too - are they wobbling together?

Anyway, I did a quick search and I came up with another thread that might help:

I need help to disassemble an Helios-44
01-08-2012, 12:31 PM   #15
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BTW, if you're going to disassemble the lens further, take images of what you are doing - they can both help you put it back and you can share what you did. Be careful if you start taking apart the focusing helicoid - I did that on a Zeiss Biotar and it could be screwed back in several different places, so it took me an hour of trial and error to find the right way that would allow infinity focus again.
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