Anamorphic Chop Shop – Helios Extreme Mod Mk II

October 9, 2016

Taking the previous mod as the base, this one builds up on it, intensifying changes to the glass, adding a seamless focus gear and a rotating adapter so alignment is never an issue. This mod aims to make your lens more usable and even more special. :)


All the RED links on this post are part of eBay’s Partner Network, so if you purchase anything through them, you’re helping me to keep this project going.

You can support this project on Patreon. Make your contribution and help the Anamorphic Cookbook!

Heya, I’m Tito Ferradans and today we’re here to work on a few upgrades to the Helios 44-2 Extreme mod. You probably watched the original video, as it is the most popular one in the channel. After finishing the mod and doing it over and over to fulfill ebay orders, I started to wonder about some other components I handled repeatedly for the mod.

Namely the optics. Not everyone wants polishing – which I can understand, and I myself prefer the unpolished version – so I kept staring at this black coating that covered the sides of the biggest glass elements. I decided to give it a go and try to take it off. In order to do that, I used what I had at hand: nail polish remover. It was messy, I think I poisoned myself a little by breathing fumes, but it got the job done. Since that first experience I experimented some other chemicals and the most efficient one is 100% acetone. I got this huge bottle at a drugstore for $10. Still, don’t breathe it in too much, prefer doing this on a well ventilated area. Wear gloves.

The first step is to take the glass out of the lens. Easy peasy, it’s been explained in the other tutorial. Now, with cotton pads embedded with acetone, rub the sides of the glass to take off the black coating. We’re gonna replace that with something else. You might get some black paint over the top and bottom of the lens, it’s ok for now, just be sure to remove everything from the sides. Some of the ones I did were pretty hard to take off, so be persistent.

Now that they’re clear, get your sharpie collection out. As I implemented this mod on my Amber set, I’ll go with orange. Keep the gloves on. Carefully paint the sides of each group. The ink will take a little bit to dry, so add several layers until you have a nicely saturated color. The new tint will make your lens look amazing from the outside, and it’s an extra layer to tinting the flares. Put the lens back together and let’s move on to the next step: focus gears.

As I’ve shown in a previous video, you can easily make your own 3d-printed focus gears. The hard part is getting the right measurements for each lens. Again, as I wanted to up the game with the Ambers, I spent a good week experimenting and finding the ideal measurements for the Helios 44-2. Continuing with the freebie collection, I’m uploading the STL model right here for you to download and print it yourself. Important to remind you that mine are printed with PLA and you’re likely to have different results if using ABS or a different material. There’s still a bit of sanding involved, but this way you can get a super-tight fit.

Lastly, I’d recommend getting these cool, rotating, M42 to EF adapters so you can realign the oval and flares perfectly whenever you want. You can find rotating adapters for almost any mount, actually.

To wrap it up I’m adding here some test shots because people get pissed on the other video due to the lack of test shots – even though I have a ton of footage in multiple videos. :)

This is it for this week. Making a cool lens twice as cooler and ready to shoot. If you wanna support this channel, subscribing is always a good idea. You can also get yourself one of my Helios modded lenses or, even better, an entire Amber set so you’re literally helping me to fund these videos. If you’re not entirely convinced that it’s a good investment, head on to the blog and rejoice in the many articles about anamorphic. Tito Ferradans signing out.

If you want individual lenses, you’re still able to get a modded Mir 1B, Helios 44-2 or Jupiter 9. Lastly, if you just want aperture discs for making the mods on your own, you can get them here.