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.
About the Author
Tito Ferradans is a Brazilian photographer and cinematographer based in Vancouver, Canada. You can find out more about him on his website or follow his work on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. This article was also published here and shared with permission.