Extremely Swirly Bokeh – Short Tutorial

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66 Responses

  1. Ali says:

    Very interesting. I’m waiting for a good deal on the helios, I can’t seem to justify the $50 price tag after splurging on a mint CZJ 58mmf/2 🙂 It looks you’re still shooting with the a7/a7r, have you grown to like it more as you’ve used it? I’ve been playing around with the idea of getting a second body, but wanted to see how the OMD-EM1 or maybe the Fuji XT1 render images. However, I end up checking to see if the Nex7 has had a new price drop, more often than I thought I would.

  2. Boris says:

    is there a video tutorial?

    • Hi Boris,
      I am not aware of such tutorial, but what exactly would you expect from it? All notes about background and distances would stay same and lens is same too… I am not interested in video but maybe I can still help, if you post particular problem that you are dealing with, using same principles described here, for video shooting?


  3. Dan says:

    Hi Victor,

    Superb website. You are a true photographer. Great tip on enhancing the swirly bokeh. Thanks!

  4. lechu says:

    I tried to modify my Helios 44-2 but unfortunately, I cannot takout the front glass. I removed the protective rim ofc, do you have any tip to do that ?

    • Hi lechu,
      could you post thee image of how your lens look like without rim. You can use forum section and open new thread in legacy lenses part. I need to see itin order to give you some advise.


  5. jose says:


    This is great! I tried it myself, however once I reversed the element I cant seem to have anything on focus. Any thoughts?I’m using it in a m4/3 and is a 44-2 58mm. Thanks

    • Hi Jose,
      sorry for the late reply…
      The problem could be related to specific type of Hellios lens that you have used. In some cases, convex part of the front glass might hit the second lens group causing significant twist in the focus plane. You might try to create small spacer from the thin rubber e.g. and place it bellow reversed front element (just on its rim of course) to slightly increase distance between modified lens groups.
      Don’t however expect to achieve crystal sharpness after modification. Lens wasn’t particularly sharp even unmodified and wide open and with this modification sharpness will suffer. I can’t reach infinity sharpness too, but above described effect is best seen at short distances to the subject.


  6. Andrew says:

    Hi – Loved your results! I opend the front and reversed the element easily enough, but couldn’t for the life of me get the ring screwed back in. Any ideas?


    • Hi Andrew,
      Is there a chance to send me the image of the open lens? You can use our forum section and open new topic in the legacy lenses forum section. You should be able to embed images there and I will take a look if I can recognize the problem and offer some suggestion. The only thing that comes to my mind without seeing the lens is to try to pull focus in order to pull back the second lens group and allow more clearance for screwing front ring.

  7. Andrew says:

    Moved response to Forum. Thanks.

  8. Jakob says:

    Hy Viktor,

    I really like your post,
    and i want a lense like that.
    Can you make one for me please? Just send me an email.
    I´m based in vienna, austria.


    • Hi Jakob,
      I can make such a modification for you if you like. As listed above, it cost 99 USD + shipping and it usualy (depending on the availibility of a good, clean sample) takes 7 day to finish it after payment is recieved.
      If you are interested, send me please PM on my email – viktor.pavlovic@post.cz and I will give you instructions for payment via PayPal.

  9. Damon says:

    Your tips worked perfectly for an old albinar 35mm f2.8 k mount. An interesting result. Thanks for the info.

  10. Joe Van Wyk says:

    I would love to have one of your creations. Could you please give me a quote on the best quality lens you can find, and your services to reverse the lens?

    I would also like your recommendation on the best converter for my Sony a7ii.

    I would like to order one right away.

    Thanks very much,

    • Hi Joe,
      I can offer lens + conversion for 99 USD. Shipping is added according location and I charge actual cost.
      If you are interested let me know and I will send you payment instructions. Right now I have3 Hellios lenses ready for conversion.
      Thank you for the interest and have a great day,

  11. CatnFox says:

    Dear Viktor,

    I would like to have one modded lens + conversion for Nikon D610. Please email me for further details.

  12. Steve says:

    I tried this and it worked like a charm, although I mature some macro rings to enable me to focus closer for macro.
    Never taken a lens apart before but I have two old Helios 44M-2 lenses so figures it was not a big risk to modify one.
    It’s now my “art” lens ha ha

  13. Shinnosuke says:

    Thanks to your trick I finally achieved extremely swirly bokeh with my Canon Eos 70D. 70D has APS-C size sensor so it was very hard to shoot a swirly bokeh photo. Your tips are simple and great.

  14. John Lee says:

    what would be the result if use Helios 44 Swirly Bokeh after your handwork for that? any picture I can see? I am very interested to buy one from you.

    • John Lee says:

      I am not in english, so don’t know how exact you did to do that. Do you have video to show me how? or any picture about the process

    • Hi John,
      The lens itself will look similar after modification. Without looking closely, you can’t tell the difference, but you’ll see it for sure, once you try to take pictures. You can buy modified Helios from me if interested, I have 2 on stock now. Send me please email on viktor@verybiglobo.com and I will send you payment informations.

  15. Paul Henni says:

    Thanks for posting this. My local camera tech fixed me up with one and an adapter for my Fuji XE-2. Just playet with it and having fun.

  16. Roger says:

    I tried this in my helios 44-3 and it really works.

  17. Vicente says:

    Hi, Viktor.

    I’ve sent you an email asking you some questions to ask for help. Thank you very much.


  18. Stephane JARRIN says:

    Hi Victor, i would like to buy you an Helios like this Please give me the total price, shipping to MARTINIQUE 97229 PAYMENT PAYPAL

  19. Tommaso Frangini says:

    Hi, I’m interested in using The Helios 44 58mm for my shortfilm.
    I was searching for other two lenses (wide and tele) to create a set for The shooting.
    Which lenses do you think I need to take (with a similar budget of the Helios).

  20. jose luis says:

    Hola, invertí la lente y ahora suena como si no apretara bien el anillo exterior, ¿es normal que tenga holgura?

  21. Ricardo says:

    Hi Viktor,
    You mentioned that in some cases convex part of the front glass might hit the second lens group …
    Can this occur with a Zebra M44-2, adapted for infinite focus on Nikon cameras?

  22. Jed says:

    Can i get one fir 99$ still

  23. Marion says:

    Hello- do you still sell this lenses?
    I also would like one from you !

  24. To all who are interested in adapted helios 44x by me, they will be available from November. Please send me the email if interested.

  25. Nancie says:

    Hello! Are you still selling these?

  26. Hg says:

    Hi victor, do you still sell this invented front element Helios?

  27. Hi Viktor,
    Thanks so much for this in-depth article! It seems a little beyond my comfort level, but I would love to buy a modified helios from you if you have any for sale. Let me know what you think, and thanks again for sharing your experience. 🙂

  28. DL says:

    Ready to purchase your lens. Your email address bounced back after I emailed you. Please reach out to me, I am ready to purchase. Thanks in advance!

  1. November 4, 2016

    […] Czy warto bawić się w rozkręcanie obiektywu po to, aby popsuć jego własności optyczne? Czy lepiej dla specjalnych efektów kupić jakiegoś „bokehowca”, np. Heliosa 44-2, Petri 50mm f/2.0 czy Heliosa Cyclop 85mm F1.5. Odpowiedź każdy pasjonat fotografii musi znaleźć samemu. Więcej o swirly bokeh i przeróbkach Heliosa na stronie http://www.verybiglobo.com/extremely-swirly-bokeh-short-tutorial/ […]

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