SearchSearch MemberlistMemberlist RegisterRegister ProfileProfile Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages Log inLog in

Helios 44 (13 blade 1st gen) relube, Mir 1 37mm relube
View previous topic :: View next topic  

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:04 pm    Post subject: Helios 44 (13 blade 1st gen) relube, Mir 1 37mm relube Reply with quote

My lately acquired (as part of a job lot) Helios 44 is a first generation one with distinctive 13 blade iris. According to Camerapedia it is not quite the original first manufactured at KMZ Kraznogorsk Mechanical Plant (manufacturer of Zenith cameras) in 1957, that was Helios bayonet mount and 40.5mm filter thread rather than my M39, 49mm filter example. Browsing pics online it seems also that the 44 soon acquired the black finish and looks of the most common Helios the 44-2. The serial number of helios 44's doesn't follow the dating convention of some other Russian lenses whereby the first two digits indicates the year of manufacture.

My example is worn and scratched and had very stiff focus. However disassembly and relubing proved pretty straightfoward, if you already have a bit of nous with this sort of thing then these notes will set you up.


Small screwdriver for grub screws.
(probably) lens spanner or substitute.
Lens grease (I used a light white lithium grease)

1. The optical/aperture asssembly is removed in one unit by carefully grasping the lens at each end and unscrewing (quite often in these cases there is a sneaky little grub screw on the lens body locking the lens in that would need to be loosened first. This was not the case with mine but you would be well advised to scrutinise yours carefully). PIC 2

2. The focus sleeve is removed by loosening 3 grub screws (one is circled in pic 1 above). These seat in little indents (one circled in Pic 3) so make sure you have looosened sufficiently.

3. The aperture number sleeve is removed similarly. I made scratches to mark its orientation/positioning. PIC 3

4. The slotted locking ring (LR - PIC 5) has three grub screws that need to be loosened, then I needed the lens spanner to start uncrewing it. Once it is removed the lower section of lens body detaches and the helicoid is almost completely exposed. I decided to clean it like this, worried that the positioning of everything would be dependent on the re-engagement position of the helicoid sections.

5. Re-assembly was a simple reverse order procedure. You can re-engage the grub screws in their indents by feel or if necessary, as I did, by taking one out and using a straightened paperclip to feel in the hole.
And while you're at it why not redo the markings: http://forum.mflenses.com/a-way-to-re-do-lens-markings-t40928.html


PIC 3.


PIC 5: parts. 1 = aperture number ring; LR = helicoid locking ring; 2 = optical/aperture asembly; 3 = focus ring; 4 = lower body + mount section; H = focus helicoid.

For more info on disassembly check out this description for the similar 44-2 posted by Lloydy:

MIR 1: Relube of my Mir 1 BELOW.

Last edited by marcusBMG on Tue Nov 11, 2014 4:03 pm; edited 6 times in total

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent, a very useful tutorial. I'm looking forward the MIR 1b as well, mine is a bit tight.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 2:24 pm    Post subject: MIR 1 RELUBE Reply with quote

After posting I found that there is already this advice on relubing Mir 1:


However here are pics of my silver version and a more detailed account of the relubing of my lens.

1. like the Helios 44 the optical asembly is first separated from the mount and helicoid. In this case this is done by removing a locking collar at the mount end - lens spanner may be necessary PIC 1, or you may be able to loosen it in the same manner as for the Helios, by holding at each end and unscrewing.

pics below

2. The preset ring A is held on by 3 x grub screws. loosen these and ease off PIC 3. NB make a scratch to mark its orientation first.

3. The F-stop ring F is similar. Under this is a leaf spring C held on by a couple of small screws holding a roller bearing in a wee slot - the aperture "clicks" PIC 4. Another little round headed screw restricts the movement of the collar that the F-stop ring attaches to. I couldn't see how to remove this collar, it could be that there is eg a concealed circlip.

4. A stop screw S in a slot levers the iris. Remove this to unscrew the housing PICS 6, 7.

5. That's as far as I went, I cleaned and relubed in this state. It was not clear to me how to continue to access the iris.


6. The focus ring is removed by loosening three grub screws and pulling off.

7. Now the crux of the mattter is removing the locking ring LR to detach the mount M (the mount still has a M39-M42 adapter on it) from the helicoid H - PIC 9. First there is a single small grub screw to loosen (not visible in PIC 9), again make sure you have unscrewed this sufficiently it's sitting in an indent. Unscrewing the ring proved tricky, prevailed with perseverence, lens spanner essential, pipe wrench padded with tape used to hold the end of the helicoid. The mount can now be pulled off the helicoid PIC 10. The interior was gummed up with nasty old grease. I scraped most of it out then used solvents. The helicoid can be completely separated after removing a small stop screw (there is actually a vacant hole on my lens which I suspect normally houses another stop screw, its absence could be the reason why the focus travel goes past the infinity focus end mark and continues until the focus sleeve collides with the preset sleeve, I suspect the machinations of a nikonista trying to recoup a mm to achieve infinity focus). Thorough cleaning and relubing can now be accomplished PIC 11.


8. I couldn't see any issues with the positioning when re-engaging the helicoid, no worries for that. But it did prove pernickety to engage the threads.

9. Having re-engaged the helicoid it was then pernickety to tighten the locking ring correctly for the small grub screw (arrowed) to engage with its indent and not prevent the focus ring from going on (because it's sitting proud of the surface) PIC 12. Note I have made a small scratch (circled) to mark the location of the indent. With lens spanner and pipe wrench I got there in the end.
10. Reassembly of the aperture end was a straightforward reversal of the disassembly.

11. Not totally sure that everything is lined up as it should be, but since all the markings are varyingly illegible, on the camera I am operating by touch anyway. Both lenses end up oriented at "ten-past" on the lens (using an original Japanese [non-pentax] M42 adapter). I much prefer the nice large preset ring on this Mir to the fumblingly narrow one on the Helios.

Pics taken with K-r and Sigma superwide II. Sorry for couple of OOF.

UPDATE: I have re-uploaded the pics (lost during server crash I understand) they are in order.

Last edited by marcusBMG on Fri Feb 13, 2015 2:12 pm; edited 5 times in total

PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 5:36 pm    Post subject: test pics Reply with quote

Some snaps taken on my K-r. resized jpg's, contrast boosted. Contrast seemed particularly dull on the Mir, the helios continues to surprise in spite of its scratched front element (as in yearsof dullard photograher pulling his snotty hanky out of his pocket and...)

Mir 1

Helios 44:

Mir 1

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks! Very usefull

PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote