Helios-103 1.8/53 is a regular lens for ranging cameras of the Kiev brand. Presently it is very easy to find it on flea markets, but it isn’t of great value because of the specific bayonet .
Helios-103 1.8/53 from this review has a serial number 8143748 and was made on the plant «Arsenal» (Kiev, Ukraine). The mount for the light filter is a little bent, but the optics is normal, without attritions or any other damages. As other ranging cameras, Helios-103 1.8/53 is small, it’s weight is 150g. Has a 40.5mm diameter of a forward mount for the light filter.
As Helios-103 1.8/53 with bayonet Contax-Kiev RF has no focusing ring, it’s not easy to make a home-made adapter to modern cameras for this lens. Besides, Helios-103 1.8/53 is a ranging lens, so you can use it as a classical lens only with ranging or modern mirrorless cameras. On the reflection cameras Helios-103 1.8/53 can be used only as an ultra-close-up lens. I tested it on the full-frame formal mirrorless system camera Sony a7 by means of home-made adapter from bayonet Contax-Kiev Rf to bayonet Sony E. My adapter was made of a part of bayonet from the «Kiev» camera and an adapter «M39 — Sony E».
Helios-103 1.8/53 has one aperture’s control ring, it rotates with the clicking sound. You can set one of the following values of F/ 1.8, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22. The maximum relative opening 1:1.8 is only in 1.23 times more, than value 1:2 which is used at a similar lens — Jupiter-8 1:2 F=5cm P, and 1.44 times less, than value 1:1.5 which is used at Jupiter-3 1.5/50. The aperture has 9 blades, at the same time it is possible to receive quite equal circles in an unsharpness zone (for example on the covered F/2.8 aperture). Aperture’s blades are gray, by the masking on blades appear the developed naked metal areas which reflect light.
As I know, Helios-103 1.8/53 wasn’t released in version for mounting connection, it was only for bayonet Contax-Kiev RF. I met the information, that there is the version with other name — Helios-103 2/50, but I didn’t found any pictures of it.
There are two models of Helios-103 1.8/53 with slightly changed design of the case, the main difference is the ridge surface of an aperture control ring. It’s quite interesting, that since 1993 till 1994 Helios-103 1.8/53 was released under the name Menopta 1.8/53 without logo of the Arsenal plant.
In it’s optical arrangement Helios-103 1.8/53 uses 6 lenses in 4 groups. On an open aperture Helios-103 1.8/53 is much sharper, than Jupiter-8 1:2 F=5sm P and it’s not so strongly afraid of flares. Unfortunately, it’s bokeh looks visually worse, than Jupiter’s-8.
Helios-103 1.8/53 is a good ranging lens. Unfortunately, such lenses are unsuitable for use on reflex cameras.