In my last article I’ve talked about the various Rodenstock Heligon lenses, with our interest being in their record-breaking speeds. I’ve also mentioned their incompatibility with an SLR because they can’t be mounted, and that I was waiting on the arrival of cheap extension tubes to overcome that :)


Well, I’ve finally received the tubes and am ready to begin the process of fitting them to the lens so it may be mounted on an SLR.

So, what do you need?

A Rodenstock Heligon lens:

My Rodenstock Heligon lens

Note that you’ll need to pay close attention to its rear element and the dimensions surrounding it… more on this below.

Cheap extension tubes for your model of SLR:


Here’s where I bought my Nikon version. Just search for extension tubes, and you’ll notice the ones below $10 all seem to be identical save for the mount that will attach to your model of SLR.



I bought the LePage brand discussed below for $6 and it does the job (supposed to hold 350lbs of weight, matter of fact).

First, something important…

We’re going to adhere the tubes with the epoxy to the rear of the lens. Notice that you should determine the dimensions surrounding the rear element of the lens as the extension tubes need to be wider so they may wrap around it. As well, there needs to be some kind of base or plateau where the tubes can be adhered to. My 68mm Heligon is perfect for this as the tubes are the same circumference as the rear of the lens, and fit nice and snug. Check the image of me holding the lens above and you’ll notice its thinner, rear-end has a flat surface to which I’m able to adhere the tubes.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

1. The tubes come in a set of three individual rings that can be used in various combinations for macro shooting, as well as the ring that attaches to your camera and the one which accepts another lens. Remove the silver ring that attaches to another lens as it won’t be needed.

The Lord of the (tube) Rings

The Lord of the (tube) Rings

2. Place the series of rings over the rear of your Heligon lens to determine fit and see which rings are necessary for the best fit possible. The tubes are quite long as a set, and since the rear of the Heligon lens needs to be as close to your camera as possible, you may not need to use all the rings. For my 68mm Heligon I only need rings 1 and 2.

Rings 1 and 2, with the Nikon mount, ready to be epoxied!

Rings 1 and 2, with the Nikon mount, ready to be epoxied!

3. Now prepare your working surface, wipe clean the lens’ surface of where you intend to adhere the tubes, and whip out the epoxy. My choice of LePage epoxy requires me to mix resin and hardener before application.

4. Begin applying the epoxy to the lens’ surface from step 2 as well as the inner thread of the bottom-most tube that you intend to attach (don’t forget the mount-ring that comes with the tubes still needs to be screwed on to the other end!).

5. Let it sit for 8 hours and you’re done.



Gorgeous glass that needs cleaning

Gorgeous glass that needs cleaning

Some sample images from a walk through the park

Abstract 1

Abstract 2

Abstract 3

Abstract 4

Links of interest:

  • My introduction to the Heligon lenses.
  • Cheap extension tubes, sold by jiakgong DIGITAL which is where I bought mine. Search for macro extension tubes, and you will find plenty under $10 which suit our needs perfectly.

Thanks for reading!