Photographer hacks Canon 5D Mark II into Leica beast

Got a collection of amazing old lenses lying around, but no expensive camera to mount them on? Here's one solution: modify your existing SLR.

Got a collection of amazing old lenses lying around, but no expensive camera to mount them on?

A heavily-modified Canon 5D Mark II with a Noctilux 50mm f/1 lens attached. (Credit: Robert Benson)

Robert Benson decided that enough was enough; he would modify a Canon 5D Mark II so that it could accept Leica lenses. The idea came from an existing Noctilux 50mm f/1 lens he had lying around, which was going to waste without a Leica M9 to mount it on.

The modification is particularly complex, involving a complete strip-down of the Mark II, and getting a professional to machine the mirrorbox for the Leica's flange distance — definitely not something to try at home.

He explains the technique further:

The mirrorbox is reinforced with a two-part plexiglass frame. It is further reinforced with a 3mm thick piece of steel, which serves as the lens mount. As a result, the mirrorbox is more durable than when it came out of the camera, and strong enough to hold even the weirdest, heaviest rangefinder lenses out there, from which there are hundreds. Everything is put back together by a factory trained camera technician.

Want to see some of the sample images from this Frankenstein's monster camera? Benson has provided a few sample frames and a complete run-down of the process on his website. For those who want a slice of the action, Benson will ship you a modified camera for US$2950.

About the author

Lexy got her first taste of all things tech at an early age, playing long spells of Ski Free during the glory days of Windows 3.1. Originally from CNET's Sydney office, she now calls San Francisco home.


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