Canon 5D Mark II modified with a Leica Noctilux 50mm f/1.0 lens

Robert Benson modified his Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR camera and attached a Leica Noctilux 50mm f/1.0 lens:

This has been my obsession for more than a two months, and its now complete. The camera above is (was) a Canon 5dmk2. I wanted to use Leica rangefinder “M” lenses on it, but of course you cant, because the Leica flange distance is really short – shorter than the Canon EOS – the Leica have to be mounted closer to sensor to work. So I ripped apart a camera, modified it, and now I have a camera better than the Leica M9, at a fraction of the cost. Want one?

Read the details of the modifications, including some sample images (via CR).

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  • Phill

    But also a Camera much larger..

    • KH

      And would only works in Live View mode..

    • JC

      This contraption is “better than M9”, does this guy have any award winning photos shot using this contraption to back up his claim?

    • JC

      A complete waste of time !

  • Sascha

    With the M on the horizon this is completely obsolete.

  • Very clever. It would be nice to remove the pentaprism hump since I assume it’s not used anymore? Or maybe it contains too many electronics. Probably not cheap enough to replace an M-E though?

    • Yeah, on the next one I’m going to saw off that viewfinder since its not being used.

      • Nice work dude by that comment about the Noctilux looking like something from a 4×5″ camera is a big lie 🙂

  • Oh No!

    Something only his mother can love.
    It look like a Cyclops.

  • Lera

    Looks scary! What a waste of time! Where’s your aesthetic, dude?

    • At least the guy made something some people will like.

      What have you made lately?

  • Honestly, no, I don’t want it. I don’t see how it can possibly be better than the M9 either. The sensor is not design for such short flange and you don’t have a proper viewfinder any more. Neither do you get the advantage og the rangefinder og the discrete nature of the M body. In my humble opinion, you just wasted two months of you life, and ruined a perfectly good camera. And just for the record, the sensor on the 5D mk II, is woefully inferior to the Kodak KAF1800, as still image sensor.

    • It doesn’t sound like you understand much about cameras. The M9’s sensor is junk. It was worse than the already crappy A900’s sensor when it was released. 2 generations behind the state of the art at the time it was released.

      Have you seen the radial blooming artifacts you get on the M9 sensor? What the heck are you talking about when you say it’s better than 5D2’s sensor? Take a look at these in full size:

      Even the small size samples on Robert Benson’s page look better than most shots I’ve seen from a M9.

      Don’t feel bad now because someone rubbed it in your face that your M9 is junk. You should listen to me more often 🙂

      • Assume what you will about my understanding of cameras. On the other hand, you do not seem to understand much about photography.

        If you really believe the M9 to be junk, then please take a look at my pictures and tell me that they are junk too.

        Take a stroll through my blog, where most of the images are M9 jpegs edited on the iPhone.

        Now go troll somewhere else!

        • If you think I don’t know much about photography, you don’t know much about using a web-browser to see what I do.

          Your website has no large images… they’re all tiny web-sized images. Here’s a sample of what the 5D2’s sensor can do:

          Hope you know how to use flickr

          • Your point is moot and once again you assume too much. Writing a few blog posts about cameras does not make you an authority on photography. Neither does a flickr account make you a photographer.

            Let me just make another point clear. While photographic equipment may be a science, which can be measured and compared in numbers and charts, photography it self, is a craft, where the camera is one, albeit very central, of many tools. The image sensor being only one part of that tool.

            How that sensor behaves in well controlled situations differs greatly, depending on the situation.

            For instance, having less noise in high iso settings, matters very little, if the noise that is present looks digital and synthetic, as it does on the 5D mk ii.

            I’m not saying that the Canon 5D mk ii is a bad camera. It’s actually a very good camera, considering the price tag. I would know, I used to have one. Didn’t care much for Canon lenses though.

            Another example is skewing. CMOS sensors do not capture the whole image at once, but does it one line at a time, which make them very prone to skewing at exposures slower than 1/125th of a second. Canon 5D mk ii is definitely no exception.

            The CCD sensor captures the whole frame a once, thus making motion look more natural. Just like it does on film.

            And don’t get me started on skin tones.

            Here is a full-res sample of a picture on my website:


            I will be happy to share other pictures at request, but I have no more time at present.


          • @Martin Stampe

            You shouldn’t have posted that image because it shows how much of a bluffer you are. Apart from it being out of focus, it’s also extremely blurry. Maybe you should have spent more time with the Canon lenses you dismissed and learned how to use them a bit more.

            The slower than 1/125 thing in stills is a lie and shows the limitation of your knowledge. I’m not going to even bother to explain how a focal plane mechanical shutter works because it’s clearly beyond you.

            I repeat my point… you don’t even know how to use a web-browser to find out what I do:

            And speaking about assuming more than what one should… you must think having a website means your points are valid. You really are new to computers and the internet, aren’t you? LOL

          • Raippa

            How is that a good photo?

  • e

    Leica is not only about a certain quality, it’s about an ergonomy, about a shotting style, about a feeling of the instrument in hand, about an elegance. When that will be understood?

  • Kevin

    ‘Now I have a camera better than the M9’
    This camera is big, it’s ugly and has no viewfinder. In what way is it better than the leica?
    No I don’t want this camera.

  • linux

    An interesting idea might be to do “this” with the new sony compact FF ^^

    • Bondi Beach

      An excellent idea!

  • skinnfell

    This reminds me of the people who modify their grandmas´ car to look like a supercharged racer. And think they are hot shit afterwards. “Look! Its a lamborghini at a fraction of the cost!”

    Just sad.


    • Jei

      Quite like the DIY Lamborghini! I want one.

  • my stomach is churning a little, like the first time they did that experiment on “the fly” when the dog became heavily mutated 🙂

  • luke

    would be much better a sigma merrill modified for m lenses

  • x3

    now go and ask hasselnex for a design upgrade?

  • tadaa

    Should try with RX1

  • joe

    oh boy! a destroyed 5d, now if you need a new one, you could have bought a m9 in first place…

  • Daryl

    Not for me but the modification is admirable as these cameras can be quite complex. For all the critics: the complexity of lenses and cameras should not be underestimated, Robert has done something novel here and shows that future offering may not tie us down to brand but open up an interchangeability of camera/sensor and lenses. We see this happening with m4/3, Sony Nex etc. with adapters, Leica R lenses are being adapted to cinema mounts, the uncoupling of brand specifics opens up many possibilities. Nice work!!

    • Bondi Beach


  • Camaman

    I love it how he replied the leather texture back to the hacked part! lol!

    I know this is a video camera, but too much trouble to through just for that extra 1/2 stop you can get with an adapter…

    OT: How do I remain logged into this site for comments? It keeps asking me for name email…

  • Dan

    Ugly as hell, but what a marvellous feat! Congrats to the modifications, well done. Of course the combination of the D5II sensor and other features with the Leica lenses opens up new possibities (for both vids and stills).

  • Remedy

    Boy this shit is ugly as November night on northern hemisphere. o_O

  • Its also 300+ grams heavier than a M9 , harder to focus, and looks very cobbled together.

    Will it fit into a small bag or a coat pocket like my M8?

  • This is rubbish. I have never owned a Leica camera or lens. I have always been fascinated by them but could never really justify forking out the money for one when 35-40% of my work is sports. I think Leica equipment is unbelievable. If I did only weddings, I would have already pre-ordered the new Leica M. Right now, I’m shooting with a Nikon D700 and many pro Nikon lenses. However, before I switched from Canon to Nikon I was using a Canon 5D Mark II. Let me tell you, IQ and noise performance is not as good as what people say on the 5D Mark II. Yes, there is less noise than most cameras. But, the noise is that is there is downright nasty. Yep, nasty. Red, purple mush digital noise is all I can remember from that camera. Not even close to the D700, which is more like fine black only film grain. The D700 is the best high iso noise camera on the market even today and it focuses wayyy faster than the 5D mk ii – good win Nikon. On the other hand, in my opinion too much is made of “noise” though when comparing whether a camera is better than another camera. How about ergonomics and sharpness? These are things I really care about. From what I can see, Leica sensors produce sharper images than almost any other brand. I don’t know, they just have a “look” about them that is spectacular. It is also discreet, which is one thing the 5D Mark II most certainly isn’t. I remember shooting in a church for a wedding that was extremely quiet. I feel like people were looking over there shoulders back at me because of how loud it was – something like “CLANK” – and YES, I was taking pictures slowly in an unobtrusive manner. Also, if I owned an M of any level I could see myself using it so much more than a DSLR. I just think the very act of getting a DSLR out of a camera bag and attaching a heavy larger lens to it is too much work for just a snapshot on vacation or when driving by a cool location I haven’t been to before, etc. I could see myself having a Leica around my camera nearly 90% of my life, LOL. So, this guy is a fool saying that the 5D mark ii is better than the M9. Clearly it isn’t!

    • Este bato está ardido por que no tiene baro para una Leica

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