Welcome to the Frankencamera blog, home to my digital conversions of two iconic analogue rangefinders. The following pages document some of the many challenges I have faced designing and constructing them, as well as my subsequent solutions. I hope you enjoy following my progress and if you feel inspired to convert your own camera, or to create your own designs, please check out my online shop.
Click on the images below to read more about the process behind my designs or read my latest update on the project here for more up-to-date information.
In 2014 I converted my first camera, the small and beautiful Konica Auto S3, as I wanted to use its bright viewfinder and brilliant lens with a digital sensor. Using funds from my Arkwright engineering scholarship I deconstructed the Konica and a Sony NEX-5, designed a 3D printed scaffolding and reassembled them to create a fully functioning digital rangefinder. I described my design process in a post on this blog which gained some attention and following its success I created a Kickstarter to fund a second, more ambitious, conversion.
For the second camera I chose the Leica M3 due to its beautiful viewfinder, incredible lenses and larger size, allowing for a stronger and more elegant design. There were some downsides to this choice however. The Leica M3 is an iconic and expensive camera, so I was determined to make the conversion completely reversible and not harmful to the Leica which in turn made the designs more complicated.
I wrote a detailed overview of the second conversions in another post on this site which explains the choices I made and a lot of the design process. I have also written very detailed instructions to help you disassemble and reassemble the two separate versions of the Leica M3 conversion (one Full-Frame and the other APSC). Finally, I have opened an online shop where you can download the instructions for free, purchase and download all the CAD files, buy a reservation for premium CNC cut Aluminium parts and even leave a donation if you enjoyed the work and want to support future projects.