More Cameras In The Mix – DIY M Mount Compact Lens

Project Update: Still waiting for the metal L39 body caps to arrive from China (purchased from eBay). I decided to see what other cheap little point and shoot cameras I can find. A trip to the local Value Village did not disappoint and I scored three more candidates for a lens transplant, all for 6 dollars! First up is a Kodak KE60.

The beauty of this little guy is the fact that the 29mm F5.6 lens is mounted in a collapsible barrel and therefore I could save the whole assembly for the rehousing. I think this will give the lens an unique look.

29mm is a pretty unique focal length. The donor camera’s viewfinder is pretty nice, but too small to justify rehousing so I will probably just use a 35mm viewfinder (or a 28mm if I can find/build one).

Next up is a very nice Yashica J. Very solid and as I would discover, uses belt drive to wind the film! It’s pretty well build and has a 32mm F3.5 lens that I almost didn’t want to remove. In all honesty though, this camera is pretty heavy and not as nice as the Minolta (up next).

The Minolta AF Big Finder is a real beauty of a camera. I think it is even better made than the Canon Sureshot Owl! The viewfinder is just as big, but the additional coating really brings contrast to the framelines, unlike the washed out framelines of the Owls. The lens is all glass, but since I have no experience with this camera, I think I might just save it and shoot with it for now. It really is too nice to be salvaged.


Machining actually already started. I’ve started to do some rough lathe cuts, but hit a snag right away. I have no boring tools! I will have a hard time cutting precise holes and internal lips/flanges without the dedicated tools. Luckily, eBay has cheap 7mm boring bars with replaceable carbide inserts. I ordered one and will be working on making the tool holder – to be the subject of a future post. Cheers.

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