Goggled Leica Glass on an MILC Body

After a few mis-steps trying to get my awesome new Leica 135mm f/2.8 Elmarit-M (thanks Travis!) to work on my Canon EOS M, I decided to make a quick write-up for how to make it work since I know this is a popular lens.

The main issue is that the blasted range finder goggles.  A – they disallow you from mounting the lens with a flash on the body; and B – they make holding the camera a dick because it gets in the way of the right-hand grip. There are tons of people online asking “can you remove the goggles?”…well, sorta. If you have an early lens with the removable goggles, just take ’em off, bin ’em, and you’re good to go. If you (like me) have the later cast goggles, you’re gonna need to do some work.

Do note however, that what I outline here will IRREVERSIBLY stop the lens from working properly on a range finder body – this is for use ONLY on normal mirrorless bodies! I hold no responsabilty if you wreck your lens, ruin a shoot, or contract ebola while trying this! Do this at your own risk!

First, get a tiny flat-head screwdriver and remove the screw on the bottom. Mine was so tight, I wound up just drilling it out…it doesn’t matter much since both ways achieve the same result.

Now the lens barrel and goggles rotate separately. If you don’t mind having to focus 2-handed by holding the focus ring with one hand and focusing with the lens barrel, then you’re all done…put the lens on you adapter and you’re good to go. Move the goggles out of your way as needed. This is what I did since I use this lens with my big film shooting rig and run a follow-focus setup on it anyways.

If you want a hand-held lens, you’ll need to do some extra work.
Get yourself a tube of Permatex High Temperature Sleeve Retainer.

Rotate the goggles 180 degrees, drill a small hole all the way through into the plastic. Get a small nail and cut it down to size so that when inserted, it locks the barrel and ring together again, but not far enough that it sticks out into the optics path. Coat the nail with sleeve retainer, insert it, and let it cure overnight.

If you want to take it all the way and don’t mind totally ruining the lens, don’t do anything manually to it. Use a mill to machine off the goggles entire, leaving just the ring around the lens barrel. Coat the exposed metal with laquor or black paint and you’ll be all set.

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