PL Mount for Canon EOS


The race is on to put a PL mount on Canon 5D, 7D or any Canon EOS SLR. Problem is, PL lenses have a 52mm flange focal depth. Canon lenses have a 44mm depth. Fortunately, both mounts have a 54mm diameter. Unfortunately, if you stick most PL lenses into a Canon mount, it will hit the mirror and lots of internal electronics. That’s because most PL lenses have elements that protrude behind the rear lens mount flange.

Pawel Achtel from S 33°44.033’, E 151°10.114’ (near Syndey, Australia) has done the first successful transplant of a PL mount onto a Live View Canon 50D, which has an APS-C size 22.3 x 14.9mm sensor. Warning: Do Not Attempt. This was done by highly obsessed, trained professionals and we at Film and Digital Times are not responsible or liable for any damage you cause or warranties you may void. I mean, can you imagine bringing this gutted EOS 50D into your Canon authorized service shop? “Ah, I seem to be having a little trouble with my mirror shutter,” is not going to cut the mustard.

Pawel is an accomplished, award-winning underwater and wildlife cinematographer. He designs a lot of the equipment he uses, and it helps that he has degrees in Engineering and Science. The PL on DSLR project began when Pawel, a self-confessed “Glassoholic,” wanted to mount his personal set of ZEISS Master Primes onto his Canon EOS 50D for a timelapse project. He likes Canon DSLR cameras for timelapse because of their low noise and high image quality. The first stop was Doug Underdahl of Long Valley Equipment, who attached and precisely set the 52mm flange focal depth of a Cinevate PL lens mount to the Canon 50D. That worked only with the 75mm Master Prime  (second picture from top right). The rest of the set has rear elements that protrude into the mirror, preventing optical viewing.

But no one wanted to dissect the Canon’s mirror and optical assembly to make room for the rest of the Master Prime set. So Pawel, armed with Dremel Tool and special sticky silicon to cover the sensor and shutter during surgery, used “brute force and good luck” to yank the mirror, box, viewfinder assembly, and contacts out of the body. “It’s a bit tricky when you don’t know what’s in there,” he says modestly.

To keep all the particles of plastic, metal and glass from contaminating the camera and sensor, Pawel operated in a negative pressure environment, made with “bits of plumbing and a vacuum cleaner.” Without mirror or finder, Pawel’s Canon 50D DSLR is not really an an SLR, so it’s more a rangefinder camera that he can focus and frame using Live View.

First machine shop to mass produce PL mounts for Canon cameras wins the FDTimes Ron Dexter Award. Please let us know.



Leave a Comment

6 Responses:

  1. Oliver says:

    Cool. We just did it with an Angenieux 24-290 Optimo…yep that was fun :D

  2. fdtimes says:

    Oliver–are you ready to dig out the mirror and electronics next?

  3. what a great looking set up!

  4. jean dodge says:

    The odd thing about the bottom photo is, what does one see when looking through the optical viewfinder? Looks to me like the mirror is gone…

    I wonder if he rigged a mirror that sits in place for viewing/ composing, and then is physically removed before shooting? And if so, what does it attach to?

  5. Pawel says:

    The bottom picture is before butchering the mirror. It only worked with longer lenses, like the MP75mm. Indeed, after the second surgery the view finder is useless and has been blanked out.

  6. fdtimes says:

    And so far, Pawel still has the only PL mounted Canon that accepts all PL mount lenses…because the mirror has been removed.

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