Sonikon NikkorNex: A Vintage Nikon Film SLR Fused with a Modern Sony Mirrorless


Photographer Brendan Taylor is currently working on an ambitious frankencamera project. He’s trying to transfer the innards of a working Sony NEX 5N mirrorless camera into the body of a non-functional Nikon Nikkormat EL 35mm manual SLR.

Taylor originally wanted to use a broken Leica M3 as the shell, but decided to attempt the transplant surgery on a Nikon first for practice.

After gutting the Nikon of its internal components, Taylor was happy to find that the NEX’s components fit very nicely within the frame of the Nikkormat. In particular, the LCD screen and back section of the Sony camera sits snugly in the rear door gap of the Nikon.

Taylor’s hope is that the finished camera will be a retro-looking digital camera that offers focus peaking, manual-only focusing, and a SLR prism component that is completely replaced with Sony’s electronic viewfinder.

Here are some photographs showing the state of the surgery so far:






Taylor is currently documenting his build progress over on and in a large gallery of photographs on his Google+ profile.

Camera Mashup – Sonikon NikkorNex – vintage digital conversion [ via duckrabbit]

Image credits: Photographs by Brendan Taylor

  • PhotoShark

    This is the best frankencamera project yet! I hope he gets it working right!

  • Stewart Doyle

    Nice to see one of these projects that is not a complete abortion ruining both the new, and old, cameras. Hats off to the guy if this works!

  • John

    Utterly pointless. Shoot film if you want to use an old film camera. Tired of people wanting digital to be “the way is was with film.” GET OVER IT.

  • agb

    even on a custom project, he doesn’t keep the optical viewfinder. SAD

  • David

    Welcome to a free world. STFU. If he wants to do this he can, and I might just follow suit if it works. Why do you GET OVER IT.

  • hmm

    A modern day retro… Sony sensor in a nikon body… looks great.

  • Gannon Burgett

    It’d be borderline impossible. He couldn’t keep the mirror in there.

  • Jostein Roalkvam

    Haters gonna hate

  • Keam Aulde

    Use a Hassy V-system and a Polaroid back to do the mod will be much easier, I think.

  • Stephen

    Oh my gosh. Please make it work! I’d buy one in a heartbeat :p

  • Serge S Frolov

    Amazing project, have been dreaming of doing something similar for years but never had the guts to chop my old nikon or pentax or any other film camera, but would love to see how this and your next project turns out. Few questions, if I may, how will the top buttons on NEX (shutter, on/off and playback) work? and is it possible to only have the EVF with out the back display, to keep as much of the original cover and stealth look?