Transplanting Lenses

Transplanting Lenses

This article is a wrap up of my documenting my personal experiments with converting compact camera lenses. In my previous articles, I touched on re-mounting lenses on simple 3D printed mounts (Yashica T4) and using complex 3D printed mounts (Olympus Mju II). There has been a 3rd method which I have used and mentioned in my lens modding overview so I’ll end my series of articles on my experiments.

So why stop? Well, in my experiments all I ended up with were a lot of lenses which were sharp in the middle and varying degrees of ‘smeariness’ at the edges. A lot of ‘Lensbaby’ type fun lenses but with not a lot of practical use. OK for portraits and snapshots but not a lot else.

The method of using a surrogate Host lens to rehouse a compact film camera Donor lens is perhaps the most satisfying of the methods I have used so far. By using a host lens, you can usually make use of the host lens’ focusing mechanism, aperture and metal mount. However, there are a specific conditions which the transplant lens which must comply with in order for it to work.

Selection and Preparation

Donor Lens

First and foremost, the donor lens needs to have a decent focusing distance whereby it can focus to infinity at a decent distance away from the focusing plane. Lenses for interchangeable lens cameras are all developed to focus to a set distance between the mount of the camera and the camera’s focusing plane, the surface of the camera sensor on digital cameras. This is known as a flange focal distance and varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. With very few exceptions, lenses on film compact cameras were never meant to be interchangeable and need to focus to a very short distance or the camera would hardly be compact.

The donor lens should also be one which achieves focus by moving the entirety of the lens elements as a single unit and not by moving individual elements. It is easy to determine this as these lenses usually have their aperture behind the last element of the lens. More often than not, the aperture will be a combined aperture and shutter mechanism.

The first hurdle which must be overcome is to find a lens which can focus to infinity whilst remaining at least 3mm above the mount of the camera you intend to mount the lens onto. This is a rough estimate and there are ways to mount the lens recessed into the sensor cavity of your camera, but if you do, the image which will be thrown onto your sensor will be at an angle so acute it would make everything but the center of the image, blurry.

Film - No Diffraction
Digital Sensor - Diffraction due to optical block

Short flange distance poses the biggest challenge to adapting compact film camera lenses in general, as lenses which have short flange distance throw their image onto the focusing plane at very acute angles, regardless of their optical focal length. On film cameras, this is not an issue as the image falls directly onto the film, which is flat. However, digital camera sensors have various transparent layers such as a Infra Red (sometimes with combined anti-aliasing) and focusing detection cells within it’s surface. These elements sit on a thin pane of optical glass, usually not more than 1mm thick,and it is this glass which causes diffraction and edge smearing.


How to determine if your lens can focus to infinity at a suitable distance from the lens mount? The simplest way would be to ‘lens bash’. Find a relatively dust free indoor location with a view which has a view stretching beyond 1km.  Remove the body cap or lens off your camera body and expose the sensor. Keep a dust blower handy. Point the camera body towards the window and turn your camera on. Hold the intended donor lens lens about 2cm away from the lens mount and as centered to your camera sensor as possible. Move the lens slowly back towards the camera sensor whilst looking through the viewfinder or live view of your camera. Use focusing aids like focus peaking if your camera has it. If you can achieve focus on an object over 1km away, at least 3mm before the lens crosses the mount, the lens will have a chance to be successfully transplanted.

The second criteria for transplanting the lens is it’s diameter. If the diameter of the lens is more than 20mm, it cannot be transplanted onto one of the donor lens bodies described below. You can still use the simple mount method or make a complex mount for it using the techniques I have already covered in Project 1 and Project 2.

Host Lens
Selecting an appropriate host lens body is even more restrictive, dependent on the following criteria. The lens needs to have a short flange distance, manual focusing, mechanically simple, and relatively cheap and plentiful in supply.

The first criteria narrows down the field to rangefinder lenses, which usually have a very short flange distance and M42 screw mount lenses* (more on this later)

Being manual focus and mechanically simple are linked. The only autofocus lenses which meet our flange distance requirements above are for modern mirrorless lenses which have complex focusing mechanism which move individual lens elements which immediately disqualify them. Some manual lenses also achieve focus by moving individual elements but regardless of this, the lens will usually focus by moving the main body of the lens away from the camera body when it is at infinity.

At this point, we’ve pretty much narrowed the candidates for host lens to manually focusing rangefinder lenses, the most common of these being those using the Leica M mount and LTM/M39.The last criteria for host lenses is that they have to be cheap and plentiful. Luckily, there are quite a few Soviet era lenses utilizing the LTM/M39 mount which are cheap and in plentiful in supply.

Industar Lenses

Of these, the Industar 69 (28mm f2.8, M39 mount, half frame) and Industar 50 (50mm f3.5, M39 or M42 mount) come to mind as the Soviets churned them out by the millions. You can pick up individual copies easily for under USD$20 for use as donor lenses, less if you decide to pick up multiple copies as sellers often sell job lots of them. It doesn’t matter if the lens elements on them are damaged, we will be removing them to transplant our compact camera lens on them anyway. Neither does it matter if the focusing is stiff or seized. We will be renovating the lens for our purpose so we can usually fix this provide their is no rust involved.

The only things we need to be mindful of are that these lens barrels are made of aluminum and if this is warped or damaged, we may not be able to focus smoothly. Aside from this, the aperture blades are made of metal which can rust so look out for rusty aperture blades and avoid. If you do end up getting one has rusty aperture blades, you can still make use of the body but remove the aperture.

So which one should you use? The one which I have used the most is the Industar 69 because it has a shorter flange distance than a standard M39 lens, is mechanically simpler and therefore easier to modify and lastly I find that it looks nicer. This lens has a super short flange distance because it was never designed for use on a LTM/M39 camera. It was designed to be a dedicated lens for the, Soviet Chaika half frame camera at a flange distance of 27.5mm, as opposed to the 28.8mm flange distance of a LTM/M39 lens.

I’ve only ever used the Industar 50 for one project which was for a transplanted lens with a 20mm diameter and a long flange distance. This is the only real advantage of the Industar 50, it has a slightly larger lens diameter. For the purpose of describing a lens transplant, I’ll be using the Industar 69, the principle objective steps can be translated to any other donor lens bearing in mind the individual mechanics of the intended host lens.

What you’ll need

  1. Lens spanner
  2. Size 0 and 2 Flat head screwdrivers
  3. Old microfiber cloth or short piled cloth and lots of kitchen towels (not pictured)
  4. 90+% IPA or methylated spirits
  5. Blower
  6. Tweezers
  7. Lens helicoid grease or white lithium grease (not spray)
  8. Stiff bristle paint brush. New or thoroughly cleaned (not pictured)
  • Lens removal rubber tool

Step 1: Disassemble lens to core components

Breakdown 1
Breakdown 2
Breakdown 3

First, remove all the lens elements. Remove the lens retaining ring (image 2) using a lens spanner or a rubber lens tool. The retaining ring is a small threaded screw plate which keeps the front lens elements in place. Removing the retaining ring will free the top most lens element and expose a second set of lens elements which are screwed into place with the same thread which the retaining ring screws into. Remove the second set of lens elements using the lens spanner.

Turn the lens over to it’s back and remove the single set of rear lens elements. Use the lens spanner to release the innermost retaining ring, which is attached to the rear element. Be careful not to loosen the outer rings as the outer most ring holds the aperture mechanism in place.

Breakdown 4
Breakdown 5
Breakdown 6

Next, turn the lens to it’s side. There are 3 sets of screws (left image) which screw onto the lens helicoid and hold the lens barrel in place. Remove these screws with a size 0 flat head screwdriver and keep them somewhere safe.

You will now be able to remove the lens barrel completely. Flip the barrel over. There is a single screw post, screwed into the barrel as indicated with the screwdriver in the middle image. Remove this post using a size 2 flat head screwdriver.

Unscrew the center lens helicoid and you will have disassembled the lens to it’s core component. There is an aperture mechanism within the lens helicoid, which is held in by a retaining ring at the rear of the heliciod. I will not disassemble as doing so will release the aperture blades, which are fiddly to reassemble.

Step 2: Clean and Transplant Lens


For the transplanting of the donor lens, we will work extensively with the lens helicoid itself, therefore the first step would be to clean the heliciod. Use IPA or methylated spirit on kitchen towel first, cleaning off as much of the old helicoid grease. Then, finish off using an old microfiber or short piled cloth. You could just use kitchen towels but I find that it does not really get into the grooves as much as cloth. Short or micro pile cloths are recommended as they do not leave behind fibers.

Next, place the donor lens in the cavity where the front elements used to be. The diameter of this cavity, for the Industar 69 is 18.4mm. If your donor lens is significantly smaller in diameter, then I would suggest that you pad out the diameter with either carefully wound tape or 3d print a sleeve to fit around the donor lens. The latter is preferred as it will create a sleeve of consistent width and ensure the lens is centered to the heliciod.

Once the donor lens is secured to the helicoid, replace the lens element retaining ring. Check to see if it obscures the donor lens significantly. If it does, you may want to grind off a little off the center of the retainer. In my experience to date, it is quite unlikely you will need to do so.


Once the donor lens is secured, check that it does not move around within the heliciod cavity. If it does, add more tape or increase the thickness of the 3d printed sleeve. Then, using a, clean, stiff brush apply a thin layer of grease to the helicoid threads. Applying the grease with a stiff brush and in a thin coat is important as too much grease will only only serve to attract dirt at the bottom of the lens mount as any excess it gets pushed down there.

Once you’ve greased the helicoid, clean and re grease the base of the lens, the same way you cleaned and greased the helicoid. You could have done this when you cleaned the heliciod but I recommended cleaning the helicoid first as there is a lot of handling of the helicoid in transplanting the donor lens which could end with a lot mess if the helicoid grease were not removed first. Once everything has been greased, screw the helicoid into the base of the lens and ensure it rotates smoothly. Then, reattach the lens body immediately so that the greased helicoid is not exposed to dust and dirt.

Step 3: Make Mount and Adjust focusing

There are 6* adapters I use, in combination, for mounting any transplanted lens. I mainly use Sony digital cameras so these adapters are for attaching to Sony E mount cameras but they should be available for other mirrorless camera mounts too (Fuji FX, M4/3 etc.).

  1. L39 to Sony E mount adapter
  2. Leica M to Sony E mount Close focusing adapter
  3. M39 to M42 adapter ring
  4. M39 to Sony E mount close up adapter (only 1mm or 3mm proud of the camera mount). Also available in a M42 thread instead of M39
  5. 3D printed mount, various permutations of thicknesses to either M39 mount or Sony E mount
  6. M39 to Leica M mount adapter ring (not pictured)
Mounting options

With the lens facing away from you, twist the focusing ring (lens barrel) anti clockwise until it will not turn any more. Because we have removed the lens focusing limiting post (step 5 of disassembly), the lens barrel should retract into the body by quite a distance. Keep the lens at this minimum distance whilst trying out the different mounting options. This position represents the position the lens should be at infinity and now all you have to do is try out different mounting options and the mounting solution which will enable you to focus to infinity. I’ve listed out a few permutations below to get you started.

Best solution for a naturally functioning lens with adequate flange distance – Host lens (M39) mounted to a M39 to [Your Camera Mount] adapter

Best solution for a naturally functioning lens with short flange distance – Host lens (M39) mounted to a M39 close up adapter to [Your Camera Mount]

Solution for a naturally functioning lens when the flange distance is between adequate and short – Host lens (M39) mounted to a 3d printed adapter to [Your Camera Mount]

Solution for the shorter flange distance, manual focusing with autofocus option – Remove heliciod from the lens base and lens body, print a 3d mount – Lens helicoid (28mm diameter, 1mm pitch) thread to M39 adapter. Mount helicoid as recessed as possible onto the 3d printed adapter and then on to a M39 to Leica M mount adapter. Mount this combination to a Leica M to Sony E mount close focusing adapter for manual focusing or to a Techart LM EA7 Pro mount for autofocus.

Solution for the shortest possible flange distance, awkward focusing – Remove heliciod from the lens base and lens body, print a 3d mount – Lens helicoid (28mm diameter, 1mm pitch) thread to M39 adapter. Mount helicoid as recessed as possible onto the 3d printed adapter and then on to a M39 close up adapter.

Additional modifications (To be added shortly)

Widening the transplant lens mount area
Using M42 lenses
Removing the aperture completely
Reinstate focus limiting pins



Of all the methods I’ve used to transplant compact film camera lenses, this has been the most satisfying. If the lens fit all the criteria for this method of transplant, using a donor lens will give you the most natural handling and usable lens of all the methods I’ve tried. However, this is still far away from being a practical lens. What you would use lenses like this and any of the ones I’ve transplanted by other methods for is up to you. Because they weigh next to nothing, I carry one or two around with me quite often just to get the unique rendering of one of my lenses, usually for portraits and the odd street shot. Weather that sounds like something you would do is down to what you shoot. But I believe there’s a place for them, in the same way Lensbaby have created so many fun lenses which would some people would never consider using both others love.

But what about the lens conversions by people like Miyazaki (MS Optical), who also convert lenses from compact film cameras to M mount? Well, firstly, they do not convert all lenses. The ones they convert are converted to M mount by carefully tuning the lenses using optical machines which colimate the lens and detect chromatic aberrations, equipment not easy to get hold of and require in depth knowledge and experience to operate.

This will be the last of my articles regarding transplanting lenses. I have still a few interesting lenses to convert for digital use, like the Konica WaiWai, but whatever I do will be based on the 3 articles I have already written.

I began my experiments with the intention to create a set of “what if” lenses. Highly portable prime lenses with interesting image rendering/characteristics, to supplement my usual photography load out of lenses. Lenses which I could bring about with me when I would not have brought a similar “proper” lens due to weight or space constraints. And, by and large, I’ve managed to do that with one major caveat. They’re not sharp in the edges, for reasons already mentioned, and is the same reason why most vintage ultra wide angle lenses perform poorly when adapted to digital cameras. So, by all means, have a go if you have a defective compact film camera you’re about to sling into the bin. But, if you do, have realistic expectation of the end results.

Project 02 – Olympus Mju II

Project 02 – Olympus Mju II

One of the most popular cameras of the 1990s, it is a modern classic – an affordable, stylish, light, small, splash proof camera with a fast and sharp lens coupled with accurate AF. There’s almost no downside to the camera and it is no wonder that Olympus sold almost 4m of this particular model worldwide.

It is one of the cameras I was most excited to modify to fit on my digital cameras. The process itself, however, was far from easy and involved many iterations of the final version of the adapter which I am showcasing here. The challenges were mainly to do with the extraction of the lens unit and then the designing of the adapter which would articulate the shutter/exposure mechanism which is conveniently integrated within the lens assembly unit – which can be extracted (with difficulty) as a single unit. More information can be found in the appropriate project areas.

Lens: 35mm, f/2.8, focusing from 0.35m-infinity. (4 elements in 4 groups)

Optical system construction: Lens is encased in an extended mono block plastic cylinder with 4 lugs which hold the lens block in place on a focusing platform. Also attached to the unit is a combination aperture and shutter mechanism.

Shutter and Aperture: Combined Shutter/Aperture mechanism, single set of 3 blades. Iris is a non linear triangle shape.

Common Failures:

  1. Battery door failure – very common and replaceable, unless the surrounding area where the door is mounted is also damaged (also common). Tape is crude and effective way to cure this but, inevitably, this is one of the most common source for cheap Mjus on sale on eBay
  2. Film Transport/micro switch failures: many symptoms for this, ranging from total failure in transport operability, to partial failure with some forms of film transport and flash failure. The latter is caused by the micro switch failure which syncs shutter to flash operations. Both are interlinked and made mainly out of plastic, which has a tendency to fail. Transport mechanism failures can be fixed using gearing from a donor camera but micro switch failures are almost impossible to fix.

Lens Removal:

This is guide on how to remove the lens out of a Olympus Mju II. It is NOT a repair manual. All the cameras I extract lenses from are beyond repair and my method of removing lenses is based on the easiest way of removing the lens at the expense of the donor camera.

The Olympus Mju II is a very densely packed camera, it’s compact form factor means that everything is very tightly packed into the compact body.

disassemble_1Step 1 – Separate the front and back clamshell 

The Olympus Mju II is a splash proof camera and front and rear clamshells are designed to keep moisture out of the camera. The first step is to separate these two by popping open the rear film chamber door and removing the screws highlighted in orange

Step 2 – It gets ugly, you get creative

See a screw, remove a screw. That is the basic idea. The good news is that most of the parts are plastic so where there is resistance, its relatively easy to break the bits that stand in the way to you getting to lens. There is no way of extracting the lens without sacrificing the camera in entirety, be very clear about this. It’s not a case of being careful, some of the parts in the camera are welded together and can only be forcefully separated, with no chance of reassembly.

The Prize. The extracted lens unit is approximately 24mm at it’s widest (not including the lens mounting lugs) and 25 mm high.

The rear of the lens. Note the large and bulbous rear element (compared to the front). This throws light at acute angles towards the edges.

Rear, the aperture/shutter wide open. Actuation of the aperture/shutter is via a tab in the bottom right of the lens unit.


Aperture/shutter closed down approximately half way. Note the triangular aperture. The aperture/shutter will close down completely when fully articulated.

Method of conversion:

  • Complex 3d printed mount in two parts, secured with a screw
  • Lens mounted between base of the mount and secondary enclosure
  • Base unit  has prongs to articulate shutter/aperture blades
  • Mount coupled to Leica M mount close focus helicoid

The adapter mount consists of two pieces – a base unit and a lens mount, which also has a handle to articulate the lens unit’s aperture/shutter mechanism

The lens unit mounts onto the lens mount piece by friction fit. It will be farther secured when attached to the base unit which has a lip to prevent the lens and mount units from travelling


The lens and lens mount unit is attached to the base unit. The base unit has a pair of prongs to articulate the shutter/aperture mechanism

The base unit has a slit to allow for the articulation of the shutter/aperture mechanism


The anchor screw attaches to the lens mount unit via a point which is printed in the lens mount unit. Here, I’m showing the mounting point without the outer base unit attached.

The final, assembled adapter, with both units attached. The lever on the bottom left is used to articulate the shutter/aperture mechanism.

Sample Images

Sony A7M2, 35mm f3.5, 1/3200th sec, ISO 100
Sony NEX-6, 35mm f3.5, 1/200th sec, ISO 100
Sony A7M2, 35mm f3.5, 1/250th sec, ISO 100

Some initial photos taken with the lens, full resolution versions and more photos taken with the lens can be found in on my Flickr album

Results and Conclusion:

The Mju II is the first real disappointment I’ve had so far (I’m sure that there will be more) in my efforts to convert compact camera lenses to work on digital cameras.

As you can see, the results from the images I have used to summarise the lens performance, the images are tack sharp in the centre but this sharpness rapidly disappears towards the edges. Additionally, closing the aperture/shutter blades does little to increase the depth of field of the image captured or increase edge sharpness.

The main culprit for this is the, bulbous, wide rear element which spreads the image from the lens across the size of a 35mm frame. The flange distance between this element and the film plane is very small – approx 9 millimetres. The last element in the lens group does this by distributing light onto the film plane at very acute angles. Fine if it the final capturing medium is film, not so good if the capturing is being done by a digital sensor with a (relatively) thick piece of glass in front of it. The results are a distinctively smeared image and there’s nothing that can be done about it.

It’s a major disappointment as this is undoubtedly a very sharp and fast lens. Being able to utilise this on digital cameras would have been a major achievement. As it stands, I cannot recommend that you try to convert this lens for any practical purpose. The narrow flange distance and rear lens element characteristics mean that you will never be able to overcome the edge performance characteristics with the current digital sensor technology.

Additionally, the 9mm gap means that the converted lens will not mount on most APS-C sensor cameras as most of them have a blanking plate around the sensor which will prevent mounting of the lens. The lens (with enclosure) diameter is wider than an APS-C sensor so it will only mount on a full frame sensor camera.

Having said that, I learnt a lot converting this lens and look forward to seeing how it can potentially perform on my M mount film cameras, using hyperfocal focusing. Watch this space, as they say.

Flikr Groups:

Camera Review links:

Shinjuku Camera Shop Walk

Shinjuku Camera Shop Walk

I’m lucky in that I have the opportunity to visit Japan at least once a year and when I do, it’s a must to go camera hunting in Tokyo.

There are a few guides I use to this purpose and they are the excellent Tokyo camera shops guides by Japan Camera Hunter (aka Bellamy Hunt) – and by both are excellent and easy to comprehend.

Bellamy, a British ex-pat has also got some valuable insight to etiquette when dealing with the shopkeepers. Some of it is cultural but certainly, as a foreigner who speaks Japanese, he has some interesting points to make about the way the shops/shopkeepers of each particular establishment conduct themselves.

The second guide is great as it’s a slightly more comprehensive list of the used camera shops in Tokyo, including the ones outside of Tokyo. It has links to the shop’s websites which fits in with my, personal, preference to look at the websites first and make a trip out if I find something which I am particularly interested in. A tip if you do the same, check out the blogs/articles too as the stock lists of a lot of these companies don’t get updated that often. And, yes, I use Google Translate and it works well enough Japanese to English.

Regardless of whether there is something that I am interested or not, I usually make a trip out to Shinjuku, where there are a cluster of shops which do a very good job of representing the scope of camera shops and goods available in Tokyo AND are within 70m of each other.  The third guide I use extensively is a now defunct “Shinjuku Camera Shop Walk” guide by a contributor to the ‘Tokyo Camera Style’ website, which is what prompted me to do this guide. What I found particularly useful is the visual walkthrough to these shops. The visual walkthrough is particularly useful for people like me who are unable to read Japanese and the shops themselves are often not very well sign boarded with difficult to find entrances.

Area and Shops

The reason I choose to visit Shinjuku regularly, aside from the fact that these cluster of shops are really close by is that the two main areas for camera shops in Tokyo are in Ginza and Shinjuku. Ginza is an upmarket part of Tokyo and I feel very self-conscious walking around there because I look scruffy at best. Certainly, there are great shops there and Nikon House is an incredible visit regardless of your feelings towards the Nikon brand. But for a quick, accessible and varied selection of camera shops which you can spend as much or little time as you like, you really cannot beat Shinjuku.

The shops I will be walking you through will be are the following:

  • Yodobashi Camera – this is a national chain of camera, computer and electrical appliances shops. It represents a more commercial camera shop within this cluster, Notable, however, for having a really great film photography section with aisles (yes aisles!) of film and film photography related products. No second hand goods here but they offer Tax free shopping and extra discount for using certain credit cards
  • Map Camera – Probably my favourite shop to visit when I have a need to buy something new, especially Voigtlander stuff. They have always got a good selection of new and used Leica equipment in the basement and new Leica models on display which you can handle freely. They also offer tax free shopping.
  • Kitamura Camera – according to Japan Camera Hunter, one of the larger national chain groups in Japan. The Shinjuku branch has a good range of products. I’ve never bought anything in my visits there but it’s always got at least one item which tempts me. They say that they offer Tax Free shopping but, not having bought anything from them previously, I cannot vouch for that. A lot of their stock seems to be on consignment and I imagine that different rules apply
  • Lemon – Lemon Sha are part of the Naniwa Group of camera shops which is national and extensive. I do not know if they (Naniwa Group) are larger than Kitamura but they are certainly not as integrated. I tried to purchase an item from the Osaka branch of the Naniwa Group, offering to pay for the delivery costs but was met with the most polite but resounding NO. They offer tax free shopping but again I suspect that only on non-consignment goods.
  • Chukko Camera Box – Second most difficult of the shop in this cluster to find, it’s in basement of a very inconspicuous building with no signage save a small sign almost outside their shop. Nothing to spot from the main street. But, what a treasure trove of brick a brac. It’s hands down the best place to find a bargain outside of a flea market. Prices are both reasonable and stock is as varied as you’d like it to be. Look hard because their displays are so crammed that it’s easy to miss stuff. Don’t ask for Tax Free rebate unless you are curious to find out how Japanese people laugh.
  • New Camera – bit of a misnomer. Not much new stuff here but a really great selection of reasonably priced. It’s the only place I found Contax N equipment (what I was looking for). I found the shopkeepers are patient and tolerant and polite. Most of their items are on consignment so prices are varied. It also means that there’s no chance of Tax Free shopping.

The Route

The starting point to get to the cluster will be Shinjuku station. In the previous guide I used, the visual walkthrough began from the subway system. I did not find the bits showing you how to get to the area the shops are at to be particularly useful. There are too many variables and exit points to leave the subway to be useful. It also depends on which subway line you travel to Shinjuku on. The nearest exit point for trains arriving from the Shinjuku Line is completely different than if you travel into Shinjuku via the Marunouchi Line for example.

Stage 1 – Getting to the cluster and Yodobashi Camera

route_stage_1Best begin at ground level in an easy to locate place and guide you. The point of departure I have chosen is the Lumine department store. It’s well signposted throughout the subway.

Disclaimer: I’m not affiliated with the shop, I have never bought anything let alone receive any sort of payment from them. In fact, I feel guilty sending you out their front door.

But out their ground floor main entrance you must go. Click on any of the images below to go to Google Street View, it will help orientate you. Clicking on the back button will bring you back to the guide.

As you exit the main entrance, there will be 2 sets of crossings. Cross over the other side of the one your right.


Go past the KFC (yes, it tastes the same as the KFC in your own country), and the 2 banks after that. Take the left after MUFG Bank, the road between the bank and the clothing shop.


Walk 20m ahead


You should see some Yodobashi camera shops on your left and right (their departments are spread across a few buildings). The Yodobashi camera department on your left will be for camera gear on the ground floor, tripods and other photography gear in the upper floors. It’s right opposite the McDonalds.

Walk past the camera department and look down the first alleyway on your right, halfway down, you should see the Yodobashi Film Ddepartment.


Stage 2 – Yodobashi to Lemon Camera

Walk back out to the street where the Yodobashi Camera Department and McDonalds  and turn right.


Walk to the end of the street and turn right.


Walk along the street until you come to an intersection with Aladdin Entertainment Parlour on your left and a Pharmacy on your right. You can just about see Lemon camera shop on the 3rd floor, above the pharmacy.


Turn left, the entrance to Lemon is as highlighted below



Stage 2 – To Kitamura Camera and Map Camera

Back on the ground floor. Turn left


and walk 2 blocks until you come to an intersection, with the Sega arcade in front of you.


Turn left and walk about 5 meters, Kitamura Camera‘s entrance is highlighted on the left, right next to the SoftBank shop. Map Camera is another 20m down the road, highlighted on the right.


Stage 3 – To Chuuko Box Camera

Back on street level, having left Map Camera, turn right


Head down 2 blocks until you come to a pedestrian crossing. There is a karaoke lounge on your right, BigEcho


Looking from across the street, the entrance to Chuuko is just to the side of  the karaoke place. If you go past the Doutor coffee shop, you’ve passed it.


The shop is in the Basement. Get ready to dive through displays and boxes!


Stage 4 – To New Camera

As you leave Chuuko Box Camera, turn right on street level and walk past the Doutor coffee shop ad go down the first alley way to your right. Alley way, not street. New Camera is the most difficult to find as there are no signs in English and the entrance is in an alley way.


When you go down the alleyway, look for an entrance immediately before reaching the ABC Mart shoe shop.


Congratulations! You’ve just completed a mini tour of camera shops in Shinjuku. Doing this round will give you an idea of the range of second hand camera shops in Tokyo. If you’re feeling adventurous, I recommend you check out the following nearby camera shops.

They are spread a bit farther out from the main cluster of shops but worth the effort if you have the time and inclination. All info from Japan Camera Hunter’s guide (Google Map location link):