focal plane microscope

That’s a Zeiss Planar 85mm T1.4 Super Speed (focus and iris scales removed) mounted on my prototype Focal Plane MicroSCOPE that I built when I had my workshop in Maine.

Note how the Planar 1.4/85 perfectly resolves the core of the Moeller-Wedel Siemens star reticle. You’re seeing that at 65x magnification. Pretty good for a 1974 optical design! No wonder these vintage lenses are legendary.

Unlike the more common Focal Plane MicroMETER which reflects the image back to the collimator, this system captures the actual image formed by the lens. That image on the monitor is NOT from the collimator eyepiece, it is the aerial image formed by the lens, magnified 65x in this case.

I needed the Focal Plane MicroSCOPE properly adjust the rear group centering on the Zeiss Distagon 1.2/18 and 1.2/25 that were part of this set. The adjustment screws are UNDER the lens mount. If you try do do this on a lens projector you have to remove the mount for EACH adjustment. It could take you all day.

The Zeiss Distagon’s optical centering was adjusted using a pinhole reticle on my collimator and observed the resulting image at 165x on the Focal Plane MicroSCOPE. It was then a simple matter to perfectly adjust centering.

You may have heard about inverted vertical collimators (such as Angenieux) that are so highly coveted by lens techs. They work on the same principle but with the microscope above an inverted lens.

The Zeiss K8 MTF Tester uses the same optical principle with the collimator mounted above the lens (non-inverted vertical collimator).

I’m working on a new design Focal Plane MicroSCOPE that will be more compact than the one in the photo above and can be mounted on a standard ARRI compatible 19mm bridgeplate.

I’ve had many requests for this from my lens rehousing clients. The main use would be for precisely calibrating focus scales. It can also be used for adjusting lens centering.

An image of the new design can be seen above. It is still in design development. If you are interested in such an instrument please get in touch via email. Pre-orders will begin once the design is locked.

-Jorge Diaz-Amador ©2024

new products for 2024

I will be introducing some new Richter Cine compatible products in early 2024. The fist of these is the Gen.2 update of the CinemaTechnic Richter M-2 Digital Focal Plane Micrometer. These will be available on a pre-order basis.

Pricing is TBD. Please email to get on the notification list.

The Gen.2 HD Video upgrade for Richter R-2 Autocollimator blocks will be the next new product. It uses a new primary optical relay allowing it to be retro-fitted to unmodified R-2 blocks. Externally it looks the same as the first generation version.

Both of the upgrades require special tools for installation and calibration so you will need to send your your items to me for the upgrade. I will be offering the option of installation in Europe for E.U. based customers.

Later in 2024 I will be introducing newly manufactured collimator objectives. The first focal length to be offered will be 300mm. These new objectives will also be offered in a version to fit Moeller-Wedel autocollimators.

I am also considering new PL-54 (original ARRI PL) and PL-62 (LPL) compatible mounts for direct-fit to Richter Cine M-2, S-2 and Lens Test Projector. Please email me to let me know of your interest in these products.

As a reminder: Unless you are an existing customer (you purchased your Richter system from me or had it calibrated by me) the cut-off to have your original Richter Cine components serviced and calibrated is December 23, 2023.

After that date Richter Cine components purchased from third parties (eBay, auctions, used equipment) will not be accepted for service or calibration.

Exceptions are: R-2 blocks will be accepted for HD Video upgrade or for calibration if you are buying new objectives from me. M-2 Focal Plane Micrometers will be accepted only for M-2 Digital upgrade. Calibration of the analog micrometer will no longer be offered.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch. You can get on the service schedule with a small deposit prior to Dec. 23.

Autumn 2023 update

In early 2022 I made a career pivot. I moved to the San Fransisco Bay Area to join a large company. I worked with computer vision systems supporting manufacturing engineering.

In 2023 Q4 I joined a startup that is developing a revolutionary new display technology. What was once only seen in science fiction films will become a reality.

As we approach winter 2023/2024 I want to give an update of the status of CinemaTechnic and various products / services:

Since I only have limited part-time to devote to CinemaTechnic, the only product line that I will continue is the Lens Testing Equipment. I will still offer upgrades and calibration for Richter Cine collimators, with some changes to product / service availability. Please see my Richter Cine page for details.

Beginning in 2024 I will no longer offer reconditioned or calibration services from Richter Cine systems purchased from third parties (meaning you did not buy it from CinemaTechnic). Reconditioned systems will be offered for sale and Richter Cine items accepted as cores.

If you purchased a Richter Cine collimator system from CinemaTechnic or had me calibrate or refurbish your system, I will continue to support you.

Film camera service and cine lens service is suspended for the foreseeable future. I have a complete set of special tools and documentation for servicing ARRI and Moviecam film cameras, as well as professional Cine lenses, but not the space or the time to do the work. If you are interested in purchasing a set of original ARRI film camera service tools please get in touch.

I also have a Super 16 conversion process I developed for the Arriflex 16SR. All the special tools and jigs and some conversion parts remain. If you are interested in purchasing the process and doing your own conversion, please get in touch.

The success of Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer and HBO’s Winning Time show that there is still a place for film even as digital capture has matured.

The industry is also changing and there is potential for decentralization. This could bring about a creative renaissance like the one that followed the collapse of the studio system in the late 1960’s.

-Jorge Diaz-Amador
Walnut Creek, CA
19 November 2023

Contact me here:

January 2023 update

Dear Friends of CinemaTechnic:

Perhaps you have noticed things have been very quiet around here. I have been in stealth mode since February 2022 when I made a major career pivot to the high tech industry and relocated to the San Fransisco Bay Area. I am now working in machine vision as part of a manufacturing engineering team.

As many of you know, I have been servicing and upgrading professional motion picture film cameras as a technician for a long time – over 20 years. In that time I have gathered a lot of hard to find documentation, spare parts and special tools for ARRI and Moviecam cameras.

I no longer have the bandwidth to support film cameras, or the space to do the work. I want these rare items to go to persons that will use them or at the very least appreciate them. I will be listing these items over the next several weeks. I don’t have much left so act fast.

Click on the links below to see what is still available:

16 and 35mm Film Cameras

-Jorge Diaz-Amador
Walnut Creek, CA
22 January 2023

february 2022 update

A view of the Saco Falls on a misty Southern Maine evening. This was the view from the North end of the building where the CinemaTechnic workshop was located in the Pepperell Mill Campus

We’re back! You may have noticed this site seemed to disappear for a while. This was a result of incorrect DNS settings. Regrettably this happened during an extremely busy time for me and I was not able to correct the problem until recently.

There was also a problem with some malicious code that got introduced somewhere on our server. This re-directed links from popular search engines. This issue has also been resolved.

At the end of November 2021 CinemaTechnic relocated out of the Pepperell Mill Campus in Biddeford, Maine. The campus been sold to an investment group.

Please note that at the moment CinemaTechnic is an online-only remote-only business. We currently have no brick-and-mortar presence. Our old addresses: Biddeford, ME 04005, Burbank, CA 91506 and Los Angeles (Hollywood), CA 90028 are no longer valid. Many search engines are still showing the old addresses.

At this time I am not accepting cine lens or camera service jobs. Consulting and Cine Lens Service Training are still available.

I am in talks regarding some exciting new opportunities, which I cannot disclose at this time.

You can still contact me via the email address listed below.

-Jorge Diaz-Amador
Chicago, IL
February 3, 2020

Bring your richter collimator into the 21st century

CinemaTechnic M-2 Digital Focal Plane Micrometer with IMS Adapter and ARRI PL Mount

CinemaTechnic continues to introduce new upgrades that bring the vintage Richter Cine collimator system up to todays standards of accuracy, and improve ease of use. Our upgraded Richter systems can compete with collimator systems costing up to $38,000.- at a fraction of that cost.

Our new R-2 Digital HD Video Output conversion for the Richter R-2 Collimator Block is just out of prototype stage and the first system has been delivered.

R-2 Collimator Block with Video Relay and HD camera, example of actual HD video image

This compact system uses high resolution optics to relay the collimator image to a compact single sensor HD camera. Image quality is excellent, far superior than the original shop-made eyepiece. We are currently accepting reservations for this upgrade. Production will be limited.

Richter Collimator 1080P HD
CinemaTechnic Richter R-2 Collimator 1080P video output

Our system is compatible with cameras up to 2/3″ sensor cameras. With an inexpensive and compact 1/2.5″ sensor camera, you can get a 1080P output of the collimator image that fills the screen top-bottom.

The photo above shows the collimator image on a small monitor. The image was captured at 8.7x magnification (a high resolution 15mm prime lens tested with a 130mm collimator objective). It shows a typical image quality of the collimator output when testing a very sharp lens.

Our M-2 Digital Micrometer upgrade for the Richter M-2 Focal Plane Micrometer is also available. The M-2 Digital is a highly recommended upgrade that improves both accuracy and ease of use. Several of these upgrades have been delivered since we introduced it in January 2019.

Our IMS Richter Adapter upgrade allows the use of industry standard IMS (Interchangeable Mount System) lens mounts. This allows quick mount swaps without having to individually calibrate flange focal distance for each mount.

Since our system threads on to the Richter M-2, it is possible to remove it when you need to test a mount that has an FFD too short for IMS (such as Sony E), then quickly re-install the IMS Richter Adapter.

First deliveries of our new Flange Focal Depth Gage kit are about to be made.

Future planned upgrades:

  • “On Board” LED Illuminator (variable intensity)
  • New collimator objectives
  • Internal upgrades for the R-2 Collimator Block
  • All New Collimator Bench

Please get in touch via email for availability and pricing for these items:

All CinemaTechnic products are Made in USA using components sourced from suppliers in US, EU, Japan and S. Korea. We expect that our products will continue to be available despite the current pandemic.

At the moment, we are still operating as usual. You can check here for updates.

Updated 03-18-2020

HD Video output for Richter Collimator

CinemaTechnic is pleased to announce our Video Upgrade for the Richter R-2 Collimators. The photo above shows the prototype unit during testing. The first production unit has been sold.

The Problem

One of the most frequent requests we get from customers of our Richter Cine collimator upgrades is for a better eyepiece. Until now, Richter collimator users needed to bend down and push their eye sockets uncomfortably against a small rigid plastic eyepiece in order to see the image. The quality of the magnified image was poor.

Unfortunately, the design of the Richter R-2 complicates finding a replacement eyepiece. The R-2 requires a very compact and high power eyepiece.

Our Solution

We replace the original eyepiece with a modern achromatic eyepiece design. The new eyepiece has modern multi-coated optics. We modify the R-2 collimator block to accommodate a custom housing that allows the new eyepiece to be used.

The new eyepiece is superior to the original in every respect except magnification, which is slightly lower. It has higher resolution, a wider field of view and much better eye relief. Even without the HD video relay, it is easier to see the collimator image with this eyepiece.

When coupled with our high-resolution video relay lens, the Richter collimator image is highly magnified without loss of image quality. It can be comfortably viewed on a monitor.

Camera Compatibility

Our optics are compatible with up to 2/3” single chip C-Mount cameras, up to 3k horizontal resolution. We recommend 1080P or 2k cameras as having enough resolution for the collimator image. With a 1080P HD 1/2.5” chip camera (as seen above) the image of the reticle fills the screen.

Calibrating back focus on Cine Lenses is much easier when you can view the image on a monitor. This is particularly important with Vintage Cine Lenses which are not very sharp, and with Anamorphic Lenses.

Being able to see the image and the focus scale or micrometer reading at the same time allows you to see the relationship between the two in real time. This is especially helpful with some vintage lenses that have unusual focus characteristics, such as the Bausch & Lomb Super Baltar lenses, Anamorphic lenses or vintage Soviet lens designs such as LOMO.

Calibrating FFD on Digital Cinema Cameras

The ability to see a highly magnified collimator image on an HD screen also makes very accurate adjustment of the Flange Focal Distance (FFD, sometimes incorrectly called “back focus”) of Digital Cinema cameras possible.

You can view the image on the monitor while turning the FFD adjustment screw (on RED cameras, for example) or moving the focus scale on your test lens (for cameras that use shims under the lens mount, such as ARRI cameras). You can easily see where the best focus setting is.

Adjustment of the camera’s FFD with a well calibrated high resoultion test lens is the most accurate method of setting FFD. Accurate setting of FFD on your cameras eliminates complaints from customers using their own improperly calibrated lenses.

Availability

The upgrade is available as an “eyepiece only” version, or complete with the HD video relay. The initial upgrade must be installed at CinemaTechnic as the R-2 block must be modified. The eyepiece only version can be upgraded to the HD video relay version and this can be installed by the user.

We strongly recommend having us service and calibrate your R-2 collimator block while doing the upgrade.

Current production of these units is back-ordered. We will be doing a short production run in the near future, but availability will be limited to units pre-ordered. If you would like to have your Richter Collimator upgraded, please get in touch via email.

Updated 11 February 2020

©2020 CinemaTechnic

july 2019 update

To Clients and Friends of CinemaTechnic:

CinemaTechnic, LLC no longer conducts business in the State of California as of June 30, 2019.

We have reached this difficult decision after coming to the conclusion that a radical change in direction is necessary in order to ensure our future success.

This does not mean the end – it is a transition and a new beginning. The process of re-booting has already begun.

The cinematechnic.com website will continue to operate as usual as an information resource to the professional cinematography community. However, many of the products and services offered on these pages have been discontinued.

We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our clients and partners that have supported us during these three and a half years as an independent business in the Los Angeles area.

-Jorge Diaz-Amador


Richter Collimators Systems and Upgrades for Cine Lens Testing

Super-Precision Collimator Systems for Cine Lens Testing

Updated 4 January 2019

UPDATE: New CinemaTechnic lens testing mounts “Standards”  for Richter Cine Collimators and Lens Projectors are now available. We can supply most SLR and rangefinder lens mounts such as Canon FD, Canon EF, Nikon F, Leica M and Leica R. A Sony E / NEX mount is in development.

The CinemaTechnic IMS (Interchangeable Mount System) upgrade for Richter Cine Collimators and Test Projectors is also now available.

CinemaTechnic is developing focus testing collimator systems and upgrades for existing  collimator systems (Möeller-Wedel and Richter Cine).

Drawing on our two decades of experience with cine lens testing equipment, including state-of-the-art MTF testing systems by Carl Zeiss, we are bringing dependable precision lens testing and calibration within the reach of even small rental houses. Our new upgrades bring the venerable and affordable Richter Cine system into the 21st Century.

Richter Collimator Complete
Complete Richter Collimator System upgraded by CinemaTechnic including LED Illuminator and Digital Focal Plane Micrometer

Richter Cine Collimator Systems – Reconditioned and Calibrated

We have used collimator systems available, although supply is very limited. The latest reconditioned and upgraded system is pictured above. It features the Digital Micrometer Upgrade and the LED Fiber Optic Illuminator with a proprietary Fiber Optic Adapter

The new Fiber Optic Adapter incorporates high quality diffusion, a spectral filter and condenser optics to assure even illumination of the collimator reticle. Along with the 5500ºK light from the LED Illuminator this combination greatly increases the ease of focus adjustment with the Richter Collimator, especially for vintage lenses that do not “snap” into focus as clearly as modern lenses do.

Richter 500mm Objective
Richter Cine 500mm Collimator Objective

Used Reconditioned Collimator Components

We have a small stock of reconditioned and calibrated Richter Cine collimator components. These include the rare 500mm collimator objective pictured above. Please contact us via email with your requirements.

New Accessories for Richter Cine Collimators and Test Projectors

EF Mount for Richter Cine
CinemaTechnic EF Mount for Richter Cine Collimators

The first new product is the EF mount (Canon) lens “standard” for Richter Cine Collimators and Lens Test Projectors. EF mount is now the second most popular lens mount in professional cinematography, behind only ARRI PL mount.  But an EF mount was never offered by Richter Cine.

The first new product is the EF mount (Canon) lens “standard” for Richter Cine Collimators and Lens Test Projectors. EF mount is now the second most popular lens mount in professional cinematography, behind only ARRI PL mount.  But an EF mount was never offered by Richter Cine.

EF Mount on Richter M-2
CinemaTechnic EF Mount shown mounted on Richter Cine M-2 Focal Plane Micrometer

 CinemaTechnic EF (Canon) Mount for Richter Cine
  • Anodized aluminum (all surfaces), chrome plated brass lens mount flange, laser engraved
  • One-pice thread and flange (no slipping/loosening, no set screws)
  • EF mount can be rotated to the desired orientation in 22.5º increments by un-bolting the middle flange and turning it.
  • Factory calibrated to 44.00 mm F.F.D. ± 0.01 mm
  • Flange Focal Distance can be fine tuned using commonly available Zeiss shims, to compensate for wear, temperature changes, etc.
  • High quality Made in USA item.

EF Mount for Richter Cine $624.-

If you need a still camera mount other than Canon EF, such as  Canon FD, Contax C-Y, Nikon F, Leica M, Leica R,  please contact us via email.

We recommend this type of lens  mount for Richter Collimator users that have many original Richter Cine lens standards that they want to keep using, and just need to add another mount.

If you have very few or no original Richter lens mounts that you want to keep using, our IMS Conversion may be a better choice for you.

IMS to Richter on M2
CinemaTechnic IMS Adapter mounted on Richter Cine M-2 Focal Plane Micrometer – photo of prototype unit

IMS-Richter with P+S EF
CinemaTechnic IMS to Richter Adapter on R-2 FPM with P+S Technik positive-locking EF Mount

CinemaTechnic IMS Mount Adapter for Richter Cine NEW
  • This unique adapter easily converts your Richter Cine M2 Focal Plane Micrometer to IMS (Interchangeable Mount System) mount.
  • One-pice thread and flange (no slipping/loosening, no set screws)
  • IMS flange can be rotated to preferred orientation  in 22.5º increments
  • Mount stays put once set. No loosening or unwanted rotation
  • Makes Richter Cine Collimators mount-compatible with P+S Technik Lens Checker and Gecko-Cam Lens Test Projector
  • You can calibrate your Richter Cine analog M2  micrometer zero once to IMS standard (19.00 mm) and quickly interchanging lens mounts without having to re-check and adjust zero on M2
Richter – IMS Conversion: Price TBA, Please inquire.

Richter R-2 Digital
Richter M-2 Focal Plane Micrometer with CinemaTechnic Digital Micrometer Upgrade and EF Mount

CinemaTechnic Digital Micrometer Upgrade for Richter M-2 Focal Plane Micrometer NEW
  • Upgrades the Richter M-2 Focal Plane Micrometer with a modern Mitutoyo Digimatic micrometer
  • 0.001 mm [0.00005] in accuracy (one-thousandth millimeter, fifty millionths inch)
  • 25.4mm [1.0 in] range of micrometer travel
  • 5mm [0.2 in] range ahead of the threaded flange, a benefit of the exclusive CinemaTechnic design
  • Excellent image quality on reflex autocollimator due to super hardened lapped reflector
  • Quickly set zero or pre-set to a distance (ex. 52.000 mm)
  • Precision no-stress, no-damage collet clamping system for micrometer stem
  • No more concern about replacing damaged Richter reflectors (unavailable for 20 years) or the high labor cost of replacement and calibration.
  • Each conversion is precision fitted to the individual Richter M-2 and calibrated.
Price $1995.- including Richter M-2, Mitutoyo Digimatic micrometer and installation/calibration
Pricing for conversion of your existing M-2 unit depends on age and condition, but will be lower than the price quoted above. Please contact us via email with photos of your unit.

CT Digital FPM with IMS
CinemaTechnic Digital Focal Plane Micrometer with IMS Adapter

CinemaTechnic Digital Focal Plane Micrometer with IMS
  • Super precision digital Focal Plane Micrometer with interchangeable mount plate.
  • 0.001 mm / 0.00005 in accuracy (one-thousandth millimeter, fifty millionths inch)
  • 50mm range of micrometer travel
  • Excellent image quality on reflex autocollimator
  • Quickly set zero or pre-set to a distance (ex. 52.000 mm)
  • Shown in photo with Richter Standard mount plate and IMS Adapter
  • Industry standard IMS adapter can be easily unthreaded for use with mounts that are too short for IMS.
  • Compatible with C-mount, CS-mount, Micro Four Thirds (MFT) and Sony E mount with IMS adapter removed.
  • Precision no-stress, no-damage clamping system for micrometer stem
  • Available for Richter Cine, Moeller-Wedel, Chrosziel, and other autocollimator systems
Price as pictured above: $3335.- including IMS Adapter
What is IMS Interchangeable Mount System?

The IMS system was introduced by P+S Technik in the 2000’s as an open standard positive locking intermediate lens mount. It is similar dimensionally to ARRI PL mount but has a smaller pilot diameter and a much shorter flange focal distance.

The IMS system has been adopted by manufacturers of high quality cine lens test equipment, such as Gecko-Cam (collimator and test projector) and P+S Technik (Lens Checker test projector).

IMS mounts are available for a wide variety of lens mounts. CinemaTechnic can manufacture IMS compatible mounts for many cine and still camera lens mounts.

NOTE: The relatively rare Richter Cine Lens Test Projector uses the same threaded mount, but requires special clearancing (larger I.D. and shorter thread length). Lens Test Projector compatible versions of our products are available on special order and require shipping of the lens projector to us for fit testing.

We also have Sony E (NEX) mount  and C/CS mounts for Richter Cine under development.

Please contact:

NOTE: Products pictured above are prototypes. The production versions will differ slightly due to ongoing incremental updates to the design.

Keep an eye on this page for updates…

Updated: 4 January 2019

Optics and Optical Testing for Digital Cinema

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