Richter Cine Collimators and Test Projectors

Richter Cine Collimators and Test Projectors

©2016-2019 Jorge Diaz-Amador, all rights reserved

Updated: 26 December 2019

Richter Collimator
Richter Autocollimator system owned by CinemaTechnic (Sold in 2009)

Above: Richter Cine R2 Autocollimator setup with 254mm Objective, LED Mini-Maglite, M2 Focal Plane Micrometer, ARRI PL Lens Standard on Model B Optical Bench.

Foreground items: Fiber Optic Light Guide Adapter, 60mm Collimator Objective, ARRI Standard and ARRI Bayonet Lens Standards.

This was the original CinemaTechnic collimator which we used for all our lens and camera service  from 2000 through 2006. The unit pictured above was sold in 2009.

Richter Cine catalog cover showing Ken Richter with AMPAS Technical Oscar
Richter Cine Equipment

Richter Cine was an American company, based in upstate New York, that manufactured autocollimators and lens test projectors specifically designed for use in testing photographic and particularly cinematographic optics.

The company was founded by Kenneth Richter, who was a cinematographer and a filmmaker specializing in travelogue films. The Richter Autocollimator system is Richter Cine’s best known product.

By the 1980’s the Richter Autocollimator became very widely used in the motion picture camera and lens industry. In 1985 Kenneth Richter was awarded an AMPAS Technical Award (Technical Oscar) for his Autocollimator.

Production of the autocollimators and the Lens Test Projector were wound down by the late 1990’s. Richter Aero Equipment ended operations by October 1998. After Kenneth Richter’s passing two years later, the last remaining old stock was sold off.

Today used Richter Cine Autocollimators are highly sought after in the second hand market. The represent by far the best value in lens testing equipment.

Richter Collimator Reticle Image
Example of image observed through a Richter Collimator while testing a very sharp lens (iBE Null)  at 18x magnification. This lens is resolving 900 lp/mm!
How Autocollimators Work

For photographic and cinematographic lens testing, autocollimators are primarily used to check focus. The autocollimator projects the image of a test reticle through the lens being tested and onto a simulated or real image plane. That image is reflected back through the test lens and the autocollimator and diverted to the eyepiece where it can be observed by the operator. With experience, the image quality of the lens being tested can also be judged.

Calibrating Richter Objective
Precision calibration of a Richter 275mm Objective using the Moeller-Wedel Autocollimator
Reconditioning and upgrades for Richter Cine Autocollimators
  • CinemaTechnic have developed a series of services and upgrades to the vintage Richter Cine autocollimators. This service brings the vintage Richter units up to today’s standards of accuracy.
  • Disassembly and cleaning of all components. Precision cleaning of optical components
  • Worn parts are reconditioned or replaced with newly fabricated parts
  • Flatness of objective seating surface and condition of  internal thread on autocollimator block checked and if necessary re-machined
  • Collimator block internal components precision calibrated for for exact and equal focus on focus reticle and grid reticle assuring accuracy of the instrument for focus calibration of lenses. Flange focal distance of Grid Reticle and Focus Reticle are each individually adjusted and checked using a larger autocollimator as reference. This ensures the accuracy of the R2 Collimator Block
  • Squareness and alignment of components of collimator objective tubes checked and re-machined as needed. Loose fitting components are bonded in place with industrial adhesives while held in alignment fixtures.
  • Worn threaded surfaces coated with Emralon to restore proper fit, or in cases of severe wear replaced with newly fabricated parts.
  • Worn exterior surfaces stripped and re-anodized or coated with anticorrosion coatings where needed.
  • Collimator block internal components precision calibrated for for exact and equal focus on focus reticle and grid reticle assuring accuracy of the instrument for focus calibration of lenses
  • Objectives precision calibrated for matching focus ensuring interchangeability without re-calibration
  • Focal Plane Micrometer (FPM)  Option to replace the analog micrometer with a digital unit. Reconditioning of analog micrometer/reflector is discontinued.
  • Complete system is tested for accuracy against our Moeller-Wedel autocollimator and with test lenses calibrated on the Zeiss K9 MTF Tester.
Calibrating Richter R2 Block
Calibrating Richter R2 Block beamsplitter alignment on custom autocollimator setup
Pricing for the above service is by estimate. Without examining your Richter system we cannot quote  a price on the upgrade / reconditioning service. As a rough guide, our basic pricing is below.

Basic pricing for Richter Cine calibration:

  • Focus calibration of collimator objectives –  (includes element cleaning and dust blow-out) $95 each or $225 for 3 objectives
  • Focus calibration and alignment of collimator block – typically $375-$450
Richter M-2 with CinemaTechnic Digital Micrometer Upgrade
  • Conversion of Richter M2 Focal Plane Micrometer to Digital – Upgrade price depends on condition of your M2 unit. Price for complete replacement unit (including Richter R-2 block) $1995.-
Richter M2 CinemaTecnhic
Richter M2 Focal Plane Micrometer with CinemaTechnic upgrade: New reflector and reflector cage coated anti-reflex black (limited availability)
Reconditioning and calibration of Analog M-2

We have begun offering this service again on a limited basis. We have a very limited  supply of original Richter pyoceram reflectors in good used condition. Price includes replacement reflector, brass protection disk, new rubber support, and adjustment of the flatness of the reflector for minimum tumble (typically below 3′ arc) and setting the analog micrometer to zero. $430.-

Early version Richter Cine R2 Autocollimator with 130mm Objective and Light Guide Adapter, rebuilt by CinemaTechnic
Looking for a good used Richter Autocollimator system?

We are currently sold out of Richter collimator systems. The systems we sell have been reconditioned and upgraded as described in the preceding section. They are priced at a fraction of what new autocollimator systems (Chrosziel, Gecko-Cam, Duclos) are being sold for today. The package consists of:

Richter Collimator Setup
Richter Autocollimator with FPM W/PL Mt, OTB Mod B, 60, 130, 180 and 254mm Objectives, EF Mt, Light Source
Complete Autocollimator System (similar photo above)
  • Richter Cine R2 Autocollimator Block,  rebuilt with CinemaTechnic upgrades
  • Richter Cine 60mm Collimator Objective
  • Richter Cine 130mm Collimator Objective
  • Richter Cine 180mm Collimator Objective
  • Richter Cine  254mm  Collimator Objective
  • CinemaTechnic Fiber Optic Light Guide Adapter for R2 Autocollimator
  • CinemaTechnic  ARRI PL mount Lens Mount
  • CinemaTechnic  Canon EF mount Lens Mount
  • Richter M2M Focal Plane Micrometer upgraded with Mitutoyo digital micrometer (0.001mm / 0.00005in accuracy)
  • Richter Model B Optical Lens Test Bench with 36″ rods
  • Richter Cine Lens Support for OTB
  • LED Fiber-Optic Illuminator with adjustable intensity, fiber-optic light guide.
  • Set of instructions
  • Calibration warranted for 1 year
  • Phone/email tech support for 30 days included, one-on-one training available at additional cost

Compare to Duclos Lenses collimator system at $19,695.- or Gecko-Cam’s collimator system at € 31,700.- (currently $41,158.- plus shipping from Germany).

Complete system as above: SOLD
We will have another system available after reconditioning is complete. Get in touch via email.

The complete system is well suited for serious users like camera/lens rental houses, production companies with their own equipment and in-house technical, and independent camera/lens technicians.

The complete system  is also the best choice for camera owners needing to calibrate FFD on cameras such as ARRI Alexa / Amira that use shims to calibrate FFD. A variable focus test lens is required for camera testing. We can provide advice on choosing a test lens and can provide modification and calibration of test lenses.

Richter Cine Individual Components

We have some Richter Cine and Moeller-Wedel components available at the moment but do not have a complete collimator system available.

Collimator Objectives:

Richter Cine manufactured a series of interchangable collimator objectives for the R2, using a C mount thread for attachment to the collimator block.

Shorter focal length objectives (60, 130mm) were used to test shorter focal length lenses and longer focal length objectives (254 – 500mm) were used to test longer focal length lenses.

The most common objectives are 60mm, 130mm and 254mm. Part numbers beyond 500mm are unknown and the 650mm and longer objectives were special-order items produced in very limited quantity.

Standard objectives up to 650mm are refractor objectives using only spherical lens elements.  Objectives longer than 650mm are mirror lens objectives, using a combination of spherical mirrors (like an astronomical telescope) and spherical lens elements. The mirror lens design makes the physical length of those objectives much shorter than their focal length.

Richter Part # Focal Length | f# | Type | Test Lens Range availability from CinemaTechnic (currently sold out 12/2019)

#117 60mm  refractor objective  for 6 – 30mm out of stock

#118  130mm  f4.3 refractor objective  13 – 65mm    standard equipment for R2F out of stock

#119  180mm f3.7  refractor objective  18- 90mm out of stock

#120  254mm  f4.9 refractor objective  25 – 127mm   standard equipment for R2A and R2B out of stock

Richter 275mm Objective
Richter Cine 275mm Collimator Objective with R-2

#?       275mm f8.3 refractor objective 27 – 138mm (part # not known, early model that was later discontinued) out of stock

Richter 500mm Objective
Richter Cine 500mm Collimator Objective

#121  500mm  f9.6  refractor objective  50 – 250mm  (RARE) out of stock

All collimator objectives sold by CinemaTechnic are reconditioned (optics cleaned, damage parts replaced) and precision calibrated for exact focus. For best results you should send your collimator block (R2) to us for calibration (additional cost).
Lens Mounts (Standards)

ARRI PL Mount with Stainless Steel flange and ring for Richter Cine (CinemaTechnic custom) SOLD

This PL mount was custom made by CinemaTechnic for our own use, using an original Richter Cine Panavision 16 mount converted to accept a stainless steel PL mount. The PL mount was the last one remaining from the batch we made for Super 16 conversions of ARRI 16SR cameras.
This mount is far superior to the original Richter PL mounts which are not adjustable for FFD, have thread inserts that slip, and are one-piece aluminum so the PL mounting surface wears out. It has six set screws instead of three to resist slipping, and the thread insert is custom made and has an angle built into it so that the set screws pull it into the mount to made the flange focus setting stable.
EF Mount for Richter M-2
CinemaTechnic EF (Canon) mount for Richter Cine M-2 Focal Plane Micrometer
CinemaTechnic EF (Canon) mount for Richter Cine  $624.-

NOTE: You will need a Flange Focal Depth gage set to calibrate the Focal Plane Micrometer and an Optical Flat to check calibration on the collimator optics. These items will be at additional cost and quoted based on your requirements (number of lens mounts you want to be able to calibrate, etc.)

Richter Cine compared to more costly modern systems
A properly calibrated Richter system used by an experienced operator can be very accurate.
A system with the Moeller-Wedel Mk II 45S double-tube “Camera Testing Unit” autocollimator (used by Chrosziel, Gecko-Cam), with the double I beam / side bars target is easier for inexperienced users to learn. The disadvantage is size, weight and very high cost (apx € 32k +).
A single tube Moeller-Wedel system, the Siemens star target on the Moeller-Wedel is easier to interpret than the Richter NBS style reticle and allows a single focal length objective to have more versatility in testing a large focal length range.  The only disadvantage is high cost (apx $18k USD). This is the system we use at CinemaTechnic.
The ultimate in accuracy is the Carl Zeiss K9 MTF Tester which uses a VERY long and large aperture collimator objective, combined with a focal plane microscope and analog/digital MTF measuring system and custom software.
The K9 system  has repeatability of 0.002 mm, about the same as a well calibrated Richter or Moeller-Wedel system. But it can maintain that accuracy for lenses as long as 800mm, and can accurately set infinity focus on very fast long lenses such as the Zeiss Master Prime 150mm f1.2 or the Zeiss Ultra Prime 180mm f1.7.
The K9 can also check finite focus (focus scale accuracy) from 2.5m / 9ft down to about 1m / 3ft.
The K9 system has it’s drawbacks, mainly very high cost (over $100k USD), large size (nearly 12 feet long) and the requirement for a $6k special power supply in the U.S. and periodic calibration by a Carl Zeiss technician.
I have developed the following innovations to improve the performance and versatility of the Richter system:
  • A method to precisely calibrate the reflex blocks (0.015mm accuracy)
  • A method to precisely calibrate focus on the collimator objectives (1/2000th focal length accuracy)
  • A procedure to refurbish the M-2 Focal Plane Micrometers including new reflectors (discontinued)
  • A digital micrometer upgrade for the M-2
  • Improved  light sources
  • New mounts that were never available from Richter (Canon EF, Sony E)
  • An upgrade to the IMS mounts system that can be easily removed for compatibility with Sony E mount and C-mount.

Digital Micrometer Upgrade for Richter M-2 $1995.-

Includes reconditioned Richter M-2, and Mitutoyo Digimatic micrometer. If you want to upgrade your existing Richter M-2 the cost will be lower, but we must examine it first and provide a quote.

CinemaTechnic IMS - Richter
CinemaTechnic IMS Adapter on Richter Cine M-2 Focal Plane Micrometer (analog version)
IMS - Richter with P+S EF
CinemaTechnic IMS to Richter Adapter on M-2 FPM with P+S Technik positive locking EF mount
IMS Mount Upgrade for Richter M-2

The IMS (Interchangeable Mount System) was developed by P+S Technik of Munich, Germany to be an open standard sub-mount system for both test equipment and interchangeable mount cameras. The IMS system is used on the P+S Technik Lens Checker (lens test projector) and the Gecko-Cam Autocollimator and Lens Test Projector $775.-

Available lens mounts in the IMS system: ARRI PL, B4, BNCR, C-mount, Canon EF, Canon FD, Nikon F, Leica M, Leica-R,  Panavision PV-35.

CinemaTechnic can also manufacture custom IMS mounts We have built ARRI PL, BNCR, Canon FD, Leica-R and IMAX IMS mounts with stainless steel rear flanges.

CT Digital FPM with IMS
CinemaTechnic Digital Focal Plane Micrometer with IMS Adapter
CinemaTechnic Digital Focal Plane Micrometer $3335.-
  • Super precision digital Focal Plane Micrometer with interchangeable mount plate.
  • 0.001 mm / 0.00005 in accuracy (one-thousandth millimeter, fifty millionths inch)
  • 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
  • Precision no-stress, no-damage clamping system for micrometer stem
  • Compatible with ANY lens mount regardless of Flange Focal Distance
  • Available for Richter Cine, Chrosziel, and other autocollimator systems
Richter R2, 275mm, FPM, PL, Null
Richter R2 Ccollimator with 275mm Objective, PL Mount, FPM, Test Bench, iBE Null test lens
Options for Richter Cine Autocollimator (additional cost):
  • CinemaTechnic IMS Mount Adapter for Richter Cine – compatible with M2 Focal Plane Micrometer and S2 Focal Plane Microscope. $775.-
  • CinemaTechnic Focal Plane Micrometer (replaces M2) with digital micrometer (.001mm accuracy) and Richter flange, upgradable to IMS. Price by quotation only.
  • CinemaTechnic Video Upgrade for Richter Cine Autocollimator – mounts a small c-mount camera (SD or HD) in place of the eyepiece. Greatly reduces uses fatigue. Price TBA.
  • P+S Technik IMS mounts (Interchangeable Mount System). Available mounts: ARRI PL, B4, BNCR, Canon EF, Canon FD, Leica-M, Leica-R, Nikon F, Panavision PV-35. From €550.-
  • CinemaTechnic Custom IMS mounts – most cine or still camera lens mounts with FFD over 25mm. From $545.-
  • Additional NEW lens mounts with Richter Cine thread, custom made on request (C-Mount, Sony E, MFT, Leica-M, Leica-R, Canon FD, Nikon F, ARRI Standard, ARRI Bayonet, Aaton A50. From $625.-
  • Original Richter Cine lens mounts (standards), good used condition. From $185.- $595. (price depends on mount type)
  • Additional Collimator Objectives (original Richter) 60mm, 130mm, 254mm. From $265.-
  • Additional Collimator Objectives (built by CinemaTechnic, new production): 100mm, 400mm, 500mm. Price by quotation only.
  • Back focus Master Lens (modified IBE Null) for checking autocollimator and testing/adjusting FFD on digital cameras
  • Additional length rods for collimator bench
  • FFD Calibration Kit for PL Mount
  • FFD Calibration Kit for EF Mount
  • Optical flat for autocollimator calibration check
  • Digital video camera to replace autocollimator eyepiece (customer to provide monitor)
  • Lens Support for collimator bench (for large heavy zoom lenses)

If you are interested in purchasing this system, or if want to purchase individual Richter Cine components, or want more information please contact us at: cinematechnic@mac_com

The Richter Cine R2 Reflex Autocollimator

Richter Cine’s best known product is the R2 reflex autocollimator. The system was comprised of an autocollimator block (the reflex unit), a collimator objective, and light source. It was possible to see the image reflected by film in the aperture of the camera being tested when a lens and camera were tested together.

Special order Collimator Objectives VERY RARE:

  • 650mm  f10  refractor objective  65 – 325mm (very rare)
  • 1000mm  f11  Maksutov-Cassegrain catoptric objective,  200mm tube length 100 – 500mm
  • 1250mm  f10  Schmidt-Cassegrain catoptric objective,  275mm tube length 125 – 625mm
  • 2000mm  f10  Schmidt-Cassegrain catoptric objective,  425mm tube length 200 – 1000mm

NOTE: Catoptric objectives are “mirror lenses” like modern astronomical telescopes.

“The rule of thumb is, to obtain the optimum collimator test image, the range of any lens to be tested should have a focal length not less than 1/10th or not more than 1/2 the focal length of the objective.”

Source: Instructions for Use of the Richter Cine Equipment Reflex Autocollimator Model R-2 ©1961 Richter Cine Equipment


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