Richter Cine Collimators and Test Projectors

Richter Cine Collimators and Test Projectors

©2016-2017 Jorge Diaz-Amador, all rights reserved

Updated: 12/08/2017

Richter Collimator
Richter Autocollimator system owned by CinemaTechnic

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.

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 sought after in the second hand market

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 on autocollimator block checked and if necessary re-machined
  • Precision fitting of internal post (which supports target reticle, grid reticle and beamsplitter) to bottom plug.
  • Precision alignment of beamsplitter position using a alignment collimator. Additional screws added to maintain calibration stability.
  • 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 ceramic coatings
  • 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
  • Complete system is tested for accuracy against our Moeller-Wedel autocollimator and with test lenses calibrated on the Zeiss K9 MTF Tester.
Pricing for the above service is by estimate only. Without examining your Richter system we cannot quote  a price on the upgrade / reconditioning service.
Richter Cine R2 Autocollimator with 130mm Objective and Light Guide Adapter, rebuilt by CinemaTechnic
Looking for a good used Richter Autocollimator system?

CinemaTechnic has one rebuilt and calibrated Richter Collimator system available for sale (see photo above). The system has been reconditioned and upgraded as described in the preceding section. It is priced at a fraction of what new autocollimator systems (Chrosziel, Gecko-Cam, Duclos) are being sold for today. The package consists of:

Basic Richter Cine Autocollimator System
  • Richter Cine R2 Autocollimator Block,  rebuilt with CinemaTechnic upgrades
  • Richter Cine 130mm Collimator Objective, rebuilt
  • Richter Cine  275mm Collimator Objective, rebuilt
  • CinemaTechnic Light Guide Adapter for R2 Autocollimator
  • Set of caps for objectives and autocollimator block
  • Set of instructions
  • Calibration warranted for 1 year
 Basic Autocollimator Package $2899.-

The basic package (shown above with the 130mm objective)  is well suited to a user that desires a compact portable unit and mainly needs to check and adjust back focus on digital cine cameras and spot check lenses using the camera as a reference.

On cameras with internal fine adjustment of FFD (such as RED Epic series) all you will need besides the basic autocollimator package is a test lens (modified fixed focus iBE Null or properly calibrated fast wide lens like a 18mm T1.3). It is also well suited for someone that wants an entry point into building a collimator system.

Complete Autocollimator System

Includes all components of the basic system above, plus:

  • Custom PL mount Lens Mount with stainless steel flange
  • Custom EF mount Lens Mount
  • CinemaTechnic Focal Plane Micrometer with digital micrometer (.001mm accuracy) and Richter flange, upgradable to IMS.
  • Collimator Bench (28″ rods)  with Autocollimator Holder and FPM / Camera platform (bench was originally built for ARRI USA HQ in Blauvelt, NY)
Complete Autocollimator System  $8453.-

Compare to Duclos Lenses collimator system at $19,695.- or Gecko-Cam’s collimator system at € 31,700.- (currently $39,422.- plus shipping from Germany).

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.

Options (additional cost):
  • Additional new lens mounts on request (C-Mount, Sony E, MFT, Leica-M, Leica-R, Canon FD, Nikon F, ARRI Standard, ARRI Bayonet.
  • Additional Collimator Objectives (built by CinemaTechnic, new production): 100mm, 400mm
  • 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 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.

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 following is a list of all known available Richter objectives. The most common 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 Cine Collimator Objectives:

Focal Length | f# | Type | Test Lens Range | Richter Part #

  • 60mm  refractor objective  6 – 30mm  #117
  • 130mm  f4.3 refractor objective  13 – 65mm   #118  standard equipment for R2F
  • 180mm f3.7  refractor objective  18- 90mm  #119
  • 254mm  f4.9 refractor objective  25 – 127mm  #120  standard equipment for R2A and R2B
  • 275mm f8.3 refractor objective 27 – 138mm (part # not known, early model that was later discontinued)
  • 500mm  f9.6  refractor objective  50 – 250mm  #121

Special order objectives:

  • 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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