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Development Update - AFX Focus Module For PBC


BTM_Pix
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35 minutes ago, Caleb Genheimer said:

I have a module request for down the road consideration: a wireless distance readout/display. Countless ACs/DOPs use the Tilta gear on mid-grade shoots, but despise their generic “0-100” readout at the controller.


While it would require some pre-production profile calibration work, many would pick up the AFX for this feature alone: real foot/meter readings at the hand wheel.

I know this can be read at the AFX, but often focus is wireless for the simple reason that it is being pulled from a distance.

Funnily enough, we have some new firmware for the PBC that adds a couple of things, one of which is to be a wireless relay display for the AFX.

So anyone who wants it will just be able to buy a PBC and then attach it to the wheel like it is in this example.

It can be switched to display camera settings or distance (metric or imperial)

The AFX is a multi client server so it will support more than one PBC relay in this mode.

idkyeunmxjbwsuet7i5j.jpg.5f0b557138c07dfaf4a797f5fc813fd8.jpg

 

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5 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

Funnily enough, we have some new firmware for the PBC that adds a couple of things, one of which is to be a wireless relay display for the AFX.

So anyone who wants it will just be able to buy a PBC and then attach it to the wheel like it is in this example.

It can be switched to display camera settings or distance (metric or imperial)

The AFX is a multi client server so it will support more than one PBC relay in this mode.

idkyeunmxjbwsuet7i5j.jpg.5f0b557138c07dfaf4a797f5fc813fd8.jpg

 

Beautiful. One other obscure use-case to consider: variable diopters. They’re marked with focus scales, but the scales are calibrated to “distance from the variable diopter” instead of the standard “distance from the focal plane.” (Rather obviously because who knows how long any particular lens might be, it’s an unknown factor.)
 

It would be nice to have the ability to semi-permanently mount the AFX and a focus motor on a variable diopter, calibrate a single profile to the “distance from the variable diopter” focus scale (which never changes from setup to setup), and then just set an offset in the reported/displayed focus distance based on the length of the current lens setup. The actual AFX-to-motor relationship doesn’t have to change in this instance, just the displayed distance. 

 

It’s minutiae, I know, but it solves a common variable diopter problem wherein most ACs are accustomed to focus distance coming from the focal plane. 

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17 hours ago, Caleb Genheimer said:

Beautiful. One other obscure use-case to consider: variable diopters. They’re marked with focus scales, but the scales are calibrated to “distance from the variable diopter” instead of the standard “distance from the focal plane.” (Rather obviously because who knows how long any particular lens might be, it’s an unknown factor.)
 

It would be nice to have the ability to semi-permanently mount the AFX and a focus motor on a variable diopter, calibrate a single profile to the “distance from the variable diopter” focus scale (which never changes from setup to setup), and then just set an offset in the reported/displayed focus distance based on the length of the current lens setup. The actual AFX-to-motor relationship doesn’t have to change in this instance, just the displayed distance. 

 

It’s minutiae, I know, but it solves a common variable diopter problem wherein most ACs are accustomed to focus distance coming from the focal plane. 

This may sound counter intuitive but the relationship between the AFX position and the actual focal plane of the camera is more or less incidental.

Or, more accurately, it is as incidental/critical as each user needs it to be.

Fundamentally, the only thing the AFX cares about is the relationship between the focus position and distance from the target you set in the calibration with where the AFX was positioned at the time you captured it.

For users of electronic lenses on the Pocket4K/6K where the distance markings are indicative rather than accurate and especially the MFT ones which often have no markings at all, the relationship to the focal plane is fairly arbitrary.

This is similarly the case for users of adapted manual stills lenses with motors too.

So for these cases, all that matters is wherever you had the AFX mounted when you did the calibration and made the connection that when the sensor is reading 141cm the focus position was x (even though it may have said "kind of somewhere near 2m" on the lens itself ) is still the same place it is in when you want to use it.

In most of those cases, the AFX will likely be mounted in a position that roughly equates to somewhere adjacent to the focal plane of the camera but it doesn't have to be precise or even anywhere near it as long as you stick to it.

However....

For calibrated cinema lenses and on sets where measurement is a given then, whilst exactly the same principle applies under the hood from the AFX's perspective, there are obviously operational conventions to adhere to.

So in this respect the displayed distance and its relationship to the actual focal plane obviously becomes far more critical.

But because of the flexibility of the "Put it where you want as long as you leave it there" calibration process of the AFX then, in the diopter example, you do have the option of it permanently being mounted at the focal plane and hence still giving the real distance to the subject but the motor being calibrated to the focus position of the diopter.

In practical operational terms, its far simpler than this description is making it sound !

 

 

 

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How does the sensor mount to the camera or rig? 1/4-20" threaded hole? how is it done in the video demonstrations? Only asking because common 1/4" male to male adapters wouldn't guarantee perfect alignment when threaded all the way. ( that's what it appears is being used in the demo ) 

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On 11/3/2020 at 2:37 PM, NeuroJitsu said:

Many thanks for the comprehensive answer.  My order is now placed!

a supplementary question to this one, thinking about mounting options on my rigs: what is AFX's  possible mounting radius (assuming the unit is mounted sometimes beside or below the camera, as well as above on a hotshoe) from the lens?

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Are there any videos that show what the focus pulls look like when using manual lenses and the nucleus motor. My problem with AF on almost all cameras is normally down to the steppy nature of the motors used in AF lenses and even with this product, I am seeing the same 'steppy-ness' when the lens is racking focus. Id really like to see what the performance is like when bypassing electronic lenses all together. Just a manual lens and the nucleus motor. having someone walk toward and away from the camera should show this quite well.

 

Cheers

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3 hours ago, NeuroJitsu said:

a supplementary question to this one, thinking about mounting options on my rigs: what is AFX's  possible mounting radius (assuming the unit is mounted sometimes beside or below the camera, as well as above on a hotshoe) from the lens?

As with the calibration response above, you can place the AFX in different positions provided you respect the relationship between its position when you calibrated it and the focus points.

27 minutes ago, A_Urquhart said:

Are there any videos that show what the focus pulls look like when using manual lenses and the nucleus motor. My problem with AF on almost all cameras is normally down to the steppy nature of the motors used in AF lenses and even with this product, I am seeing the same 'steppy-ness' when the lens is racking focus. Id really like to see what the performance is like when bypassing electronic lenses all together. Just a manual lens and the nucleus motor. having someone walk toward and away from the camera should show this quite well.

 

There will be more example videos in the coming weeks, particularly with motors.

Bear in mind that the transition journey between the current focus point with both electronic and motor driven lenses is user definable between four different levels of gradation as well as a setting called Natural which automatically bases it on the distance between the two points.

This will also be described more fully in upcoming example videos.

With electronic lenses, the Canon 50mm f1.4 being an example, the available focus steps are not always particularly helpful so a lens like that is far less capable of attaining the smoothness of something like the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 which has not far off ten times more discrete points.

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7 hours ago, BTM_Pix said:

As with the calibration response above, you can place the AFX in different positions provided you respect the relationship between its position when you calibrated it and the focus points.

There will be more example videos in the coming weeks, particularly with motors.

Bear in mind that the transition journey between the current focus point with both electronic and motor driven lenses is user definable between four different levels of gradation as well as a setting called Natural which automatically bases it on the distance between the two points.

This will also be described more fully in upcoming example videos.

With electronic lenses, the Canon 50mm f1.4 being an example, the available focus steps are not always particularly helpful so a lens like that is far less capable of attaining the smoothness of something like the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 which has not far off ten times more discrete points.

Thanks BTM, personally I can't see myself using this for focus pulls between static objects. Im more interested in seeing how the unit and focus motor deals with moving objects or when the camera is moving like on a gimbal. I look forward to seeing more examples with the Tilta motors soon as that's is the only think keeping me from ordering.

Keep up the great work. 

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1 hour ago, A_Urquhart said:

Thanks BTM, personally I can't see myself using this for focus pulls between static objects. Im more interested in seeing how the unit and focus motor deals with moving objects or when the camera is moving like on a gimbal. I look forward to seeing more examples with the Tilta motors soon as that's is the only think keeping me from ordering.

Keep up the great work. 

I'm not sure how many people will either so the primary purpose of a lot of the static stuff is to illustrate speed and accuracy.

From a low level system point of view, the sensor doesn't differentiate as it is always in continuous feed mode to the processor which then acts on it based on the current mode and settings that the user has active.

The target motor positioning is fast enough to cope with big distance changes but also extremely accurate in terms of repeatability to deal with smaller movements.

More videos soon though as its easier to show than tell !

 

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Very interesting development BTM_Pix. It's very nice to see you can reach 3 times as much distance from the camera than the external AF device for the recently released new Ronin gimbals. I think 12 m is good for wide to short tele ranges. In my work (mostly event recordings), however, I would use very long zoom lenses for artists close-ups where focus is critical and the subject is usually a lot farther than 12 m away.

I'd just want to ask if long range autofocus is even possible with today's hardware and if such development would be of your interest for the future.

I'm eager to see new developments from you regarding the AI module, subject tracking and maybe some touch-to-focus someday?

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On 11/7/2020 at 11:54 PM, grokker said:

Very interesting development BTM_Pix. It's very nice to see you can reach 3 times as much distance from the camera than the external AF device for the recently released new Ronin gimbals. I think 12 m is good for wide to short tele ranges. In my work (mostly event recordings), however, I would use very long zoom lenses for artists close-ups where focus is critical and the subject is usually a lot farther than 12 m away.

I'd just want to ask if long range autofocus is even possible with today's hardware and if such development would be of your interest for the future.

I'm eager to see new developments from you regarding the AI module, subject tracking and maybe some touch-to-focus someday?

If an affordable longer range module becomes available then we would consider it as an optional add on for those that need it. Originally, the sensor module was a separate enclosure which reported distance to the PBC before we integrated them into one unit. However, we left the architecture in there to enable other add-ons such as AI module to use it and it would be the same for a longer range sensor.

We'll show some more AI stuff in the next few weeks.

 

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OK, lens hoarders....

If your lens brand is not on this list, can you add it in a comment so I can add it to the AFX database.

Obviously "Anamorphic Dual" and "Generic" will cover a multitude of sins for custom jobs or very obscure ones but if there is anything obvious that isn't included then I'd like to add it.

Thanks

  • Angenieux
  • 7Artisans
  • Anamorphic Dual
  • Arri
  • Bausch & Lomb
  • Bell & Howell
  • Bolex
  • Bower
  • Bronica
  • Canon
  • Carl Zeiss Jena
  • Centon
  • Century Precision Optics
  • Chinon
  • Cinema Products
  • Cineovision
  • Computar
  • Contax
  • Cooke
  • Cosina
  • Cosmicar
  • DZO
  • Elmo
  • Exakta
  • Fujian
  • Fujica
  • Fujifilm
  • Fujinon
  • Generic
  • Hanimex
  • Hasselblad
  • Hawk
  • Heliopan
  • Helios
  • Holga
  • Hoya
  • Industar
  • Isco
  • Iscorama
  • JVC
  • Kaiser Fototechnik
  • Kaligar
  • Kenlock
  • Kiev-Arsenal
  • Kimunor
  • KMZ
  • Konica
  • Kowa
  • Kowo
  • Laowa
  • Leica
  • Leitz
  • Letus
  • LOMO
  • Mamiya
  • Meike
  • Meopta
  • Meyer Optik Görlitz
  • Minolta
  • MIR
  • Mitakon Zhongyi
  • Moller
  • Nikkor
  • Olympus
  • Panasonic
  • Panavision
  • Pentacon
  • Pentax
  • Photax
  • Prinzflex
  • RED
  • Rokinon
  • Rollei
  • Samsung
  • Samyang Optics
  • Sankor
  • Schneider Kreuznach
  • Sicor
  • Sigma
  • Sirui
  • SLR Magic
  • Soligor
  • Sony
  • Switar
  • Tamron
  • Taylor Hobson
  • Tokina
  • Toyo
  • TTArtisans
  • VEB
  • Vega
  • Venus Optics
  • Veydra
  • Viltrox
  • Vivitar
  • Voigtländer
  • Walimex
  • WSC
  • Yashica
  • Zeiss
  • Zenit
  • Zhong Yi Optics
  • Zonlai
  • Zuiko
     
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Here I am ; )

Russian lenses other than Lomo and Zenit or Mir?

https://www.onestopfilms.co.uk/elite-anamorphic/

https://www.thephoblographer.com/2020/04/12/beautiful-and-affordable-7-vintage-soviet-lenses-to-adapt-to-your-camera/

And yet that Takumar beyond Pentax brand  ;- )

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takumar

Without mention one of my fav lenses ever!

 

Ask one of our friends @Tito Ferradans about ;- )

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MMX is the first add on for the AFX and is available to pre-order now on the AFX Indiegogo page.

MMX is a multi-motor wireless expansion module that enables you to control up to three N/M motors in any combination.

196630713_MMX001.thumb.jpg.a89984e146ac602a53207a437f9d9cd1.jpg

 

This means that using the MMX, you can not only control the focus of your manual lens from the AFX but also, for example, its zoom and iris controls.

The MMX has two operational modes, called Single and Dual.

In Single mode, each motor is individually calibrated and they are then operated independently.

In Dual mode, two of the motors are used to create a bonded calibration that would typically be used for a dual focus anamorphic setup and effectively transforming it into a single focus system.

And of course this ganged control of dual focus anamorphic lens systems also means they can now also benefit from the the auto focus capabilities offered by the AFX.

1964952416_MMX004.thumb.jpg.7d59c68d33c80758a90951510cd58631.jpg

For iris control, you are also able to calibrate one of your motors to the T stops on your lens and then use the controller on the AFX to switch between them as though it had electronic aperture control.

The MMX can control any combination of Tilta Nucleus N or M motors on its three ports and is powered by the motor on port one.

The MMX connects to the AFX wirelessly over Bluetooth Low Energy but can also be used with a wired connection.

When using the Tilta Nucleus N motors, you can use the included interface cable and users with Nucleus M motors will require an additional interface cable.

The MMX is available as a pre-order perk now for €105 and will be available to ship with your AFX.

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5 minutes ago, Henchman said:

Have you done tests with a dual focus anamorphic setup? 

Yes, it is setup as a dual calibration file so you move the lenses individually at each distance point  during the calibration and it then drives each one independently to their relevant positions at that distance.

As it is done at multiple points rather than as an overall offset then with a lens like that Anarmorphot it will only operate the Near/Far focus of it when the distance to the subject is below/above 3ft.

 

 

 

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Just now, BTM_Pix said:

Yes, it is setup as a dual calibration file so you move the lenses individually at each distance point  during the calibration and it then drives each one independently to their relevant positions at that distance.

As it is done at multiple points rather than as an overall offset then with a lens like that Anarmorphot for example it will only operate the Near/Far focus of it when the distance to the subject is below/above 3ft.

 

 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

Yes, it is setup as a dual calibration file so you move the lenses individually at each distance point  during the calibration and it then drives each one independently to their relevant positions at that distance.

As it is done at multiple points rather than as an overall offset then with a lens like that Anarmorphot it will only operate the Near/Far focus of it when the distance to the subject is below/above 3ft.

 

 

 

Ok, so I just want to make sure I understand.
If I set the focus calibration of a near and distant point on both lenses. Will it track everything inbetween? 

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