Frequently Asked Questions

The F-Zero Camera is a unique piece of equipment, and we've seen a lot of questions about it. Here are some of the most common ones.

What parts come with each bundle you describe in your Launch Video?

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are images of each bundle:

Full Camera Kit

Full Camera Kit:

  • 1x Objective Lens
    • For either 67mm f0.6 or 39mm f0.5 effective lens
  • 2x Lens Carrier Frame Assemblies
    • 1x Objective Lens Carrier Plate
    • 1x Standard Camera Carrier Plate
    • 1x Small Camera/Smartphone Carrier Plate
    • 1x Cine Rail Plate
  • 1x Intermediate Sensor Assembly
    • Complete w/Diffusion Glass + Collimator Lens
  • 2x Bellows
  • 1x Large Gantry Plate
  • 1x Custom Hardshell Case

DIY Bundle:

  • 2x Lens Carrier Frame Assemblies
    • 1x Objective Lens Carrier Plate
    • 1x Standard Camera Carrier Plate
    • 1x Small Camera/Smartphone Carrier Plate
    • 1x Cine Rail Plate
  • 1x Intermediate Sensor Frame (empty)
  • 1x Large Gantry Plate

So the camera creates an effective f0.3 to f0.6 lens. Will this be the ultimate low-light setup?

Unfortunately not. The diffusion glass + collimator assembly takes some light in the process of widening our field of view. We achieve the same effective bokeh and field of view of a f0.3-f0.6 lens, but the image itself does not have the light-collecting power of such a lens. It is more like shooting at f8 (or T8 for you cine folks). It's more than enough to shoot in most practical environments, but not in ultra low light.

Why do you call it a camera? Since I need to add another camera to record digitally, would it make sense to call it a lens?

You can certainly think of it that way. Or you can think of it as a giant depth-of-field adapter. Or as a large format camera with additional parts. The concepts here overlap a bit. The F-Zero Camera is actually most similar to a large format camera, just with a third "standard". The F-Zero Camera's Intermediate Sensor is what typical large format camera would call the "rear standard." The photographer would put film in front of the diffusion glass and expose their film. But on the F-Zero, we skip the film and add an additional "standard" (our rear Lens Carrier Assembly) in order to place a taking camera at the back of the system so we can record stills or video using modern digital cameras of all kinds.

Can't I just use a different lens and stand back farther (or closer) to achieve the same kind of bokeh)?

No. For an equivalent composition, the F-Zero Camera will always produce a strikingly different image to even the fastest lenses available today. Consider this example:


The bottom was taken with a Canon 50mm RF f1.2 lens, wide open at f1.2. The shot on top was taken with the F-Zero Camera. While 50mm f1.2 lenses can produce larger out-of-focus bokeh balls, they need a different composition to do so. We would have to bring the subject much closer to camera, and/or take those light sources and bring them much father back. We would have a much tighter composition, and ultimately be telling a different story with our image. 

Similarly, trying to use a longer lens and going much farther away from subject wouldn't work either. In this case, we couldn't even get farther back as we were at the wall in this particular room. But let's assume we cut a hole in the wall and went back 30 feet and changed to a 300mm f2.8 lens. We might have similar background separation, but now we again have a much different composition. Instead of seeing the entire room and all the lights, we might only see a few of the lights, as we've compressed the background so much. 

Quite simply, the F-Zero Camera creates entirely new possibilities, and there is no alternative on the market to do what it does.

How will I ever pull focus with an f0.5 lens? This will be particularly challenging for video, won't it?

It's actually not as bad as you think. I have very little video experience myself (I come from the stills world). But I shot all our demo footage myself, and pulled focus manually while operating the camera, and it came out just fine. Keep in mind that the father you get from your subject, the deeper your focal plane. And, the camera will have the same depth-of-field as its Objective Lens. So when we use the 500mm f4.5 Objective to set up the F-Zero as a 67mm f0.6, it still focuses like a 500mm f4.5. If our subject is 10 feet away, it's the same as focusing a 500mm f4.5 lens with a subject 10 feet away.

What happens if I use an anamorphic lens on my taking camera? What if I use a 3D lens on my taking camera? What if I use an ultrawide lens on my taking camera?

Short answer for all three: nothing happens. The entire image is already set once it hits our intermediate sensor. Our taking camera is basically acting as a scanner to record the image which is already there and finished. Using an anamorphic lens to capture it won't create oval bokeh, because we aren't getting ANY bokeh from our taking camera - the intermediate sensor is a flat plane, so it's all in focus as far as our taking camera is concerned. The same logic applies to using 3D lenses - our taking camera is "taking a picture of a picture" - so a 3D lens would just see the same image twice. A wider lens on your taking camera will only see the inside of the rear bellows. A longer lens on your taking camera would merely crop the image. We want a 35mm lens with close focus (about 13 inches or less) which will record the entire Intermediate Sensor. For our purposes, the "character" of the lens is irrelevant.

You mention I need to supply a rail. What did you use on your demo setup?

We used this 1000mm C-Beam and two X-Large Gantry Kits from OpenBuilds, for a total cost of about $150. This setup is very robust and sturdy, and can easily be motorized for those of you who want an electric follow focus. It's pretty heavy, so if weight is your priority then you may want to look into carbon fiber cine sliders or similar. Anything will work as long as it's rated to support about 25lbs or so.

Can you show me some RAW files?

Right now, almost everything we've posted has been a framegrab from video. We are still revising our Intermediate Sensor components (the diffusion glass + collimator elements) and we don't want to share original RAWs until we have our final components ready. However, we do have one sample to show, but PLEASE keep in mind the in-progress nature of the sensor.

F-Zero Comparison Image

You will notice some quirks like dust on the sensor, vignetting due to imperfect fresnel focal lengths, smudges on the glass, etc. Our Intermediate Sensor has been assembled and disassembled dozens of times as we test out different components and combinations, so it's not looking like a brand new system at this point. Once we have final production parts, it'll be a case of set-and-forget, where you assemble the parts one time, and then never open the sensor again. That being said, here is the RAW file comparison package. Note that the F-Zero Camera sample will show as a Canon RF 35mm f1.8 lens shot at f4, because that's how our taking camera was set. 

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Thanks for your interest!

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