INTRODUCING THE NELSONIANS®
Hear what cinematographers have to say
Three DPs explore micro / macro cinematography with Infinity lenses.
Bill Bennett, ASC, James Mathers and Cameron Cannon photograph and shoot video with a variety of shots in order to evaluate the technology.
REVIEWS & ARTICLES
THESE ARE THE LENSES THAT CINEMATOGRAPHERS HAVE HOPED AND WAITED FOR.
THEY DO THINGS NO OTHER LENSES DO.
THEY’RE THE FUTURE…
BUT YOU CAN GET THEM NOW.
They’re called Nelsonian® because they’re based on the micro tech principles discovered by E M Nelson more than a hundred years ago. But NOW it’s about time: INFINITY has taken that tech and used it to make CINE (and PHOTO) lenses that almost seem unbelievable. ALMOST. Because from the easy to use MikroMak™ line–to the comprehensive ROBUSTO™ Pro System–it’s now time to BELIEVE.
THE PRO QUALITY InfiniProbe™ TS-160 ROBUSTO
About a tenth the price of a single pro cine lens of comparable IMAGE quality but which probably has fewer potential capabilities, this breakthrough in technology allows you to capture images as never before. It opens the door for everyone to do some of the most difficult cine techniques–easily.
But HOW can lenses with such SMALL fronts and compact size DO what they do? Well, they DO–but we’ll get to that later….
Here’s what they aren’t………
[Move that here].
• The TS-160 (with SFX-3 front lens) can keep EVERYTHING in focus from 2 inches (50mm) to infinity. Once focused to infinity, there’s no need to focus again.
(For example, Robotic arms no longer need to be programmed–saving hours of setup time and allowing contortions that would otherwise be impossible to keep in focus). Like what Adam Voorhes does:
Here is what they aren’t: They’re not PINHOLE LENSES. And they’re not ENDO/BORESCOPES like almost every other probe-type lens which use repeaters to “fool” a camera to “think” a lens is attached directly to it. The TS-160 doesn’t work like that. So, there’s just nothing else like it.
With a TS-160 you’ll be able to:
• Zero-in to 16x (no typo) with laboratory microscope quality, making other macro lenses obsolete.
• Capture incredible contrast and sharpness. Colors will seem to “pop” out.
Credit: Nicholas DeSciose, African Mask; Wool spools.
• OBTAIN DEEP DEPTH. Just by focusing ONCE, you can do in SECONDS what the “classical” cinematographers such as Greg Toland took DAYS to do.
Like this. (Here are two shoes 45 inches apart; a typical macro at f/22 can’t do it).
Credit: Barry Bassett, VMI Rentals, UK
• FORCED PERSPECTIVE. Now, you can keep close and far in focus at the same time.
Like this. (Here’s a demo).
Credits: Rob Stiff, MagicMakers
The Edmund Cars
• THE IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE. There is no lens that achieves the impression of “putting you into things” like the TS-160.
Credit: Bill Bennett, ASC
• FORMAT MATCHING.
Since the TS-160 projects its image, it can be used with every format from C-mount to Full Frame (43mm diagonal) just by using the right tube suited to each.
Since the TS-160 is a SYSTEM, there are many accessories which configure it. It fits almost every camera by adaptable mounts. It has interchangeable front lenses with several focal length options to match format performance. It can be equipped for straight, 45-degree and 90-degree orientations. It has aspheric optics can be tuned to be incredibly sharp or deliberately soft and “ethereal.”
The full selection of accessories ranges from filter holders to mounting clamps–even to adapters for use on microscope stands. A mirror diverter allows two cameras or eyepieces to be interfaced. These accessories extend capabilities in fields from tabletop to production to capturing nature’s nuances–limited only by your imagination.
The TS-160 comes in a choice of two ROBUSTO Main Bodies: Regular and Lite. Both are optically identical except the Lite is approximately half the weight of the somewhat MORE ROBUST Regular.
Now to answer the question…
HOW can the Nelsonian lenses do what they do?
Traditionally, large lens size/diameter is needed as sensor coverage increases. But a smaller lens can still “take in the world” if a very small sensor coverage is acceptable. If even a miniature lens producing a MINUTE field is FURTHER MAGNIFIED to PROJECT onto sensors of full-frame or larger, that is the principle upon which the Nelsonian lenses are based.
In the “Age of Film,” projection to fill a sensor resulted in such a dim image as to be useless. Nelsonian design was not even thought possible let alone practical.
But now, sensor technology has given us cameras with tremendous sensitivity and little or no perceptible noise.
THE NELSONIAN LENS TECHNOLOGY TAKES ADVANTAGE OF THIS, OPENING NEW VISTAS FOR CINEMATOGRAPHY (and still photography as well).
Simply put: We now have entered a NEW ERA IN CINEMATOGRAPHY.
THE NELSONIAN® ALLIANCE
And now a marketing alliance with Edmund Optics assures you of unequalled technical assistance and service.
ROBUSTO™ Lenses for Cinematography
ROBUSTO Series Optics
Spurred by increasing demands from cinematographers to utilize these unique imaging systems for commercial, advertising, table-top and special effects, Infinity has created a Cine-specific line: the ROBUSTO series. ROBUSTO was first utilized in Infinity’s world-standard K2 DistaMax and K1 CentriMax long-distance microscopes. ROBUSTO combines all-metal construction and precision focus adjustment for unsurpassed reliability. In addition all ROBUSTO models feature built-in gearing for motor attachment. Now, ROBUSTO has been adapted to the InfiniProbe TS-160—an almost universal imager capable of direct focus from infinity to 18mm and 0-16x on full-frame sensors that is winning widespread acceptance among some of the world’s premier cinematographers. It is believed that these are world-first capabilities. What began as a special microscope has now expanded to be a universal solution for some of the most difficult problems in cinematography.
ROBUSTO—The TS-160 Optimized for Cinematography
The amazing journey of developing the TS-160 for cinematography continues. With input coming from some of the most honored cinematographers in the world, we set about bringing the TS-160 up to their more demanding OPTICAL and MECHANICAL standards. The result was what we have called ROBUSTO—Infinity’s line of optics primarily designed for cinematography (and still photography, as well).
A NEW LENS WITH NEW OBJECTIVES
Once the use of the TS-160 for Cine was proposed, we set to work to provide it with objectives more suited to imaging at distances. This realization led to the development of the SFX-series consisting of three objectives: SFX-1, -2 and -3.
But one more step could be taken—and it was. By adding aspherical correction, the performance of the SFX objectives could be fully realized. The spherical optics of the Standard TS-160 were—and still are—perfectly suited for use with the Macro and Micro HM objectives. In fact, most all sample macro and micro images shown on the regular TS-160 page were taken with a Standard spherically-equipped TS-160 model. But the performance of the TS-160 with the SFX objectives is best attained when aspherical correction is incorporated in the Main Body. All TS-160 modules bearing the ROBUSTO designation are aspherically-equipped.
But better optics for Cine also suggested incorporating better mechanics as well. Clearly, the aspherically-equipped TS-160 deserved being supported by some of the finest, most precise MECHANICS that have already been used on Infinity’s world-class K-series long-distance microscopes. A degree of unsurpassed refinement. In the process, we added high quality all-metal parts that can withstand even the most rigorous day to day usage. And, as if that were not enough, we provided TS-160 ROBUSTO with the POTENTIALS for future accessories and capabilities already planned but yet to be announced.
The TS-160 ROBUSTO handles silkily yet with authority, retaining all the unique features of the original and more. It has the literal robustness to utilize Mirror Diverters or Beamsplitters so that TWO cameras can be mounted on it. And the interchangeability to be used with ALL camera formats used in cinematography. Finally, the mark of a full ROBUSTO system is that 0.8mm pitch gearing is built-in for industry-standard follow-focus motor drives.
But we also found that some Cine applications could benefit by offering a lighter-weight version of the full ROBUSTO. So, we created a ROBUSTO-Lite model. It does everything the larger model does, yet retains compactness and light weight for macro out in the field. In fact, many will find that having both main body types will prove useful for meeting a slew of assignments.
• Magnification Tables
• Instruction Manual
There are 2 more ROBUSTO models – K1 CentriMax and K2 DistaMax
And, to round out the ROBUSTO concept, we went full circle and added the all-metal gearing to our K1 CentriMax and K2 DistaMax long-distance microscopes— so creating three Infinity optical systems which are designed for Cine uses that meet ROBUSTO criteria— Click Here for more information on other members of the ROBUSTO series:
Below is what we received from Avi Karpick taken with the TS-160.
… Also sent to us by Roberto Laguna Ditleff – cinematography by Ronaldo Moreira
And we continue to get input from famous cinematographers.
Below are some of the actual commercials shot by Stephen McGehee:
Rob Stiff of MAGICMAKERS INC. has explored using the TS-160 for PERSPECTIVE CHANGE. Take a Look!
We invite others who are using the TS-160 to submit their work for inclusion on this site.
The ROBUSTO models are not only better-suited to cine and photography, they can be utilized for many more advanced imaging purposes. All future accessories that expand the horizons of the InfiniProbe TS-160 concept will be made in and for the ROBUSTO versions.
In order to permit this, ROBUSTO models have provisions to interchange or accept various components. In some cases, such as when the InFocus Microscope Objective Converter is used, the TS-160 is transformed into what can virtually be considered to be an entirely new optical device. Yet, all accessories and converters can be carried on-location with the regular components, ready to be applied on-the-spot to solve even the most unanticipated challenges that arise.
The SUFFOCATOR™ for the InfiniProbe TS-160 ROBUSTO™ is a module that replaces the standard rear tubes of the TS-160 and acts as an extremely sensitive secondary fine focus. It does so without introducing breathing (the changes in magnification when focus adjustments are made) for virtually any and all imaging accessories used with the TS-160. The Suffocator is supplied mated to a TS-160 Robusto and is not a user-added accessory.
From variable focusing Macro and Micro objectives—to a series of distance-corrected taking objectives—to snorkel dipping objectives (in preparation)—to fixed working distance microscope objectives potentially reaching the limits of classical microscope resolution—all can be fine focused essentially without breathing. When equipped with a SUFFOCATOR, the TS-160 can literally be used to image a Blood Moon to a Blood cell. Since the TS-160 maintains focus out to infinity, it is ideal for forced perspective. Now, once a primary focus is set by the TS-160’s main focusing control, the SUFFOCATOR can then be used to provide an incredibly sensitive fine focusing capability which is devoid of breathing as well.
What is SUFFOCATOR?
Lenses that exhibit little or no breathing have been produced for some time. The SUFFOCATOR makes no claim to be the first to accomplish that. What, then, distinguishes the SUFFOCATOR from other lenses that successfully counter breathing?
First, the SUFFOCATOR is totally independent on the choice of frontal lenses or accessories used on the TS-160. It will prevent breathing from Macro, Micro, SFX Series taking lenses, Snorkel—or even regular microscope objectives used with the InFocus(tm) Microscope Objective Converter.
Next, it works as a supplemental system. The regular adjustment of the TS-160 is used to set a primary focus which is “presented” to the SUFFOCATOR. The SUFFOCATOR then acts as an extremely sensitive fine focus operating on the primary focus that has been “presented” to it. The sensitivity is of an extraordinary order of refinement; details seem to “peel away” their depths. This alone would make the SUFFOCATOR a significant Cine optic.
But, in the process of “depth peeling,” the size of imaged detail remains the same throughout. Simply, the sensitivity is complemented by the virtual elimination of lens breathing.
All this means that it should now be possible to use the SUFFOCATOR to monitor images as they would OTHERWISE go in and out of focus. Such monitoring is possible because the sensitivity is so refined that the whole process can occur in REAL TIME. In short, the SUFFOCATOR holds out the POSSIBILITY of being the Cinema counterpart to Z-stacking as known in still photography. And that potentially means that that technique could be used with ANY lens or accessory mounted on the TS-160. This possibility —and the software required are now under further investigation. If successful, new artistic vistas would open to cinematographers.
The SUFFOCATOR in Use
For SFX and for focusing out to infinity turn the SUFFOCATOR’S focus ring in the total clockwise direction. Then focus with the primary focus on the Main Body. By turning the SUFFOCATOR focus ring counter clockwise, focus is “brought close in” from infinity.
InFocus™ Microscope Objective Converter
Removing the Main Body’s Front Lens/Iris Assembly and replacing it with the Microscope Objective Converter, transforms the TS-160 ROBUSTO models into advanced InFocus devices capable of internally focusing infinity-corrected microscope objectives. While the Micro HM Objective provides continuous focus from 0-16x, the InFocus Microscope Objective Converter turns the TS-160 Main Body into a conventional microscope with the additional capability of internal fine focus without the need to change working distance once the initial image is obtained.
InFocus in Use
(A general discussion on the InFocus principle is found on our InFocus site page: https://www.infinity-usa.com/infocus/)
The major manufacturers of high-quality microscope objectives utilize proprietary color correction factors and tube lengths. This means that in order for the TS-160 to be usable with VIRTUALLY ALL MAJOR BRANDS OF INFINITY-CORRECTED OBJECTIVES, it must by some means provide suitable correction for nearly all. Otherwise, the image quality will be far from ideal due to incompatibility.
FOUR MAJOR SYSTEMS—THREE CORRECTIONS NECESSITATED
Most infinity-corrected objectives are color-corrected within the objective itself. The optics in the microscope need to be NEUTRAL with these. This is the type of correction used by Nikon, Olympus, Mitutoyo and Infinity Photo-Optical’s own Achrovid™ objectives. All are generally computed for 200mm tube length except Olympus which is based on 180mm.
Zeiss ICS objectives correct color in the microscope tube itself. The tube lens provides specific reciprocal color correction only for Zeiss objectives.
Their tube length factor is 160mm.
LEICA utilizes their own color correction factor in the microscope tube, similar to, but incompatible with, Zeiss’ method.
Their tube length factor is 200mm.
To accommodate these incompatible systems, Infinity Photo-Optical offers THREE InFocus Microscope Objective Converters for each major-brand color correction system. By switching out one for another, different brands on-hand may be successively utilized.
When the InFocus Microscope Objective Converter is used, the objective’s engraved power is multiplied by the following to obtain actual power due to tube length factors (given on the objective’s engraving):
All the instructions, data tables and pricelists are in the PDF files located above. They show how to configure the ROBUSTO TS-160 and all dimensions, etc. Contact us to learn more about how the ROBUSTO TS-160 can solve your imaging problems.
ROBUSTO is a trademark of Infinity Photo-Optical Company.