Mods — Modular Optical Image Effects

While designing the CM33, we found that there are many useful image effects that can be achieved by putting specialized optical elements near the aperture stop of the lens — the position in the middle of the optics used for the iris aperture where light is fully mixed together. But because the stop is buried in the middle of the lens, it’s normally impossible to add any optical elements here after the fact. Plus, the extra thickness of glass in the middle of the lens has to be considered in the design to avoid loss of image quality. So for example: a special gradient filter, called an apodizer, placed at the stop can give a lens beautifully creamy bokeh, but to get this effect you have no choice but to buy a dedicated and expensive lens where this filter is permanently designed in. To make matters worse, this filter permanently reduces the light gathering capability of the lens.

So we’re introducing Mods. Mods are specialized optical elements mounted in easy-to-use form factor (smaller than an sD card) that you can insert into the CM33 near its stop at any time to drastically modify the image captured, on the fly. We’ve designed the CM33’s optics from the start around this Mod capability so image quality isn’t compromised when a Mod is inserted — a concept that’s now patent pending.

A Mod using an apodizing element produces incredibly smooth bokeh

A Mod using an apodizing element produces incredibly smooth bokeh

For example, we’ve developed our SF Mods to provide a dreamy "soft focus" effect which normally requires a special lens like the classic Minolta Varisoft. Various types of soft focus filters are available for lenses today, but they all tend to produce a general uncontrolled haze across the image.  The proprietary multi-layer engineered diffuser in our SF Mod, placed at the stop of the CM33, produces a tightly controlled halo around strong highlights and colors — while preserving sharp detail — for a much more pleasant and useful effect. Easily return to normal shooting by removing the Mod and replacing it with the CM33’s included pathlength corrector lens.

We plan to offer many more Mods in the future that you can use with your CM33 so you can keep expanding your creative options without having to carry around extra special-use lenses.

Focus Finder — Pinpoint Manual Focus Accuracy

Another unique feature of the CM33 is something we call Focus Finder. It’s an external switch that holds the aperture fully open to temporarily decrease the depth of focus, so you can quickly pinpoint the best focus point regardless of your chosen aperture. It works beautifully with the focus aids in mirrorless cameras: When holding down the Focus Finder switch, focus peaking highlights will show only for details that are in ideal focus, and when using a zoom assist, out-of-focus details are much more apparent. Release the Focus Finder switch and the aperture returns to the setting on the aperture ring, ready to shoot.

We’ve designed the Focus Finder switch ergonomically so it can be used with a finger on your right hand while your left hand is left free to operate the focus and aperture rings like normal. And because people have different size hands, Focus Finder has been designed to accept a variety of switch parts to suit what is most comfortable for you. Use one of the included switches, or even design and 3D print your own if you want something totally custom.

Modular Filter Rings

To keep the CM33 as compact as possible, we haven’t added the extra length we would need in order to provide a standard-size threaded front ring for filters, lens hoods, or lens caps. We know these are important to many photographers though, so we’ve included our own special threaded interface for modular front ring adapters that let you choose your own balance of size and front-ring functionality without vignetting the image.

For those who don’t mind adding a few millimeters of length to use standard filters and caps, we offer a slim adapter to a standard Ø52mm filter size. Or for those who can give up a little more compactness for a lens hood to minimize off-axis lens flare, we offer a durable machined aluminum hood.  Uniquely, the hood can also accept Ø52mm filters or caps, while providing solid protection for your CM33’s front glass — and the resulting solution is still smaller than most lenses.