AXIOM Open-Source Cinema Camera Unveils New Design and Recording solutions

December 5th, 2017 Jump to Comment Section 23
AXIOM Open-Source Cinema Camera Unveils New Design and Recording solutions

Apertus has unveiled new major updates regarding technological and design solutions for AXIOM, the world’s first open-hardware and open-software cinema camera. Read on to learn more about this fascinating camera. 


Backed by a team of experts from a large swathe of technological and artistic fields (developers, filmmakers, engineers and artists), the apertus° project is stepping forward to the next level of manufacturing and delivering of the AXIOM camera.

cinema5D has been following the progression of this ambitious project from its beginnings, and it is indeed fascinating to see this open-source camera taking shape. It’s actually finally starting to look like a cinema camera!

AXIOM camera main features:

– 4K resolution

– Super35 sensor

– Global shutter

– Up to 15 stops dynamic range

– Up to 300 fps

– 12 bit

– Target price well below $10,000

You can find out more about the sensor’s capabilities HERE.

Current Status of Development

The AXIOM Beta camera has 3 versions regarding structure and functionality:

  1. Developer kit (DK): A skeleton frame provides support to the electronics, lens mount (e-mount) and tripod, but lack any easy access to the AXIOM Beta’s electronics and connectors.
  2. Compact (CP): A solid but lightweight aluminum layer around the electronics with several mount points and future expansion slots. Great for rig integration and field protection.
  3. Extended (EX): A more ergonomic structure and options for an integrated recording device (AXIOM Recorder), ideal for shoulder mounted operation.

According to the team, 27 AXIOM DK have been built and more are being manufactured. The main focus now is to increase speed of electronic component production by using more automated workflows.

Electronics production automated workflows

It’s important to note that, due to the open-source nature of the camera, the project develops due to the support of a whole community of fully-dedicated enthusiasts. That’s the main reason for the acceleration of the development progress as described below.   


The design looks much clearer now and is composed of different potential shapes, all of which look amazing.

AXIOM basic design

Recording uncompressed 4K raw

The new AXIOM USB 3.0 plugin module can transform any computer with USB 3.0 connectivity into an AXIOM recorder with uncompressed Raw 4K capabilities. One AXIOM USB 3.0 module can provide users with a bandwidth of around 400MB/S.

The recording can be done with an INTEL NUC apparatus – an ideal platform for this camera considering its compact size and functionality. The NUC provides serious computing power and can be combined with individual SSDs, or larger, RAID-based solutions with multiple high-capacity SSDs simply by using off-the-shelf hardware.

The AXIOM USB 3.0 plugin module

Final stages of CAD design

Thick, CNC-milled aluminum parts will give the camera electronics considerable protection in tough filmmaking productions.

The AXIOM Beta Compact Shell (“cage”)

The Shell will provide filmmakers with many more mounting points, as well as added protection and flexibility.


The AXIOM Beta Extended

An option for filmmakers who require a highly ergonomic camera body ready for a full range of shooting scenarios, such as handheld, shoulder, crane-mounted and more.

AXIOM Beta Extended

Availability and prices

The AXIOM team is currently shipping to developers and early adopters. A more mature version with a proper enclosure, camera controls, etc. will become available at a later stage. It is important to note that you do not need to be a programmer in order to use the AXIOM Beta.

Currently there are a few options to purchase the camera: 

  1. AXIOM Developer Kit: This version of the camera is suitable for anyone who’d like to work on development. Price: €3,990.00.
  2. AXIOM Production Ready: The more user-friendly AXIOM Beta Compact ships with a CNC-milled aluminum enclosure and is ideally suited to photo and video production environments. This version is still under development but you can be notified when it becomes available. Price: €5,990.00.
  3. You can also custom-build the camera yourself, but be aware that this option is for heavy-duty DIY users who are the most curious and are not afraid to get their hands dirty.

You can find more detailed information HERE.

According to the AXIOM team, both versions of the camera deliver superb image quality, high frame rates, rich color science properties (developed with the help of the Magic Lantern team), a friendly form factor, and flexible integration and customization.

Check out some sample footage from the AXIOM in the video below:

The future: a call to action for developers

It seems that this tremendous project is moving fast, and the AXIOM team wants you to join the development! You can sign up to the apertus° Lab and be a part of something great that has the potential to disrupt the professional camera world.

For all you skeptics out there, remember that the first prototype from RED Digital Cinema in 2005 was no more than a few plates of aluminum with some hand-built circuit boards attached to a computer.

What it your perspective regarding the AXIOM’s place in the cinema camera market? Let us know in the comments.


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