Introducing AXIOM Beta, a professional digital
cinema camera built around FOSS and open hardware licenses.
The first of its kind, and providing users with the ability to swap or upgrade sensors at any time, our community’s
debut camera is the result of years of collaboration with the Magic
Lantern team. With powerful internal components, custom-built printed circuit boards and plugin modules,
FPGAs and an onboard Linux operating system at your disposal, changing the entire operation of your camera to suit
the needs of any project is now possible.
most interesting aspect of the AXIOM cameras is that they have the potential to be the last camera you will
ever need… they won't eventually become technologically obsolete like most cameras."
AXIOM Beta Compact enclosure concept circa Nov 2017.
This truly is the first camera where nothing is
hidden from you.
The camera boasts superb image quality, high frame rates, rich colour science properties and a small, lightweight
form factor. It's designed to evolve continuously and give users unparalleled access to the raw data being recorded
from a sensor. Individual hardware components can be swapped out and upgraded as and when required, and software
can be modified to suit the needs of specific use cases anytime. Take what we’ve done, modify anything you like in
whatever way you like, and make it yours.
a camera that is fully customisable. I can build my PC and pick every single part to fit my needs and upgrade
each part as and when needed. It would be great to just upgrade the AF system or upgrade to a new sensor
instead of buying a whole new camera."
- Adam Cross
AXIOM Beta is available/planned in the following enclosures/versions:
AXIOM Beta Developer Kit
This version of the camera is suitable for anyone who’d like to work on development, reconfigure its
software and or core components, or build their own enclosures etc… Developer Kits are supported by a
custom CNC-milled skeleton framework and provide easy access to the camera’s printed circuit boards - With
this in mind associated design files, board layouts, BOMs, CAD models, software source code repositories,
etc. are all made freely available.
For insight into how AXIOM Beta Developer Kits have been configured by members of the community see Case Studies.
This enclosure option provides a solid but lightweight aluminum layer around the camera's electronics and
incorporates several mount points and future expansion slots. Individual modules are swappable (eg. lens
mount, plugin modules) and extra care has been taken to use screws instead of glue so that customisation,
and, should the need arise, simple repairs are made easy.
AXIOM Beta Compact is purpose-built for rig integration and general in-the-field protection, making it
ideally suited to most photo and video production environments.
Price: €5,990.00 (excl. VAT + Shipping)
Status: In development
Currently in a state of early development, and inspired by the 35mm film camera magazines of yesteryear's
age of analog film cameras, this enclosure is ideal for any film production scenario and rests well on the
With ergonomics in mind and providing space for a more sophisticated airflow system, AXIOM Beta Extended is a
camera and integrated AXIOM Recorder combination that plans to incorporate an INTEL NUC and 2.5" SSD(s). And of
course, the AXIOM Recorder module can be attached in various locations around the enclosure and at different
angles.Learn more about the AXIOM Beta Extended from Team Talk 13.2.
Over the past five years our core team and the wider community have custom-built the PCBs (printed circuit
boards) and software that bring AXIOM Beta to life. Since the project’s beginnings each camera has been painstakingly assembled by hand and, wherever
possible, open source programs and equipment have been used to accomplish all aspects of project development.
Now, in the same way, we’ve also built machines to assemble the camera as precisely as we did.
regardless of the open source aspect of the project, it's different to other cameras because of how they
implement the hardware. Whereas [other manufacturers] use their own ASICs (Application Specific Integrated
Circuits) for the image & data processing, the AXIOM Beta uses an FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array)...
With an FPGA you can change the entire operation of the camera down to how it handles handshakes with the
analog-to-digital converters from the sensor. Thus, the apertus° team can continuously provide updates and
new features easier than any other manufacturer.”
AXIOM Beta Compact enclosure concept circa Nov 2017
AXIOM Beta Compact CNC-milled aluminium parts
The AXIOM Beta's internal components consist of five PCBs, one of which accommodates two high speed module
slots. Each module has a total bandwidth to and from the camera's main processing FPGA of at least 6 Gbit/s.
This makes the modules perfect for dealing with high bandwidth video outputs like HDMI/Displayport/SDI, and has
allowed us to explore the provision of solid state media recording facilities for an AXIOM Recorder. Learn more
about structure on the next page: Modularity.
hardware design of the AXIOM Beta was kept simple at first, purely addressing problems discovered with its
predecessor, the AXIOM Alpha. In the
beginning we had intended to design the camera around a single board on top of an off-the-shelf
FPGA/system-on-chip development board: the MicroZed™, but as a result of field testing and together with
feedback gathered from the community we agreed to make it far more powerful by devising a more complex
stack of boards where each layer is dedicated to specific functions.”
- Sebastian Pichelhofer, apertus°.
ams Sensors Belgium CMV12000 - 4K resolution, Super 35mm diameter, global shutter with up to 300
frames per second at full resolution - (Note that the hardware/software currently cannot utilize the full framerate)
(This sensor has been used for research and development purposes but more options will become available. For other compatible alternatives see Wiki: Image Sensor Table)
Compatible with mechanical adapters to accommodate every manual lens, active lens mounts planned
for the future.
WebGUI (Smartphone, Tablet, Laptop, etc.)
2x High-speed plugin module slots
1x Medium-speed shield slot
1x Low-speed shield slot
2x Center Solder On (CSO) modules
Single HDMI 1080p60 (4:4:4) output plugin module
Dual 6G SDI output plugin module (in development)
Genlock, Trigger, Timecode, LANC shields (in development)
4K Displayport/HDMI plugin module (in development)
CSO Module for Motion Tracking (3D Accelerometer, 3D magnetometer, 3D gyroscope, air pressure e.g.
for 3D tracking or image stabilization) (in development)
3x PMOD debug plugin module
1x PMOD debug plugin module
USB / Serial Console / Gigabit Ethernet / WiFi (optional)
Internal Image Processing
Matrix color conversion
Fixed Pattern Noise (FPN) compensation
False color display
Xilinx Zynq 7020 based MicroZed
FPGA + Dual ARM Core
Embedded Linux (Arch)
5V DC supply module (swappable)
Wide input voltage range module 5-40V (planned)
Very promising characteristics are being
achieved with preliminary internal image capture and processing, indicating that, when development
reaches a stage of greater maturity, the camera will record digital film at exceptional quality.
The modularity of the camera means that any of its internal components can be swapped out
and replaced or upgraded, including the sensor. When we began the process of crowdfunding research and
development we ran polls asking what sensor the community would like to see being used for demonstration
purposes. Approximately 90% of project backers chose the ams Sensors Belgium, 35mm, 4K CMV12000. The following
video was part of a Shakespearean adaptation shot by Traum
und Wahnsinn, on AXIOM Beta, using the CMV12000.
happy with the footage that's been captured with the camera through this particular sensor, but there's
definitely room for good improvement as software matures."
- Herbert Pötzl.
Note: YouTube transcoding downgrades image quality, but you may want to visit our Video Archive to see early test footage submissions. There are uncompressed .mov .mp4 and
.dng files in 720p, 1080p and 4K archived here if you'd like to play with them.
Full potential unlocked.
The AXIOM Beta is being built together with experts from the Magic Lantern team. The community that brought you the features Canon never
wanted you to have are now bringing a cinema camera into the film-making world.
Because the AXIOM project and the software they originally pioneered are underpinned by the same ethos,
Magic Lantern partnered with apertus° Association in September 2014. Since then they’ve been
responsible for color science and raw processing inside the camera.
To familiarise yourself with the ethos which underpins this project and how apertus° serves the wider
community see our Mission Statement.
The AXIOM project has been built around the Linux
operating system. Together with the development tools it offers, Linux provides unparalleled control
over the camera software’s functions and processing, but you don’t have to be a programmer to operate
AXIOM Beta’s software incorporates a purpose-built user interface so that general functions e.g.
shutter presets, ISO and inputting meta-data, can be controlled from the comfort of WiFi connected
devices such as laptops, tablets and smart-phones.
beauty of an open source camera to me is a step back toward the dark room, in which making the tools is
part of the joy of making the art.”
- Lee Parker, IMAX Cinematographer.
For all technical information e.g. User Manual, electronics schematics, PCB layouts, BOMs, CAD drawings, and
detailed reading on all aspects of project development, see the Project Wiki.
Any help with keeping Wiki pages up to date is greatly appreciated.
Our apertus° Labs are like a forum with some
extra performance modules for task/bug management or collecting feedback. It has a rich content history dating back years and all project tasks are
organised and discussed here. If you have feedback or ideas you want to share then consider creating a profile.
Access all of the project's software source code repositories and some mechanical component drawings (others collected on wiki - see above) on Github.
By creating a profile on AXIOM Ecosystem
you can list yourself as offering products or services to the community. See where your nearest AXIOM Beta
camera is located here.
apertus° is a member of
and the AXIOM project is certified Open Hardware by