The Problem: Ensuring Lens Performance

In the motion picture business, an assistant camera operator must be absolutely confident that the focal length markings on each lens are accurate; that the chosen lens for a shot will produce a perfect, predictable image by 21st-century standards. Because he/she is unable to access the primary operator’s visual reference monitor during a shoot, a good assistant tapes out distances for every lens ahead of time and will reject unsatisfactory lenses—failure to provide proper equipment would likely cost his or her job. The same level of scrutiny befalls lens rental and repair houses as they work to service and sub out state-of-the-art glass. Though the stakes might not sound as high as some military production applications for an autocollimator, precise and accurate measurements are crucial to success in this business.

Autocollimator Bench - Duclos Lenses
Autocollimator Bench from Duclos Lenses

The Solution: Dependable Measurements

Enter Duclos Lenses. Pressed with the demands of the modern cinema industry, this revered Los Angeles-area service and modification shop sets the standard for efficient, high-accuracy back focus adjustment. When Paul Duclos and his team were developing the Duclos Autocollimator Bench, they chose, for its superior quality and usability, a Möller-Wedel Optical autocollimator supplied by Vermont Photonics. Using the bench, a technician measures the precise location of the image within the frame at infinity focus. Along with a test projector to check parameters not at infinity, the Duclos Autocollimator Bench is an essential tool in any reputable lens shop’s service process.

Why Möller-Wedel Optical: Precision, Accuracy, and Usability

By the early 2000s, modern cinema technology necessitated a higher-quality collimator bench than the one that had dominated the market for decades. This bench had produced trustworthy results by yesteryear’s standards, but its shortcomings were becoming intolerable: a handcrafted collimator, beam splitter, and eye piece assembly, and a simple incandescent bulb light source conspired to produce inconsistent results. Its analog micrometer was only accurate to .001”, it was difficult to zero after a temperature change, and image quality was suffering.

“The quality of the Möller-Wedel Optical autocollimator is higher all around,” says Paul. The Duclos Autocollimator Bench uses a digital micrometer accurate to .00005”. According to Paul, the bench gives the best objective readout and image quality available: “When it’s sharp, it’s sharp — two or three people can look at it and get consistent results.”

Working Together: Duclos Lenses & Vermont Photonics

Like Vermont Photonics, Duclos Lenses is a small company built on strong customer relationships. No matter the project, Paul’s team is willing to innovate based on client feedback, offer custom solutions, and stand by its work. Customers, who come to Duclos mostly by word of mouth, know they can dial the shop for assistance at any time. When perfect image clarity matters, you deserve that level of attention — that shared commitment to customer service makes us proud to collaborate with Duclos Lenses.