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Beaulieu lens modification


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#1 JB Guillot

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 10:45 AM

Hi everybody,

I was wondering if it's possible to modify one of the oldschool Angenieux or Schneider lens sold with Beaulieu 2008 / 4008 series to have them full manual.

As you know most of theses lenses were electronic driven. Even if this is bypassable thru the dedicated knob on the camera I was wondering if it's possible to remove the motors to have a smooth manual movement.

Have some of you tried that ? Does it need to be done by a professional ? Who on the market does that ?

The other option is to find a full manual lens but they are quite hard to find ...
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#2 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 11:59 AM

Yes, it is possible to remove the Beaulieu Reglomatic electric motor servos housed in two lateral tubes alongside the lens, which allow automatic exposure control and electric zoom control (they are not electronically regulated - that only came with the Beaulieu 6/7/9008-series).

It's only really worth to do so on lenses like the Schneider Beaulieu-Optivaron 1:1,8 / 6-66mm (C-Mount) or the Angénieux f/1,2 | T/1,4-2,1 / 6-80mm (C-Mount) because of the quality of the glass that was used.

You can find screws behind the covers at the front of the tubes and along the collar of the chassis of the housing. Whether you would rather hand this over to a professional depends on your experience working with optics. If you are in Europe, people to address would be Bjorn Andersson ( bjorn.andersson@brevet.nu ) of ex-Beaulieu Sweden fame, Ritter-Media Service of ex-Beaulieu Germany (Ritter Film + Videotechnik GmbH) fame, or other UK/US fine-mechanics workshops that regularly get mentioned here in this forum. You might also want to try Wittner Cinetec, which essentially is Beaulieu nowadays.

Beware that you might not get as smooth a manual movement with these vario lenses as you would expect from those for larger formats like S16 etc. The resistance you feel when operating the lenses manually is not entirely due to the mechanics connecting the lens rings with the Reglomatic drives, but due to the manufacturing quality deemed okay for these (at that time:) consumer market optics. In order to get a super-smooth operation, many vario lenses in that era were equipped with fluid zoom drives such as by Chrosziel.
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#3 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 05:10 PM

Hi everybody,

I was wondering if it's possible to modify one of the oldschool Angenieux or Schneider lens sold with Beaulieu 2008 / 4008 series to have them full manual.

As you know most of theses lenses were electronic driven. Even if this is bypassable thru the dedicated knob on the camera I was wondering if it's possible to remove the motors to have a smooth manual movement.

Have some of you tried that ? Does it need to be done by a professional ? Who on the market does that ?

The other option is to find a full manual lens but they are quite hard to find ...


Just take out the screws around the collar near the base of the complete assembly
of the reglomatic. You can take out the optical system without trouble. It is not fixed to the motors.
These just have gears which interlock when the tubeopenings are in position.

It is a 10 minute chore :)

How smooth the lens alone will work is a matter of the condition of the helicoid-lube.

Likely it will just work fine. The only trouble is you will have the opening s for the gears. But when you are not travelling any saharas you will be fine :)

It is what pro8mm do on their "refurbished" lenses.Which you then get to buy at multiple hundreds.

Edited by Andries Molenaar, 23 May 2012 - 05:15 PM.

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#4 JB Guillot

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 04:05 AM

Thanks for you answers, I will try that next week-end on my Schneider Optivaron 6-66, looks like it's fairly simple.

As for the openings for the gears, a piece of gaffer will do the job.
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#5 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 02:50 PM

Thanks for you answers, I will try that next week-end on my Schneider Optivaron 6-66, looks like it's fairly simple.

As for the openings for the gears, a piece of gaffer will do the job.



Put a little piece of cardboard over them before the tape...

You don't want the glue to get onto the gears.
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#6 JB Guillot

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 05:18 AM

Just take out the screws around the collar near the base of the complete assembly
of the reglomatic. You can take out the optical system without trouble. It is not fixed to the motors.
These just have gears which interlock when the tubeopenings are in position.

It is a 10 minute chore :)

Done ! You were right it's really simple to do.
Once the reglomatic unit removed, the zoom ring is easier to move and not so loose. Perfect.
Still have to find some way to cover the gear but it shouldn't be too hard.

As for the aperture ring it's really loose and you also loose the macro lever on the side of the lens ... Does anyone know if there's an existing plastic cover to put over the aperture gear and that could have a macro lever ?

Edited by JB Guillot, 30 May 2012 - 05:18 AM.

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#7 Andries Molenaar

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 02:47 PM

If you are really into disassembly you could take apart the tubes of the reglomatic. Use really fine scredrivers.Take out the motors and gears. You can also reduce their lenght. Then you can remount it to the optical-tube and you would have your cover and macro-lever :)
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#8 JB Guillot

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 03:49 AM

If you are really into disassembly you could take apart the tubes of the reglomatic. Use really fine scredrivers.Take out the motors and gears. You can also reduce their lenght. Then you can remount it to the optical-tube and you would have your cover and macro-lever :)

You're absolutely right, this couls be a good idea.

However, I have also observed another thing that make the reglomatic unit a bit troublesome :
when I screw the complete lens (with reglomatic) on the camera, le lens part has a bit of play. In fact, when mounted on the camera, the reglomatic touches the camera body (needed for the electric contacts) so I can't tighten the lens itself anymore. But in this position the lens has a bit of play. For example, if I just turned the the focus ring to infinity and want to come back to close-focus, the lens turns a bit on itself before the focus ring turns. It's not a big play, not even 1 degree retotation but it makes things harder when it comes to precise focusing and I don't know if it has an influence on the image crispness ...
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#9 Glenn Brady

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 12:31 PM

Rotational play in the lens may be do to looseness in the lens mount. I experienced this problem with one of my 4008 series cameras and fixed it by prizing up the thin black plastic ring from the lens mount on the camera and tightening the screws (as I recall there are four) thus exposed. I then glued the ring back in place (it has holes through which the three electrical contacts pass) and haven't had any problem since.
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#10 Glenn Brady

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Posted 11 June 2012 - 02:10 PM

Pardon the typo. I meant ". . . due to looseness in the lens mount". I removed the black plastic ring wielding an X-Acto knife very gently.
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#11 JB Guillot

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 09:15 AM

Thanks for the info. I'll check that on mine.
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