AXIOM Beta Overview | apertus° - open source cinema

AXIOM Beta Overview

Pictured: AXIOM Beta Developer Kit.

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.

"The 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.

"We need 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.

Price: €3,990.00 (excl. VAT + Shipping)
Status: Shipping - Delivered inside six weeks.


AXIOM Beta Compact

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

Get Pre-Order Access

AXIOM Beta Extended

Currently in a state of early development, and inspired by the 35mm film camera magazines of yesteryear's golden age of analog film cameras, this enclosure is ideal for any film production scenario and rests well on the DOP's shoulders. 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.

Price: TBD
Status: Early Development

Get Pre-Order Access

Note: If you purchased a voucher during the project's crowdfunding and have queries regarding prices see AXIOM Beta Crowdfunding Information.

Hand-built. Constantly evolving.

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.”
- Anthony Kouttron, SalvagedCircuitry.

AXIOM Beta Compact enclosure concept circa Nov 2017.

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.

"The 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°.


Image Sensor

ams Sensors Belgium CMV12000 - 4K resolution, Super 35mm diameter, global shutter with up to 300 frames per second at full resolution
(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)

Lens Mount

Passive E-mount
Compatible with mechanical adapters to accommodate every manual lens, active lens mounts planned for the future.

Camera Control


WebGUI (Smartphone, Tablet, Laptop, etc.)

AXIOM Remote


2x High-speed plugin module slots

1x Medium-speed shield slot

1x Low-speed shield slot

2x Center Solder On (CSO) modules

Expansion 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

General Connectivity

USB / Serial Console / Gigabit Ethernet / WiFi (optional)

Internal Image Processing

Matrix color conversion

Look-Up-Tables (LUTs)

Fixed Pattern Noise (FPN) compensation

False color display


Hardware Architecture

Xilinx Zynq 7020 based MicroZed
FPGA + Dual ARM Core

Operating System

Embedded Linux (Arch)

Power Supply

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.

"We're 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.

Serious about freedom.

All of our software is released under the GNU General Public License V3, all our documentation under the Creative Commons License, and all hardware under the Cern Open Hardware License.

Our Association is a supporter of the Free Software Foundation Europe and the AXIOM project is listed with the Open Source Hardware Association.

To familiarise yourself with the ethos which underpins this project and how apertus° serves the wider community see our Mission Statement.

Love Linux.

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 it.

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.

“The 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, STLs, 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. It has a rich content history dating back years and all project tasks are organised and discussed here. If you have feedback or ideas then consider creating a profile.

Source Code

Access all of the project's software source code repositories and mechanical component drawings 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.

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