ZERØ OPTIK – A Proper Cinematic Pinhole Lens

The concept of a pinhole lens is nothing new. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, dating back several centuries. The technique and manufacturing practices have obviously been refined since the days of Aristotle. These days you can find a plethora of pinhole products – from garage entrepreneurs making pinhole lenses out of body caps for DSLRs, to boutique manufacturers like Holga. But there’s finally an option worthy of the motion picture industry and it’s demanding production environments.


ZERØ OPTIK is a small operation that has designed and manufactured a pinhole lens for PL mount motion picture cameras. It’s not just any pinhole lens. It’s quite possibly the best pinhole lens you’ve ever seen. Made from 7075 Aluminum Alloy, anodized black, and 316 Stainless Steel for the PL mount, the ZERØ OPTIK Pinhole lens features interchangeable apertures in 100, 200, and 400 micron varieties. By the numbers, that’s an aperture of f/350, f/175, and f/87.5 respectively. For a bit of perspective here, a properly exposed image with an aperture of f/2.8 and 1/60th of a second would take approximately 4 minutes with an aperture of f/350. As you can imagine, that’s one hell of an exposure. But with today’s brilliant high ISO cameras, that shutter can be set to something much more reasonable by cranking your ISO up.

“We have combined the smooth, impressionistic imagery of pinhole photography with the robust and precise construction that film crews expect of their equipment.” said Alex Nelson, the designer and founder of ZERØ OPTIK. The actual pinholes are made from stainless steel with a thickness of about 0.0005″. If you want to modify your image at all, the lens has an 86mm filter thread at the front. One of the more clever features of the lens is the interchangeable pinholes. There’s no fiddling about with tools or adjustments. The pinholes themselves are held in with simple array of spring loaded ball bearings. Simply snag the pinhole you want and snap it in.

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There are a few additional talking points such as the coverage and depth of field. Both practically infinite. As it is with pinhole lenses, the image circle is limited only by resolution and light falloff. So don’t worry about covering your 8K Weapon or larger. As for focus. Obviously there’s no focus barrel on the lens – depth of field is practically infinite even at the widest pinhole inserted, f/87.5. Optics (or in this case, lack thereof) are fun! What good is all of this without some sample footage. Behold!

The ZERØ OPTIK Pinhole Lens will begin shipping late April and can be had for $1,500. Pre-Order yours directly from Duclos Lenses today!


3 thoughts on “ZERØ OPTIK – A Proper Cinematic Pinhole Lens

  1. Is this ‘lens’ constructed in such a way that the mount can mount can be changed to EF?

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