Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Zooming in on a Follow Focus

Cinefocus R2
I've got several nice camera's, a beautiful Gini rig, a Lilliput monitor, a sleek set of lenses... so what's missing? A follow focus system. I love the touchscreen focus feature on my GH2 in combination with the pancake 20mm 1.7 but that's not going to work with my old prime Carl Zeiss and Meijer-Optik lenses.
My lenses have fixed gear rings so I could focus manually, I mean literally, by getting my right hand to the lens but I just don't see that happening smoothly. Try to keep a relatively heavy rig balanced with one arm while turning the focusring... nah, I don't think so. And even the follow focus is not going to solve the problem of having to let go of one handgrip. But it will be easier to access and make fine focusing a breeze.

A FF is really the missing link in my otherwise complete rig-setup. (well, I could use a videomic and a full HD portable monitor, but aside from that...) But I have had a hard time accepting to lay down 1000+ euro's for a relatively simple device. But there's always cheap. India produces very cheap FF but the general consensus is to stay away from them.

I've been doing some research and I've been recommended a very good FF that is supposed to handle superbly and be of comparable quality as the expensive guys. The damages are acceptable: around 400,- euro's for the Cinefocus R2 from an English company called Shoot35.

But I could go -relatively- cheap. The DFocusV3 for around 170,- It's American made and its DFocusV2 was favorably reviewed by the honorable Philip Bloom- considering the price. And since they moved up to V3, it should be an even better deal.


It all comes down to this question: how often will I be using this thing? I shoot around once a week for assignments and most of my work is still done on the EX1. I have read of people 'banging their equipment around'; well, that's something I don't do. So do I need a tough, all-metal construction or will the lightweight DFocusV3 suit me fine? I'll keep you posted.

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