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The 50 Dollar Follow Focus. Thoughts?
  • This guy is currently looking to mass-produce a $50 follow-focus system. Looks like it could be a pretty good product, but how does this stack against other FF gear that's advertised on here?

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2120229387/50-dollar-follow-focus

  • 35 Replies sorted by
  • I don't think anyone will have a proper idea how it stacks up until folk have got one. I can see plenty of flaws in the design, more to do with how it operates with a host of different lenses.

    For 50 bucks though...it's possibly worth a punt. Like the $99 PV deal that we had a bit back. It's not an awesome piece of kit by any stretch of the imagination, but worth $99...you betcha!

  • I think the basic design in itself is a flaw, or at the very least a seriously under-developed decision, not to mention those ****"#")! rubber bands.

  • They reached their goal of $10,000+ in one day. Was at $460 when I checked this morning, crazy. Anyways, I put in a pledge for the $60 version. If you want yours, you can still pledge at a few different levels. I'll let you guys know how it is when it comes in.

  • Just so you know, they're not rubber bands at all. Not in any way elastic. They're kevlar-reinforced timing belts.

  • @RRRR what do you see as the design flaw.. given that this is obviously not aimed at pros...?

  • Are you the proprietor @wileydavis? If so, what's the torque like on the lens when using the follow focus? Without a locking pin DSLRs can be a bit notorious for twisting. And, the GH2 mount isn't the sturdiest of chaps either. I was wondering if it exhibits any horizontal dragging in-frame.

  • @Wiley really nice work (caveat being not ever having had one in my hands :))! think i may jump on board...

  • Damn, for $50 even if it doesn't work right, I'll make it work!

  • @bostonmike I'll say. I just upgraded my pledge to the $75 banger since it's only $15 more than the $60. Plus there's more flexibility with having both the standard and larger band and pulley.

  • This would be a great device to use for Zoom, but as Follow Focus I don't think it offers the feeling of real follow focus unit with wheel ...

  • Kevlar reinforced timing belts.. yeah.. Whatever, I've used such belts (on far more expensive equipment) and It is no fun.

    Feha has a good point. This solution might work for a zoom (still, proper gears are proper gears), but for focussing - Id rather keep my 50 bucks and focus with the lens only. Or spend more and get a FF that I know won't start skidding randomly / I have to set up again every 5 minutes / or curse at when there are problems with a certain lens. A possible development of such a design might be to implement gears, make it even slimmer - and find some kind of gear / spring solution for the crank (pull - adjust) and have it stick out from the end rather than directly out (making it rotatable for more than 180 degrees.) Make it more like a whip, flexible - so that it can be both pulled away from the camera as well as be used aligned with the lens.

    Obviously it would not cost 50 bucks any more, but then again – for me it might make it more wortwhile.

    Well, obviously these are comments made on the fly - I have not tried the product so this is just how I imagine it based on my own experiences.

    As a side note, if it, for some reason is absolutely necessary to have the belts - then I would like to see a solution from such a focus unit that it does not move vertically - rather it should have two attach points to the rig and be adjustable horizontally - in a way that it is easy to put some tension on it before securing it with the thumbscrew.

  • Hm, as far as I can tell judging from the pictures, there’s no gearbox. Would the travel of the handle even be enough to cover the full throw of manual focus lenses (which is often as great as 270º)?

  • all I have to say is that us using cinem glass and long throw lenses, would never be able to use this, since your limited to the distance of the throw. not only that, but on lenses like the one they show in the picture(canon 50mm) when you pass the furthest focus point the focus gear continues to spin, changing the distance it takes to get it either back to close focus or infinity, this thing will be a pain in the ass without hard stops when using it on AF DSLR lenses

  • Obviously this follow focus is not going to obsolete a regular follow focus. It has its place, though. I have been using it on a regular basis to shoot interviews on a GH2. I use it primarily with a Nikon 50mm at low apertures and for that it works well. The GH2 does need to be locked down fairly tight or it can spin. It's not for everybody or for all situations. But it is affordable and it is, for me at least, more convenient and smooth than focusing with the ring directly.

  • It seems to me that the placement of the lever would make it very hard to keep shots stable. You're pressing up or down on one side.

    On the other hand, the follow-focus units which are controlled by a knob that rotates forward and back? That could be stable even with handheld shots.

    If this guy could develop a cheap option for a knob rather than a lever, I'd be very interested.

  • This looks like a good start to add a stepper motor or servo and control remotely.

  • @disneytoy this is a good observation... Put a constant rotation servo on that and you got your self a remote ff :)

  • I just received a confirmation e-mail that states they have created a gear version for this follow focus. They simply ask that you add 10 dollars to your pledge and you'll receive both the pulley and the gear versions. So effectively, a 60 dollar follow focus system (not bad).

    Here's the e-mail:

    Project Update #4: Gear Adapter and FDFF Progress Posted by Wiley Davis Hello all,

    First, let me say how Amazed I've been by your response to this project. It makes me very excited about the future of cinema and video story-telling in general to see how much interest is out there for filmmaking tools. So thank you all for backing us.

    As you might have noticed, the goal has been far surpassed. I wanted to let you all know that in spite of the fact that we'll be making a lot more FDFFs than anticipated, we're still on track to begin shipping in March. And you should also know that all of the machining, assembly, and shipping is going to be done right here in Bozeman, Montana.

    As mentioned in emails and comments, we will be sending out a survey once the project ends on the 13th of this month, where we'll collect things like shipping addresses and color choices.

    And lastly, we now have a gear adapter ready as well. It's a standard 32 pitch (.8 mod) gear that replaces the belt pulley, allowing you to use the FDFF with geared lenses. The gear has 48 teeth and will work with any industry-standard 32 pitch lens gear. If you want one, just add $10 to your pledge and indicate in the survey we'll be sending out that you want the gear adapter as well. In order to work, the gear adapter requires a maximum distance of 2.7 inches between the centerline of your rail, and the gear on the lens. Less than 2.7" is fine, but more than that and the teeth won't mesh. For those who order it, the gear adapter will be included along with the standard belts and pulleys, so you'll be able to make the FDFF work with geared and non-geared lenses. The gear adapter does not include the lens gear, you'll need to have that already, or order one such as this: http://bit.ly/wLEhxf

    So that's it for now. Again, thank you all. I'm looking forward to getting the FDFF into your hands and on your cameras.

    Cheers,

    Wiley

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  • Some news about this?

  • Ha! was just looking into this myself today, wondering what happened.

    From the Kickstarter page, it looks like they began shipping the FF on April 9th. I imagine the first reviews will start appearing quite soon.

    They aren't accepting more orders at this stage, but on their website you can sign up to be put on a waiting list. I did this today, in anticipation (hope) of good reviews soon!

  • I should be getting mine in the coming weeks...production delays were inevitable. Should've opted for the all black version, since those shipped first! Who'd knew..

  • Just received mine today. I had to really tighten it onto my rods to get it to stay put!

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  • @fosterchen that is such a tease of a posting! give us a bit more to go on?!!

  • I'm planning to do a complete post once I have all the pieces together. The last piece of gear coming....the gini rig