Thanks to a tip from Jarrod, here's a look at a very inexpensive DSLR Follow focus with universal lens gear. The R.J. Follow Focus states that it's made mostly out of Aluminum with a reversible gear to be used both left and right handed. There's a large marking disc area and standard knob to accept an external 'whip' if you decide to get one in the future. The gear sits low, so if you're using a small lens and a battery grip, you may have some trouble getting the FF to mate to the lens gear. The last question would be how much 'play' the follow focus has in the gear box, but at this price it can't be all bad.
Like most follow focus systems, this one will require a set of 15mm rods to mount. If you don't have a set you're best bet is to take advantage of those Gini auctions. What you're looking for is a rig that has at least the DSLR base mount and two rails.
Hangrip teased us with a new Falcon Follow Focus about a month ago, and it's finally available. For those of you across the pond, that might have already received it, give us the good word. The initial price is still a couple of hundred dollars, but it actually makes it one of the more affordable FF systems. The position of the gear is much better placed than 'cheaper FF's', as it can adapt to many different size lenses without having to deal with 'risers'. That's a huge problem with FF's that have the gears sitting too close to the rails.
Modern aesthetic design
Lightweight composite material
5 ball bearings
Reversible drive gear
Snap in 3D marking disc
Movable marking indicator
Advanced lens gear
Package includes: Follow focus unit and one Loop lens gear.
The new Falcon Follow Focus looks pretty large and in charge from the video above, but we'll soon see how it will hold up to it's competitors within that price range. Though the suggested retail price is set, eBay auctions right now are being offered at a discounted starting price found below:
Wondlan's earliest DSLR products were pretty blah, but when they started pushing out their 'sniper' or 'target shooter' type rigs, they started making a bit of noise in the scene. My guess is they are doing pretty well since they are now expanding their lineup of previously only small parts. In 2011, here's one of their latest Full Shoulder rigs. Yes, everything you see above (except camera & battery pack) is part of the package including shoulder pad, extended handles, matte box, battery mount, top handle, LCD Monitor, and follow focus w/ whip. I personally don't think it's very aesthetically appealing in turquoise/silver, but Wondlan's new rigs are often being compared to Gini's quality. Current price not so exciting...
Another new product for Wondlan is their 'Leopard Vest system' (happy it's not in actual leopard print). The cheapest off the shelf vest systems still run over $1200, but are pretty much crap. If Wondlan's latest vest system is anything like their shoulder rig quality, the price doesn't seem too overkill.
It almost comes close to the total price of my Hybrid system using a Steadicam Vest & Glidecam HD4000. Wondlan's Leopard Vest system is spec'd out to handle 10 pound loads, comes with a Monitor and Matte Box (most likely does not come with a V mount battery). It will probably be a while before we see any video reviews on this, but if you happen to run into something, leave them in the comments.
Olivia gets a a run through with the newest D-Focus Follow Focus Version 3 and a sneak peek on the newly announced D-Matte DSLR Matte box that will be available from Jag35. Standard 4x4 filters will be accepted on this two stage system. One holder can rotate for Circular Polarizer use.
Then again in the most simplest term, a Matte Box helps hold filters, and also aids in shading the glass. It is possible to get the same effect using Cokin P Series filters. These are inexpensive ways to get ND filters, gradient filters, and other creative filters in front of your lenses. Found below.
What's up with Tilta? I've seen a few of their small DSLR rig parts before, but it looks like they are slowly expanding on gear. Bruce pointed out today about their Follow Focus kit which includes two different gears, a set of base rails to mount, a dslr stage with battery door access, and a unique 'quick dock' solution to remove the entire system from a tripod or rig. I don't see a way to reverse the gears or adjustments for lash and tension, but it does have it's simple appeal. Anyone got more insight on these Tilta DSLR Rigs? They've even got a full Shoulder rig with half cage and Matte Box as well, but a bit too pricey for my taste...
Jehu from Jag35 talks to Olivia and shows off their new Wireless Follow Focus system balanced on a Steadicam Merlin along with a Hacked Asus WiCast to send video to the focus puller. Jag35 has different version motors available depending on how much torque you need for the lenses you'll be using, giving you more affordable options. If you don't require a Wireless system, the same motors work with a tethered remote which they showed us on a seperate shoulder rig. After handling the units at NAB, they are very responsive, quick, and accurate for a Follow Focus on a budget. Gotta get me one of these. More information found below.
Wow, the store front really expanded for this tiny eBay seller. I've had my eye on them for a while now as they had a few interesting items. Today they just really loaded up with a bunch of new items. Two of them are some serious clones. First most interesting item is the 'mysterious' clone of a Cinevate Carbon system. I posted the article here: http://cheesycam.com/indias-got-a-carbon-camera-dolly/ and not more than a few hours later, they removed all postings. Looks like 'The Man' got to them. Well it's back so we'll see how long it can stay online this time around (i'm betting the Man will shut them down after this post)
Second on the list. Well well well..here's a Clone after my own design, another SpiderTrax dolly. This one doesn't look very good and shipping makes it more expensive than the Konova clone. Konova's design seems to be more polished, and this one looks exactly like another home made overpriced knock-off. Yeah get yourself a Konova dolly if you really need one.
Third up, this one goes out to the boys in Blue. It's been said that the Blue accented Follow Focus was based on a Huco gearbox, and so is this one. This DSLR Follow Focus clone for standard Rail mounts come with flex gear, speed crank, whip, yadda yadda yadda. You can get more info via the links. At this price, you might still be better off going with ikan's latest Follow Focus system.
Moving focus from point A to point B perfectly is a trick. A follow focus system with marking disc will help you pinpoint that, but then the dollars start adding up. The old Hose Clamp with a Bolt trick is the dirt cheap way to move a lens, but never seemed like a perfect solution.
How about adding that idea to a rig with hard stops? Here's an interesting rig someone is selling online with a DIY take on getting perfect focus points dialed in for that shot. Not a bad price online either, but a pretty cool idea which i'm sure someone else out there will be able to work with. This throws in some new ideas for that DIY follow focus you've been working on, doesn't it?
Jag35 is up to something new and affordable. They are currently showing off their upcoming EFF - Electronic Follow Focus system. I have to admit, I can't say i've ever seen an Electronic Follow Focus being sold at this price, in fact the price is cheap compared to just about any follow focus system.
It's definitely a nice video demo showcasing both Zoom and Focus rings being adjusted simultaneously on a Canon 24-70mm F/2.8, but i'm interested in seeing more of it in use on an actual shoot. From the first video it's also something that comes with lots of noise, so be aware of when you might be able to use something like this. We'll see more when it's officially released in February, but there is a very very limited amount of Jag35 Electronic Follow Focus systems being offered right now for any early birds...