For most video shooters, one of the first creative prime lenses to dive into would be a 50mm. It offers nice framing, good focal distance (not too wide not too far), and typically these lenses are accompanied by a a wide aperture for that super shallow DOF 'depth of field' look.
The 50mm T1.5 AS UMC Cine Lens from Samyang is a fast manual focus prime lens. It provides a maximum aperture of T1.5 for effective low light capture and shallow depth of field control and an 8 blade iris for attractive bokeh. Optimized for cinema and video applications, the focus and aperture control rings are outfitted with industry standard gearing, which provides an interface for working with a traditional follow focus. The aperture control ring has also been de-clicked, which enables smooth iris pulls. In addition, bright aperture and distance markings are printed on the lens barrel facing laterally to facilitate easier control by a focus puller.
Tommy Williamson had problems getting his D|Gear Universal Lens Gear to stay on the Canon 50mm F/1.8 lens. Who wouldn't? That focus ring is pretty slim. His solution was to dip the tips of the spokes in Plasti-Dip (normally used to coat the handles of tools). The Plasti-Dip is some very durable stuff, and comes in a variety of colors. [Thanks Tommy] The Black on Black looks invisible and keeps the unit looking the same. If you ask me, this should be something offered coming right from the factory. Pretty simple idea, but seems to make a world of difference to prevent the spokes from slipping out.
Varavon sent out a few units of their latest product - the 'Varavon Sling'. The Varavon Sling is a Focus Zoom Lever, and we decided to try them out for one of our shoots. We weren't doing a lot of tracking on this set, and It's not a required piece of gear for everyone, but the guys on set found it useful. It's a similar idea to the DIY Focus Lever using a silicon kitchen jar opener, but the Sling has a firm plastic handle and fairly long adjustable band to fit almost any lens. Beats setting up a rail system, follow focus, and lens gears when trying to knock out something quick. Check out the Varavon Sling via Vifocam.com
Anyone got input on the new FilmCity X1 Follow Focus? It's another budget follow focus starting around only $90 bucks. The X1 mounts to standard 15mm rails, includes a lens gear and whip, looks to be reversible, and also looks like the indicator can be adjusted (not sure). Claims to be an all metal build (except for marking disc and knob). What's up with the blue accent colors? eBay has got all the details and other images (click here).