Tag Archives: wireless follow focus

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Aputure has released several versions of their DEC Lens Adapters, but in case you're not familiar with what they are and how they work, i've put together this Product Overview video. This video specifically focuses on the brand new DEC Vari-ND Model (available in MFT and E-Mount), but is very similar to the other models - especially the LensRegain version which is a Focal Reducer (a.k.a Speed Booster) Lens adapter.


Who's it For?
The way the product DEC Lens Adapters are designed, I think primarily it should really appeal to camera operators that need the ability to adjust focus with a wireless remote. Obviously it's not at the level of a professional Wireless Follow Focus system, but it at least offers decent focus controls at a minimal cost in an incredibly compact form. Even cheap wireless follow focus systems can still run well over $1200 dollars and require additional rods to mount, and additional power to run the focus motors.

The wireless remote and clamp can be attached as a handle to your gimbal, on a Steadicam, end of a Jib, or even to just the Pan Handle of your Tripod. Additional features such as iris adjustment on your Canon EF (or compatible) lenses can be handy when you are transitioning a camera movement from indoors to outdoors, or to just change your DOF. But now with the new Vari-ND version (electronic variable ND Filter) you have another dimension in which you can control your exposure and all through a wireless remote.

About the Vari-ND Filter
Traditional Variable ND Filters placed on the front lenses use two rotating pieces of glass that cancel out light as you rotate. While this is simple and effective, there are some drawbacks to how much variation you can have, how much color shift happens, and most importantly how much softness occurs because of how the two additional pieces of glass affect the incoming light (image).

The ND Filter inside of the DEC Vari-ND Lens Adapter is NOT using two pieces of polarizing glass. and is instead using a single sheet of glass (with liquid crystals) and uses electricity to adjust and vary the amount of ND. This is similar to the technology found in the new Sony FS5 camera. Aputure also claims that there are no color shifts happening during the process of varying the amount of ND applied.

At the minimum ND8 you're looking at about 3 Stops of ND Applied. The darkest ND applied on the Vari-ND is about 11 stops. ND8 (3 Stops) is pretty dark and something you won't be using indoors. Outdoors, you'll find the the Vari-ND useful especially when shooting at F/2.8 or wider. You'll notice in my video test there are steps between what i'm actually calling out (stops between ND8 and ND16, etc). Aputure claims they may be able to add a firmware update that allows smooth ND transitions instead of the stepping it has now (similar to how the Sony FS5 operates).

Summary
The line of Aputure DEC Lens Adapters are certainly very unique and offers features in a form factor and price that can't be found in any other tool. You can visit their website for additional information about the complete line of Aputure DEC Lens Adapters (found here).

aputure dec vari-nd lens adapter lensregain
check latest pricing Aputure DEC - Lens Adapter + Vari-ND + Lens Regain

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I'm prepping for my trip to NAB, but I thought I could squeeze in this quick test of the new Aputure DEC LensRegain vs the Metabones Speedbooster S Version. Both of these adapters offer a wider field of view when used with smaller sensor cameras (i.e. Micro Four-Thirds cameras or Sony E-Mount). Since they concentrate more light to your sensor, all of your lenses will end up having faster apertures as well. For instance my Canon EF 100mm F/2.8L Macro shows as an F/2.0 when using the DEC LensRegain.

The test was using a GH4 and an 85mm XEEN Cinema Prime shot in 4K. As you can see the Metabones Speedbooster 'S' Version achieves a wider field of view over the DEC LensRegain. But the adapter is about $650 US Dollars (here). I'm not exactly sure, but the Aputure DEC LensRegain may list for around $500.

metabones_mb_spef_m43_bt4_canon_ef_micro_4_3_t_1438014030000_1158844
Learn-More-sm Metabones Speedbooster S Version EF - M43 Lens Adapter

Besides the slight difference in field of view, the Aputure DEC LensRegain in my opinion performed very well. Lines look straight, image seemed sharp from middle to corners. There's a good number of cheap focal reducers on the market that can't seem to get the optics right. I can't say it's any better than the Metabones Speedbooster S Version, but I can say that the DEC LensRegain performed far better than some cheap adapters i've tried.

And while certainly cheaper than a Metabones adapter, it does have a trick up it's sleeve. The DEC LensRegain is actually a wireless follow focus system for Canon EF Lenses too. And If you've never heard about the DEC Lens Adapters, take a look at this video I made from the original (non focal reducer) version.

After using it for a while (and after the NABShow) i'll do an official review of the DEC LensRegain, but if this was something you were already looking for and were just waiting for some samples, I can say the optics itself look really good.

aputure dec lens regain
Learn-More-sm Aputure DEC Lens Adapter LensRegain Focal Reducer + Wireless Follow Focus

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A few months ago, Aputure released the 'DEC' Lens Adapter, which is putting a new spin on Wireless Follow Focus systems. If you're not familiar with what the Aputure DEC Lens Adapter is, take a look at my earlier video below. If you are already familiar, then skip this first video.

The DEC allows you to use a Canon EF or EF-S Autofocus lens and adapt it to a MFT (micro four-thirds) or Sony E-Mount camera. Although the camera itself can't communicate with the lens, a wireless remote will allow you to change iris (aperture) and drive focus.

This is extremely useful when working with Gimbal stabilizers when you can't physically pull focus on the lens by hand. Just clamp the wireless remote to the handle of your gimbal. The exciting news demonstrated for us at NAB 2015 is that they will have a 'DEC PRO' version which will include a 'Focal Reducer' a.k.a 'Speedbooster' optical element offering up a wider field of view and an extra stop.

The DEC PRO version will hopefully be out later this year and will be a huge asset to small sensor cameras like the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema or Micro Cinema cameras. For cameras like the the Sony A7s which already offers a full frame the speedbooster is not required.

With lens adapters, being able to change the iris on EF autofocus lenses are key. For a price even cheaper than Metabones smart adapters, there's a lot of functionality in the Aputure DEC and you can already purchase the original DEC Lens Adapter for Canon EF/EF-s to MFT or Sony E-Mount following the links below.

aputure dec lens adapter canon mft e-mount wireless follow focus
find-price-button Aputure DEC Lens Adapter + Wireless Follow Focus - via Amazon

Aputure DEC Lens Adapter wireless follow focus
find-price-button Aputure DEC Lens Adapter + Wireless Follow Focus - via eBay

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So yesterday I spent a little time testing the Aputure DEC Remote Wireless Follow Focus Canon EF Lens Adapter. Keep in mind that all of the units that other reviewers have (including mine) are just prototypes. So everything that you see could change when they go to final production.

As mentioned in my earlier article, the prototypes available today can attach a Canon EF (autofocus) Lens to a Sony E-Mount or Micro Four Thirds (MFT) Camera and allow you to change aperture values and remotely change focus via a wireless remote. Here's a little video showing the Sony E-Mount DEC Adapter in use.

Since the Aputure DEC Lens Adapter relies on the internal motors of the lens being used, each lens may provide a slightly different experience. Some lenses may offer a smoother transition, while others may have a more prominent stepping motion moving from one focus point to the next. During slower focus movements some lenses will have a louder 'stepping' type noise, while other lenses may be a bit more silent. This is all based on the lens, and at this time not a lot of testing has been done.

In the 'current user manual' it lists several Canon EF L Series lenses, but I decided to try a few different ones such as the Sigma, the Canon 40mm STM, and a 50mm F/1.8. All of the lenses worked flawlessly to adjust iris and I could control focus. I was a bit worried the system would be buggy using random lenses, but so far it's taken everything i've thrown at it.

canon stm 40mm lens follow focus aputure dec
Canon 40mm STM Lens Aputure DEC
Canon 40mm STM Pancake Aputure DEC Wireless Follow Focus Lens Adapter

So while this is still a prototype, so far I think the Aputure DEC is an awesome product for anyone who needs to adjust focus on an adapted Canon EF Lens in situations where you can't normally reach the focus ring. For example when mounted on a Jib/Crane, Steadicam, or even a Gimbal.

Typically on any of my stabilizers i'm settled in with a very wide lens with the aperture stopped down and everything in focus. With the Aputure DEC I would be able to use a Gimbal with a Shallow DOF and focus from an object in the foreground to possibly a distant subject in the background. The focus changes can be quick, or they can be slow.

Will this replace all Follow Focus systems? Obviously not as it only works with Canon EF (autofocus) Lenses, and not manual focus Cine Lenses. The DEC (prototype) also uses a stepping motion which dependent upon the lens may or may not be smooth. There are still a few things that I think still need to be refined and changed on the DEC prototypes, which i'll be sharing with the Aputure company. One suggestion is having a more traditional wireless follow focus remote as the current one could be tricky tracking a subject back and forth if they move quickly.

Sony A7s Shogun 4K Aputure DEC Wireless Follow Focus
Sony a7s Aputure DEC Sigma 18-35mm Atomos Shogun

Once a product like this becomes available on the market, I really think this will really impact how many consider changing focus remotely on Canon EF lenses today. It certainly opens up 'options' in the industry that were never available before. Maybe not so much Hollywood, but consider the large market of event, wedding, news, or other video shooters that don't need the precision of a high end WFF system and are shooting with Sony E-Mount and MFT cameras. Compared to other Wireless Follow Focus systems, the Aputure DEC is incredibly simple to use while offering the smallest and lightest possible footprint.

Aputure DEC Lens Adapter Canon EF Wireless Follow Focus Cheesycam
NAB2014 Aputure Announced DEC Lens Adapter Remote Follow Focus

I'm going to continue testing these DEC adapters and hopefully more focusing examples. The next one i'll set up is the MFT Mount which can Start/Stop video on cameras with a LANC connection. If you have any questions so far, leave them in the comments.

Aputure DEC Lens Adapter wireless follow focus
find-price-button Aputure DEC Lens Adapter + Wireless Follow Focus - Available NOW

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Last year NAB 2014 Aputure showed off an entirely new and innovative Wireless Remote Follow Focus system. It looks like a basic lens adapter to add a Canon EF (autofocus lens) to a Micro Four Thirds or Sony E-Mount camera, but this lens adapter has enough communication with the EF Lens that it can drive it's focus motors, change aperture, and also send back the focal distance to the wireless remote.


NAB 2014 Video

The Aputure DEC Remote can also Start / Stop video on certain cameras, and A/B focus points can be set to rack from one focus point to another. If you're familiar with traditional Wireless Follow Focus systems it typically requires a set of 15mm Rods, a Focus Motor, Lens Gears, Battery Pack, and Wireless Receiver. The Aputure DEC eliminates all of that extra gear into just a simple lens adapter which makes it perfect for small camera systems on small stabilizers (steadicams) and Gimbal Stabilizers.

It's been a year since it's been introduced, and what I thought was a lost idea is actually becoming reality. The product is still not available to purchase, but right now I have in possession a couple of prototypes to test out. I'm super excited about this, comments?

A photo posted by Emm (@mrcheesycam) on

Aputure DEC Lens Adapter wireless follow focus
find-price-button Aputure DEC Lens Adapter + Wireless Follow Focus - Available NOW

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It seem like every time I post a video stabilizer review, I often receive the same question - 'How can you adjust focus?'. Typically i'll just answer this question by replying with a text comment, but i'm sure it's still not very clear. Hopefully this article can help visualize a few ways focus can be achieved when a camera is balanced on a stabilizer, thrown on a video crane, or other device where adjusting the lens would be cumbersome or impossible.

One option to adjust focus (without physically touching the lens) can be by use of an electronic follow focus system. In the video below, Vimeo member Nicholas D shares how he's setup his camera on a SteddiePod Stabilizer with a Cinematics USB follow focus [Thanks Nick]. The USB systems will be limited, as they will only work with certain cameras (mostly Canon) and only with compatible auto focus lenses - not manual lenses.

Barber Tech SteddiePod
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Barber Tech SteddiePod
Cinematics USB Follow Focus
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Cinematics USB Follow Focus

An alternative could be to use dedicated Wired or Wireless electronic follow focus systems attached to the outside lens gear. The benefits to these systems is that they can be used with pretty much any lens that supports manual focus. The throw can be remapped for shorter or longer focus movements at the dial, and higher end systems allow to you store focus points. The full wireless systems are helpful when you need another person to manage focus so that the camera operator can move about freely.

If you plan to work with a Wireless Follow Focus, Camera Motion Research has announced the new Radian Pro kits that will send a Wireless HD Video stream via HDMI to a remote monitor. There are ways to achieve this through a DIY solution, but the Radian Pro claims to use a more commercial version transmitter / receiver that can transmit through a broader range of channels for longer distance, low latency, and clearer image. The Radian Pro is available in both a Unicast or MultiCast version (multiple video streams).

For myself, I may not use a WFF for every project, but I do use Wireless Video when operating on longer cranes/jibs or even just to share a feed for others to view (so they aren't hanging over your shoulder). Add a remote Pan/Tilt head to this combination, and you'll be able to man a camera from a distance away while focusing and zooming. Great when you have to leave a camera somewhere you can't be seen like on stage, or perhaps even at a church during a wedding, or in the middle of a racetrack.

Sorry for the lack of great examples, but hopefully this article is somewhat helpful and gives you ideas of what you can do with such tools. Remember that these are not limited to just these types of Stabilizers (a.k.a Steadicam). These are the same tools that can be used on those amazing Brushless Motor Camera Gimbal Stabilizers everyone has been recently obsessed about.

radian1rp10
find-price-button Camera Motion Research Radian Pro Wireless HD Video Kit via HDMI

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Wondlan released a new Wireless follow focus system for DSLR Video. Here you can find more photos and specific specs about the WFF for under $1600 dollars via eBay (click here). Yeah I know that's pretty expensive, but is it really a Wondlan Product? There's other sellers who offer the same unit for much cheaper.

Follow Focus Wondlan Wireless

The receiver looks quite beastly, but they state it has a range of 300 meters. The remote can start / stop video via Infrared (required for some Canon cameras) and you can also program up to 4 focus points. Asking price from the cheaper sellers still too expensive starts around $950 dollars but there isn't very many other options at this price point for video wireless follow focus systems. Find the new WFF through the eBay product page (click here).

Wondlan wireless follow focus systemwondlan follow focus
find-price-button Wondlan Wireless DSLR Video Follow Focus System

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