VizTools HandiZoom ENG Style for DSLR

Thanks to LJ for pointing this interesting little product that brings ENG style zooming to standard DSLR lenses. Most people might be familiar with these controls from consumer camcorders, but for some high end ENG video cameras, you can purchase various focal length lenses that come with built in zoom controls (as seen here).

Viztool Handizoom

Looks like it connects via USB to control some of the Canon functions like start / stop video recording, and zoom in/out to magnify the video. These are the same functions already found in those USB Follow Focus devices (as seen here on eBay). No word on pricing and availability yet. The finish of the product in the video looks like an early prototype. I can see benefits to having smooth zooms, but price will determine if it's a Go or No-Go. [Thanks LJ]


29 thoughts on “VizTools HandiZoom ENG Style for DSLR

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  2. Phil

    The main problem with this will be that a lot of Canon slr zooms lose/gain up to 2/3 of a stop when you fully zoom in and out, so exposure will suffer badly from one end of the zoom range to the other.

    If you have a parfocal lens you can zoom in, get focus then zoom out and repeat to get the shot you need. Would work fine.


  3. jhog

    @Ben, Yeah, I have a couple of old 35mm lenses that almost maintain critical focus. There's some 16mm long lenses this thing might for, I'm not sure the gear would make it to the lens though. What irks me is this company plays it off like it's gonna be the answer to to your zooming dreams. Anyone who shoots DSLR for a living knows your DSLR zoom lenses ain't gonna work for zooming shots but apparently pointing this out is highly offensive. Nice skate shots, I used to go out north west every summer to road trip skate parks, love those parks!

  4. jhog

    @M, my only purpose here is to raise a serious and real issue with this thing. IMO, this product, like so many other DSLR products, is a gimmick, people are trying to cash in on all the wannabe Cecile B Demilles out there and I have no doubt people will buy it regardless. Sure get the thing, find out that your shots are frequently soft, attempt to synch zooming and rolling the focus wheel to frustrating ends. Or, just spend your money on a video camera like the one used to shoot that commercial. Why would I put this toy on a 5Diii with L glass? RED, DSLR, F3, Phantom, 16mm, 35mm, GoPro, Hi-8, etc... they're just tools all used by "professionals", relax.

    Oh BTW, check this out.

  5. "this product is not for professional use" if this device does not meet your requirements, why are you using a DSLR and not a RED? To say that something is not "professional" is nuts, all still lenses are not "professional" cine gear, yet highly creative and competent cinematographers use them every day. Perhaps its the operator who needs to be "professional" and not the gear.

  6. Darius

    I do have to wonder now how well this would hold up on a stiffer zoom, like a Tamron 17-50. I would think you could burn out a motor on one of those.

  7. Dollar Bob

    @ jhog, critical focus could be maintained by moving both rings simultaneously, albeit at different rates. With the appropriate electronics and gears, the zoom-to-focus relationship could be registered for each lens by the end user, saved into memory, then recalled each time a lens is swapped.

    It doesn't have to be done that way, but I'm just throwing that out there as a possibility. The point is, we don't know what he's done so nobody here can say critical focus hasn't been addressed. And only those with a lack of imagination would say it's not possible.

    That said, the Fujinon lens does look more sophisticated and might be a better bet. But again, without seeing this HandiZoom thing (and that Fujinon Cabrio lens) we can't say for sure.

  8. jhog

    @ Dollar Bob, It's not an assumption. It's well known that DSLR still lenses don't maintain critical focus through the zoom range. Cine zoom lenses and ENG Fujinon type lenses are completely different animals than photography still lenses.

    You can discover this yourself by simply digitally zooming in to X5 with your Canon DSLR in video mode with a photo still zoom lens attached. Set your aperture to it's widest setting, adjust shutter speed for exposure. Now set your focus on something, now turn the zoom ring and you'll see your subject go out of focus.

    Regular video cameras, cine zooms, and ENG cameras don't have this issue, still lenses were not designed for this. In fact, folks who work with ENG type cameras in live settings will attain critical focus by zooming in, focusing and then pulling out to recompose the frame, you can't do that with a still lens.

    This product is not for professional use.
    But this one is:

  9. Darius

    This is absolutely where my money will be going...if the price is right. What an excellent revision of eng technology, and looks like it wouldn't have any issue being used in conjunction with a shoulder rig and follow focus. In fact I could lose the front handles and gain stability and the ability to pull focus and zoom at the same time.

    If this catches on I could see them building remote units/attachments that could be placed on fluid head arms like a more traditional setup. Very cool and bridging a lot of gaps here.

  10. JSS

    I've been looking for a shooting solution like this but it does seem a little chunky. Without another contact point (like a shoulder rest) your arms wouldn't last too long. Here's another guys solution for ENG type shooting:

    And there is also edelkrone's handstrap minus the controls:

    I like the shooting style being an ENG guy but but I don't think there are any good affordable solutions for DSLR users yet...

  11. Emm

    Post author

    @Rabi - Correct, it is not a USB follow focus, but it connects to USB to control some functions 'like' the USB follow focuses including start / stop video, and to magnify the video for focus.

  12. amweber21

    I think, other then with nice long lenses, you would have a hard time using any sort of matte box with this. Hopefully it can be placed further back, but we will see. Other then that, I love the idea.

  13. Tom

    @Habez - if you look at the video, you can see that there is a "gear" attached to the lens that the unit connects with.

  14. Dollar Bob

    That it doesn't maintain focus is a bit of an assumption. Maybe it doesn't, maybe it does. Seems a bit early to condemn it for specs you're just imagining. Even if it doesn't now, will it have a software upgrade path to do it in the future?

    Good grief, what a bunch of negative Nancies.

  15. jhog

    I agree with Greg, DSLR still photography lenses can't maintain critical focus through the zoom range. You'll be chasing focus constantly while you zoom in and out.

  16. Ryan

    At first glance I LOVE THIS CONCEPT!!! I'm gonna look into this more. I always wanted a solution that felt like the video camera feel as I;m so used to that from an ergonomic standpoint.

  17. Habez

    whoa. interesting shizz, emm. Wonder if there are any 'gears' involved in wrapping your lens in one again. For obvious reasons they should have (lol).

    Also wonder if it'll work on lenses that place their zoom rings in different areas.. HMM...

    But interesting nevertheless! Would love this on my 17-55 canon 😀

  18. Looks good, I miss the zoom controls from the big ENG cameras. Like you said Emm, price will be a major factor in the success of this.

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