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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old March 31st, 2011, 09:51 AM   #1
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Follow focus alternatives

Hey all, I was wondering if anyone had links to follow focus alternatives.

In particular, I was thinking about something I saw on an unpacking a T2i video I saw last year. The guy had attached long knob-like thingies to the focus wheel, which seemed ideal for run-and-gun style focusing.

But any ideas would be greatly appreciated...
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Old April 2nd, 2011, 07:19 PM   #2
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Re: Follow focus alternatives

I've been messing around with several possibilities, but this one seems like the easiest:
YouTube - $1 Dollar DIY Follow Focus Project!! VERY COOL!

Works well and def follows the K.I.S.S. principle...
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Old April 3rd, 2011, 11:04 PM   #3
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Re: Follow focus alternatives

john, far from a follow focus. Thats more a rack focus device that you use on a tripod.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 03:07 AM   #4
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Re: Follow focus alternatives

Well, to be fair, I only call it an alternative to a follow focus....

And other than structure/form, it does exactly what gear FFs do - mechanically enhance an operator's ability to hit certain focal points quickly and accurately.

All for $1.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 05:02 PM   #5
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Re: Follow focus alternatives

Agreed. I use my pipe-clamp FF for handheld shots all the time. While it may not have the features of a full-blown FF, the price is sure right.

Next up, I'm going to try to build a skateboard wheel FF.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 07:01 PM   #6
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Re: Follow focus alternatives

Tried that option. Worked well enough (I used a wheel I bought at Harbor Freight Tools), but because it's a friction system, it had the annoying habit of pushing the entire camera to the side. You ready had to bolt the camera down to make it work.

And it's a wee bit sensitive - the wheel has to be just right for to work well. But it can work well, and may be an option for you.

One other note, the $1 FF works on a variety of lenses. I found that the wheel FF had to be significantly altered from lens to lens - one of the main reasons I gave it up.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 07:43 PM   #7
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Re: Follow focus alternatives

Thanks, John. It's good to know the limitations and potential pitfalls before digging into a DIY project. The lens I really want a smoother FF (than the pipe clamp one) is my EF 85/1.8. Maybe by designing a DIY FF around a single lens, I'll have fewer frustrations.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 10:31 PM   #8
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Re: Follow focus alternatives

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Vincent View Post
Well, to be fair, I only call it an alternative to a follow focus....

And other than structure/form, it does exactly what gear FFs do - mechanically enhance an operator's ability to hit certain focal points quickly and accurately.

All for $1.
Sorry, I'm just so lost in manual pentax lens world that I am only used to a focus ring which has a LOT more travel than the new autofocus lenses have. This idea wouldn't work on the oldies I use.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 10:47 PM   #9
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Re: Follow focus alternatives

Ah, no worries! I'll try to get up some pics of both solutions. And Brian, far as the wheel FF goes, it'd tough to to get it to work quickly with multiple lenses. Sensitive, as each point of friction on the wheel will be different from lens to lens, not to mention all the tension you must have between the focus ring of the lens and wheel.

Do you use a rail system?
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Old April 4th, 2011, 11:05 PM   #10
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Re: Follow focus alternatives

John, I have a "rail system", I would call it. Totally DIY, and built around a router fence. It's the 3" Multi-Track from Rockler. Multi Track for Jigs and Custom Fences - Rockler Woodworking Tools Hard to beat a $35 rail system. It's a solid hunk of aluminum, and very strong. Since it takes all kinds of 1/4" bolts, t-bolts, and t-nuts, I can mount anything to it. My 7" field monitor and Manfrotto slide plate are attached to it all the time, and sometimes my Tascam DR-100. Goes from the tripod to a my DIY shoulder rig (a shelf bracket, some aluminum bar stock, and a dumbbell counter-weight) in just a few seconds.

Shouldn't be much too trouble to home-brew an FF and mount it up, even if I need a different wheel for each lens.

Luke, you're correct, I tried the pipe-clamp FF with my little MF Pentax 50/f2 and it goes MOST of the way around the lens. Gotta love some of those Pentax MF lenses. I have a 135/2.5 Takumar that I'm trying to find something to shoot with it. I don't think it's got the contrast of my Canon EF 85/1.8... but I sure didn't have to drop a lot for it.
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Old April 4th, 2011, 11:12 PM   #11
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Re: Follow focus alternatives

Brian, the SMC 135 2.5 (non bayonet version) is the lense to be desired in that focal length. Quite sharp even wide open but runs around $150-200 since the hdslr pentax push took effect a year or so ago.

The SMC 135 f3/5 can be had for FAR less and is also quite sharp but you obviously loose the coveted lens speed
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Old April 4th, 2011, 11:24 PM   #12
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Re: Follow focus alternatives

Thanks, Luke. I'll keep an eye out for it. I got the Takumar (bayonet) 135/2.5 for around $80, but the SMC sounds like the one to get. I'm also told that the Super Tak 50/1.4 is a gem. The little 50/2 I got for free, and it's very passable wide-open. The first two head shots of this video were shot with it, wide-open, and looks pretty darn good. YouTube - Dancing with the Boulder Stars MUST STOP

LOVE pulling focus with old manual glass. Like "buttah".
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Old April 5th, 2011, 08:27 AM   #13
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Re: Follow focus alternatives

The super Tak 50 1.4 is favored by many but not for its sharpness. It has the radioactive lens coating normally associated with the super Taks and wide open give you a weird dreamy effect. Many describe it as a soft yet sharp picture if that makes sense. I tried it and wasn't a fan. Might be nice for certain wedding shots. The real diamond in the rough when it comes to Manual Pentax 50's is the SMC Pentax-m or Pentax-A (which I have) 50mm f1.4 which I paid $150 for a mint mint copy. There is a consant argument whether the smc 1.7 or 1.4 is sharper, but its so close I opted for the extra half stop of light. I can post some sample pics wide open if you like.

I also have a copy of the smc pentax-m f2.0 and haven't touched it since I got the 1.4. If I had $500 plus to blow I would be using the f1.2 but thats just a dream lens
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Old April 5th, 2011, 09:16 AM   #14
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Re: Follow focus alternatives

Thanks, Luke. Sure, I'd love to see some pics of it, wide open. Or if you have video, that'd be even better. I only seem to use the manual glass for video (and that's what pays the bills for me).

Do you have a recommend on something wide and fast in a vintage lens? I picked-up a Kiron 28/2, but I'm not pleased with it. I have a modern Tamron 17-50/2.8 IS, and it's fairly sharp, but it's a beast of a lens when I just want a light "walkabout" day.
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Old April 5th, 2011, 12:00 PM   #15
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Re: Follow focus alternatives

Brian, I also have the Tamron 17-50 2.8 IS/VR which is my only zoom currently (planning to have a 70-200 2.8 soon). It's a great lens, VR is noisey but thats my only complaint. I heard the pentax 24mm 2.8 is a decent lense but nothing to write home about. I'm going to stick with my Tamron.
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