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Old March 19th, 2009, 04:07 PM   #1
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Best and Best Priced Follow focus

for the 5D2, I see the redrock and zacuto, are there others? which is the best priced that does the job, which is the best? and are any thoughtful enough to prepare ahead for future cameras, like a digital rebel with video? which will be smaller, or more importantly a 1ds4 variation which has built in grip so its a raised lens, or will we need to buy a new rig for a new body?

And which lenses do they handle? there is a huge difference between a 5D2 and a 35mm prime vs mounting a 70-200 2.8 in where the lens focus ring is, same for the 135 2.0, 85 1.2 vs 85 1.8, 24-70 2.8vs 24-105 4.0IS And what about the big boys, like a 200 2.0 or 300 2.8?

Thanks for any insights.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 04:41 AM   #2
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Advanced Mini Single Wheel Follow Focus for $ 600 could be quite good as it is smaller Canon 5D Marik II Accessories than others and the variable arm gives you many many mounting options...
Personally I'd like the Redrock's new FF to work with 5D but I don't know if it works. The "3D" marking disk on it is really good for one man operation. So does the Cinevate's Durus.

Check out that Cavision one, ask the manufacturer for any questions like for the slack in the gearbox etc.

5D and older small/short primes plus matte box is asking for trouble so high adjustability is a must.

Also I'd reccommend a speed crank because turning the wheel multiple turns seamlessly with one hand is simply not possible otherways except for the Durus design where you could possibly use your finger a a crank because there are holes in the wheel.

By the way there once was a standard optical path to rails centre distance of 85mm so using FF with 5D sitting straight on top of the rails is not reccommended.

Cheers,
T
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Old March 20th, 2009, 09:07 AM   #3
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Why do you feel you "Need" a follow focus?
Are you having problems focusing your lenses now?
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Old March 20th, 2009, 02:30 PM   #4
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Hi Chris,

I recently picked up a Cinevate Durus Follow Focus (Cinevate Inc.) for my 5Dmk2 and it has to be the nicest machined piece of equipment I've used in a while. It's almost completely metal and feels extremely sturdy. It's quite flexible and you would be able to use it with a 1Ds4 with the raised body because it mounts on one rail and can be used at different angles.

It comes with 3 lens gears, so you might need to order some extra depending on your collection. I use it mostly with my prime lenses because of the extra care needed in focusing.

There is a wait list for the Durus though (maybe around a month?).

Luke
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Old March 20th, 2009, 02:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
Why do you feel you "Need" a follow focus?
Are you having problems focusing your lenses now?
A follow focus is needed when you need to adjust framing and focus at the same time. The camera operator does the framing while an assistant follows the focus. Also, the assistant uses marks on the white wheel that were put there during the setup and doesn't look at any monitor.

Imagine someone walking down the street at an angle to you. You need to pan the camera and change focus at the same time. It would be nearly impossible to do with one person.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 05:58 PM   #6
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Mark, I have been in this industry for over 30 years.
I don't need a lesson on what a follow focus is.
I asked Chris if he was having problems without one.

But since you went there... OK, I shoot most of my stuff without a 1st AC.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 06:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
Mark, I have been in this industry for over 30 years.
I don't need a lesson on what a follow focus is.
I asked Chris if he was having problems without one.

But since you went there... OK, I shoot most of my stuff without a 1st AC.
I'm impressed.
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Old March 20th, 2009, 09:34 PM   #8
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Width

I won't speak for other follow focuses but an issue with DSLR lenses is lack of rod real estate. Let's take a 50mm prime lens for example that might only be 2 inches long. In that 2 inches you may need to get a follow focus, handgrip, matte box and both the follow focus and matte box need to be in a specific spot to impact the lens gear and end of lens respectivley. So rod space is unusually tight. This is also a huge problem with RED cameras using traditional Zeiss PL superspeeds or Nikon lenses. So just before DSLR's cameras camera out we revamped all of our 5 different follow fouses to make the width of the entire FF eat up only 1/4" of rod real estate. Besides making these units able to work with other DSLR accessories a fun byproduct was making them lighter. Lastly, the width of the gearhouse mechanism can also be a problem and with many follow focus units I've seen the gear housing bang into the camera body or the RED's Nikon adapter. This video demonstates the lack of real estate: Introducing DSLR Cinematography on Vimeo

Steve Weiss
Director/Zacuto product designer
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Old March 21st, 2009, 12:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
Why do you feel you "Need" a follow focus?
Are you having problems focusing your lenses now?
Well, I am shooting with Stephen Eastwood and a motion picture director, its experimental, 3 cameras, Stephen has a red rock, we need two or 3 more so I am looking at all alternatives as this is more experimental we can try new gear and see what works, whats best, what can improve. At the same time, we will be using a number of L lenses plus the Zeiss for EOS mounts lenses, I cannot imagine trying to do this all without a follow focus, especially on longer glass where the pressure on the lens will cause jitter or shake when rack focusing by hand and blown up to theatrical release size, hell it shows blown up to a 90inch preview screen, at some levels, that is not at all acceptable.
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Old March 21st, 2009, 02:03 PM   #10
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hell it shows blown up to a 90inch preview screen, at some levels, that is not at all acceptable.
Canon FD (breech lock) was the only mount that was locked like PL - RIP

Decades ago when Canon realized that they had made perfect lenses to whistand decades they decided to cease the FD line and make another incompatible EOS/EF one just because they had made lenses too good and this was not at all good for economy as sales are the foundation of almost all modern nations who recognize the abbreviation IMF.

Klidonas, any relations with the Baltics?

Cheers,
T
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Old March 21st, 2009, 02:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Chris Klidonas View Post
Well, I am shooting with Stephen Eastwood and a motion picture director, its experimental, 3 cameras, Stephen has a red rock, we need two or 3 more so I am looking at all alternatives as this is more experimental we can try new gear and see what works, whats best, what can improve. At the same time, we will be using a number of L lenses plus the Zeiss for EOS mounts lenses, I cannot imagine trying to do this all without a follow focus, especially on longer glass where the pressure on the lens will cause jitter or shake when rack focusing by hand and blown up to theatrical release size, hell it shows blown up to a 90inch preview screen, at some levels, that is not at all acceptable.
That tells me what I need to know.
If you want the best, get an Arri FF4.
It will last through many different cameras you might use over the years.
The Zacuto is also a great product vs money spent.
I'm not a huge fan of the Redrock Micro unit.

You will need an adjustable rail system with a couple of sets of rails, for shorter lenses as well as longer lenses which require a lens support.

If you are going to use Canon L glass, you will want to use lens gears that will allow a 360 degree movement.
I recommend avoiding the cheaper gears available from Redrock & Cinevate.
Have delrin gears pressed on by a qualified lens tech.

Here are a couple of my lenses with gears.



Good Luck with your project!
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