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Old December 6th, 2007, 02:44 PM   #1
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Focus, a little OT

HI All,
I have been learning to use my hd100 for about a year and a half. I like using zoom for some of my shots, and in most cases I simply need the focus to go from on point to another. As most of my projects are super low budget I can't afford fancy ($$$) focus controls, rails, assistant camera person, etc. My main problem is zooming, framing and focusing at the same time. Last shoot I did it would have been cool if I could have zoomed out (fashion shoot) for each shot. But there was no way to see the lens and keep my shot framed, plus it was dark were I was setup.

So all that to say, is there some kind of affordable (for me) "on lens" focus stops? So I could set the focus for 2 points and simply turn the focus till I hit the stop? Are there any other methods for 2 point focusing without having to look at the lens, or guess focus in the view finder?

Thanks for your time,
Jon
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Old December 10th, 2007, 05:29 PM   #2
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http://indifocus.com/

they have a "fujinon gear" that you can get with the focus pull all for under 300 and change.

unfortunately the problems that you are occurring are the problems that will happen when you dont have the proper equipment for what you want to do on a manual lens. Its why this equipment is important to invest in, in the first place.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 06:12 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info, piece by piece I build my setup. As a beginner I resist buying anything unless I find I need it all the time. I think I'm now ready for some simple one man focus pulling. This unit fits my budget pretty good. Looks like I can get into it for about $500.00
Take care,
Jon
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Old December 10th, 2007, 06:18 PM   #4
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$420

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Jaschob View Post
Thanks for the info, piece by piece I build my setup. As a beginner I resist buying anything unless I find I need it all the time. I think I'm now ready for some simple one man focus pulling. This unit fits my budget pretty good. Looks like I can get into it for about $500.00
Take care,
Jon
you should be able to get a basic setup for $420...(rods $99, follow focus $299, fuji pitch gear $22... knowing you'll get the focus stop every time... priceless...) *sorry i just had to haha*
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Old December 10th, 2007, 06:48 PM   #5
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Is this fuji gear one of the cheapest sets out there...and does it pretty much work well? Looking at matte-boxes a while back it became clear that the cheaper ones were not really worth investing in due to their limitations (leaking light/filters which didn't really fit in correctly etc).

I've tried a few 'focus pulls' by carefully turning the fujinon lens on the HD100...suffice to say it wasn't such a good idea (the lens would wobble or the tripod head would end up moving!).
Let us know how you get on Jon.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 07:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by David Scattergood View Post
Is this fuji gear one of the cheapest sets out there...and does it pretty much work well? Looking at matte-boxes a while back it became clear that the cheaper ones were not really worth investing in due to their limitations (leaking light/filters which didn't really fit in correctly etc).

I've tried a few 'focus pulls' by carefully turning the fujinon lens on the HD100...suffice to say it wasn't such a good idea (the lens would wobble or the tripod head would end up moving!).
Let us know how you get on Jon.
I have been looking at everything possible for the past year and a half. The IndiFocus, and now upgraded with enhanced features, is the least expensive worthwhile option I've seen.

One nice thing about it is that it can be used with geared and non-geared lenses. Also, it has stops.

Also, the person who makes and sells it is excellent. You can call and talk to him if you have questions.

If there is anything better at a reasonable price, I haven't seen it.

(RedRock has one, but they still haven't come out with a Fujinon gear yet.)

Other low-cost options are more expensive, and I'm not sure they are any better.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 07:45 PM   #7
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Also, the person who makes and sells it is excellent. You can call and talk to him if you have questions.
This is very true, me and him spent about an hour on the phone talking about up and coming products as well as improvements and other work we both do... the gear is specifically made just for using on fuji lenses and its wide, so as long as you are setup right rod wise, you should have no problem pulling accurate focus. (hey indifocus wheres my sales pitch commission? ) haha just kidding.

There really isn't anything cheaper out there that i would trust... and as far as quality... well not many have a fuji gear, so this is most likely one of the best out there at a price under $1,000

I will be buying one for my personal rig, i will be using it with my nikon lenses, but i will buy the fuji gear just bc its so cheap and i have a fujinon lens
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Old December 10th, 2007, 10:46 PM   #8
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I feel your pain. There are few things more difficult then trying to pull off the perfect zoom, focus change, and exposure adjustment all at the same time. In the perfect world we would all have follow focus devices on our lenses and focus pullers operating them- however, I work in television news..... and we don't have the luxury of follow focuses. I want to tell you though it is possible to do without any extra equipment. It is not easy, but with practice it is almost second nature. I use my pinky finger on the focus, my middle finger on the zoom, and my index finger on the iris. It is almost like playing a musical instrument, but with practice it is definately possible.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 12:44 AM   #9
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Thanks again for the info!

@ Adam, Thanks for that too, I will practice doing it all without all the dodads too. In fact that is what I've been doing for the past year and a half, but I can only do 2 at a time, frame, focus, zoom and exposure....pick any 2... lol.
Btw we're almost neighbors, I live in Gladstone.
Jon
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Old December 11th, 2007, 02:02 AM   #10
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Jon, Adam's technique will come easier to you once you get your rails. Once you stabilize the the camera with your palm, your fingers can dance around pretty freely.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 04:43 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Walker View Post
I have been looking at everything possible for the past year and a half. The IndiFocus, and now upgraded with enhanced features, is the least expensive worthwhile option I've seen.

One nice thing about it is that it can be used with geared and non-geared lenses. Also, it has stops.

Also, the person who makes and sells it is excellent. You can call and talk to him if you have questions.

If there is anything better at a reasonable price, I haven't seen it.

(RedRock has one, but they still haven't come out with a Fujinon gear yet.)

Other low-cost options are more expensive, and I'm not sure they are any better.
Cheers Jack - sounds like a worthy pursuit...I wonder if they're available in the uk...?

Until the time I procure one however I'll use the 'saxophone/clarinet' option as advised by Adam.

Quote:
Jon, Adam's technique will come easier to you once you get your rails. Once you stabilize the the camera with your palm, your fingers can dance around pretty freely.
If you didn't yet have the focus pull (or a mattebox) what would the rails be required for Eric? To hold the camera steady with your other hand (rather than the camera grip and auto zoom which you wouldn't necessarily use?)

Cheers.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 12:16 PM   #12
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David, I was referring to Giuseppe Pugliese's post where he suggested an affordable rails/follow focus + for Jon, which I bet he'll end up getting soon enough. I don't have a follow focus setup yet but I do have a mattebox now. I never used my fingers to control all three simultaneously before I had the rails. I simply focused with the left, or jumped over to the aperture - then back. Once the rails were there though, everything just jelled all on it's own. Once your palm finds a neutral middle-ground to park itself on it's a lot easier to do the finger dance (for me anyway).

On a side note, to answer your question more specifically, I use the rails to support an 80-200 35mm Nikon lens sometimes all on their own. Other times I have the mattebox up there too. Soon I'll have the follow focus on there too, because dialing in critical focus with the 80-200 takes a delicate touch that my bear claws struggle to manage.
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Old December 11th, 2007, 05:46 PM   #13
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Rails are excellent accesories, but not absolutely necessary for event coverage. Thousands of news shooters cover stories every day without rails. Thousands of other shooters cover events without them. Like Adam said, you have to work the lens. When you've done it enough, your hand moves without thinking about it.

One tip, set your iris and leave it. Normally, you would expose for the brighest areas, and float the shot through the darker portions. That means just let the iris ride and concentrate on your focus and zoom. If the lighting is so bad that you have to constantly ride the iris, you need to talk with the venue and make some changes. Also, if your editing the footage, using a black stretch would help through the darker portions.

If I had to shoot a corporate job or something that could be controlled, rails would be a must. But for a live event, I wouldn't recommend them. To many variables change to use a set focus stop every time. What if the model walks 5 ft. past the last models stop point? You need to full range and you simply have to work the camera to keep it in focus.

Just my thoughts.

Ben Lynn
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Old December 11th, 2007, 06:13 PM   #14
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I have really stayed away from events. Not much interest for me, and knowing my luck I would always miss a shot here and there. That said, I shot an event a couple weeks ago for a friend. A 2 stop focus pull thingie would have been great. It was a fashion show where all the designs had to be made from recycled (junk) stuff. The runway was "T" shaped so if the model missed her mark, I would have some nice blooper shots of models falling of the runway.
I wouldn't have cared if the focus drifted a little as I zoomed out with the model walking towards the camera, but in the dark there was no way I could see the lens. Plus I had to keep the camera moving for the pans making it really hard to use the viewfinder/lcd for focus.

Anyway, that's why I was asking about an affordable puller thingie. Last couple of shoots I could have really used it. I don't want or need really expensive gear and camera accessories, just enough to get by with, for now.

Take care,
Jon
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Old December 11th, 2007, 06:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Gulbransen View Post
David, I was referring to Giuseppe Pugliese's post where he suggested an affordable rails/follow focus + for Jon, which I bet he'll end up getting soon enough. I don't have a follow focus setup yet but I do have a mattebox now. I never used my fingers to control all three simultaneously before I had the rails. I simply focused with the left, or jumped over to the aperture - then back. Once the rails were there though, everything just jelled all on it's own. Once your palm finds a neutral middle-ground to park itself on it's a lot easier to do the finger dance (for me anyway).

On a side note, to answer your question more specifically, I use the rails to support an 80-200 35mm Nikon lens sometimes all on their own. Other times I have the mattebox up there too. Soon I'll have the follow focus on there too, because dialing in critical focus with the 80-200 takes a delicate touch that my bear claws struggle to manage.
Ok apologies Eric...I was perhaps reading into this a little too much...the rails on their own are merely to support your hand (in turn supported by your shoulder) rather than it hanging there in the air (which would indeed ache once the lactic acid kicks in!)? Of course you can then use these rails for the follow focus and mattebox...right? :)
I've manually followed focus when the camera was attached to a firm tripod...however this often nudged/shook the camera on the larger turns of the lens - far from ideal.
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