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Sony XDCAM EX Pro Handhelds
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Old September 19th, 2009, 08:33 AM   #1
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New Remote Focus control

Has anyone tried this new focus control unit by Varizoom?

http://www.varizoom.com/products/controls/vzfcu.html
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Old September 19th, 2009, 08:47 AM   #2
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Looks interesting - my only gripes:

- the price: ouch!
- the cable (in the manual version) cannot be bent too much, so it only seems feasible with a tripod pan handle mounting.

It'd be nice if they offered a shorter version as well - for mounting on a shoulder-mount left handle. Or even a universal handle, that provides shoulder-mount support AND focus control by simply turning it (more like a bike's throttle handle :)).

This is exactly what I've been suggesting to RedRock for their own ShoulderMount / FollowFocus solution...

I'm dreaming, I know :)
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Old September 19th, 2009, 08:53 AM   #3
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Piotr what caught me was the price I thought it was cheap compared to everything else on the market.

My concern is how sensitive is unit? Meaning when focusing can you have the same feel as when using the focus ring on the camera.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 08:57 AM   #4
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Well, to me it IS expensive ;)

As to sensitivity: looking at the ring pitch, it should be sensitive enough...
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Old September 19th, 2009, 09:35 AM   #5
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Well I guess I should have chosen a different word then cheap. But in the very overpriced video world it seems like it might be a decent value if it works as advertised.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 07:24 PM   #6
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The EFC-U unit being electric lets you bend the cable as much as you want.
This might be the unit to get as it lets you store four Marks. Nothing on the website shows how the unit is operated, I cannot even find a closeup of the remote control.
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Old September 19th, 2009, 08:45 PM   #7
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Thanks Bob,

I have a email to Varizoom and look forward to their response. My request was to test/rent a unit to see if it fits my business.
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Old September 21st, 2009, 11:10 AM   #8
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Considering it is designed as an outboard follow focus with a motor system it is cheap. What is considered a entry level remote follow focus for a Steadicam runs about $4500 new that is including a motor. This doesn't have quite the utility of a proper remote follow focus but fairly close.

Motor systems for outboard follow focuses (on the cheaper units) can be quite "snatchy" on start up, just like the servo motors we are used to, so I would want to have a cameraperson's hands on report, if I were going to buy one.
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Old September 21st, 2009, 11:18 AM   #9
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Thanks for your input Andrew.

I have an email into Varizoom asking where I can test one or rent one. Not too optimistic on a response from VariZoom since they have never responded to my emails in the past. Not sure if B&H or Rule carry the product but I will check with both.

I would not purchase this without trying first. If I do have the opportunity to test the unit I will post my findings.
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Old September 21st, 2009, 11:24 AM   #10
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Checked the following:

B&H says accepting orders
Rule: Nothing on their site
AbelCine Tech: Nothing on their site
ZGC: Has the produce on their site. I sent a email to see if it can be rented.
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Old September 21st, 2009, 01:00 PM   #11
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I started a thread on this a while back but it died off... some additional info in there.. Also Phillip wanted to review one and someone offered him a unit for review but not sure if he saw it or not...

The Varizoom EFC-U Electronic Focus control
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Old September 21st, 2009, 02:20 PM   #12
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Thanks Jason I will check out the other thread.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 02:25 AM   #13
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A bit of follow up after seeing the photos of the unit in the post above...

The size of the gear, the big honkin' white wheel against what looks like the focus ring would "dampen" the snatchiness I was mentioning in my previous post. Looks like this unit, like most so called remote follow focus units can do double or triple duty on focus, zoom and aperture. Looks like the big gear works on the focus ring but note that the gear butts up against a rubber ring on the lens and not a ring that has teeth in it so it would be more forgiving on the focus ring as it doesn't have to match up with "teeth". Zoom and aperture (assuming it could do either or both would have to match up to the teeth on the lens. The results could be different and snatchy.

Just fleshing out my earlier thoughts on the unit. The unit could be very good but check it out before laying down your money.
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