August 23, 2010

Belt-drive follow focus for HD DSLRs

The German manufacturer Intuitfocus has developed what it claims is the first hands-free follow-focus system for HD DSLRs.

The Intuitfocus HF-IF1 uses an rubber belt-drive that goes around the lens and on to an electric gear ring, which is remotely controlled using a wheel mounted on a pan bar, grip handle or hand held (via cable). It can be used to control focus, iris or zoom, with only one finger. The wheel is progressive, offering feedback, so that it can be used instinctively.

"Intuitfocus is so simple and easy you can change lenses in seconds," and "is designed to let you focus intuitively," said its designer, Martin Longmore. It works with a wide variety of lenses; from 14mm to 600mm. Being able to use it off the camera is particularly handy for use with long telephoto lenses, as it minimizes the possibilities of camera shake. It is claimed to be compatible with most lenses, including Zeiss still or compact prime lenses.

There are four different rubber belt sizes supplied for various lens diameters, and no additional geared drive rings are required for individual lenses. It requires and applies very little force, and is claimed to offer "practically friction-free movement with low noise level".

"It is the perfect tool for every Steadicam operator," claimed Longmore, as it allows them to adjust the lens while keeping their hands in the best position to operate the rig without the need of an assistant or focus puller.

It should be available in September at a cost of about €3,000 for a complete kit.

Intuitfocus follow focus demo from Marko Butrakovic on Vimeo.

By David Fox

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