Now that you have seen the rig, lets see how well it can perform! My test was quite simple: I dialed my lens at f/2.8 and made a small diorama with my Play Mobile miniatures. Please, don’t ask why I still have these, there is a reason, I swear!
I shot two clips, in the first I pulled and pushed the focus very slowly. In the second part, I do a few back and forth as fast as I could while keeping everything under control. Before going any further, please take a look at the clips…
The first thing you notice is, of course, that my lens breath quite a lot and there is nothing we can do about it. You can also see some camera shake created by my pulling. It is most noticeable in the second part of the clip because every time I try to change the inertia of the lens gear by rotating the handle, some pressure is added on the lens (1) or the full rig (2) depending if I am pulling of pushing. The breathing of the lens helps to reduce the problem since everything in the frame is moving at the same time but still, this is annoying. This problem can be minimized by being careful and some practice but I am curious to know if every FF system is affected by this issue or just the cheaper ones.
While there is a little bit of looseness in the handle, it is barely noticeable and does not affect the performance of the system unless you want to make a very small focus adjustment. As seen in the clip, the movement of the focus pane is very smooth once it’s going.
As you have seen in my previous video, installation of the follow focus is trivial. There are a few adjustment points which allow positioning the gear at the correct height and that is it. So far, every screw has held well but I must admit that I haven’t played much with them once I have found the “sweet spot” that fitted all my lenses and I recommend you to do the same.
The rails mount could also use some improvement. Right now, it is only held in place by a single bolt that compress the mount around the rails. The amount of tension required to keep this piece in place worries me a bit. Using two screws, closer to the rails would be more efficient and require less strength. I would also prefer to use a circular handle, I have the feeling it would make it easier to have a fluid motion.
My biggest complain about the D-Focus is was the lack of an integrated marked ring. While new buyers can order it at the same time as the FF, for early adopters like me, it is a bit frustrating to pay shipping cost, again. Some people might complain about the lack of whip too but it is not something I need right now so I can’t tell how much I miss it.
Should you get this? Of course! While I have not tested the intermediate systems (those around 300$), I don’t think they provide enough improvement over the D-Focus to be worth your money. So unless you are going for the high end Follow Focus systems, the D-Focus is the way to go!