Follow Focus Reviews

While some new camera operators may think a follow focus is an unnecessary gadget, they truly are a crucial part of nearly every camera set-ups. Not only do follow focuses make focusing the lens a million times easier and more ergonomic, but it allows you to accurately mark different focus distances. Solo shooters will benefit by not pushing their DSLR lenses into that useless region “beyond” infinity. Those with a 1st AC make life very difficult for her if they want her to hit complex focus marks without a follow focus. Give your 1st AC a follow focus whip and they can focus for you without bumping your graceful pans and tilts. Throw in a crank and they’ll get you from zero to infinity at the drop of a hat.
You don’t need to spend “a lot” for a follow focus either. There are many on the market for under $1000. “But are they worth their price?” Well, we asked the same think. What resulted was this review of seven follow focuses all under $1000.

Overall Impressions

Edelkrone Focus One Pro – $289.99

Feels solid and will probably last for a very long time. Well built. Not standard design; outside the box approach. Very easy to use as a one person operator. If you are going to have an camera assistant, then this probably isn’t the tool you want to have; your 1st AC will not be able to see their marks.

Shape Clic Follow-Focus Clic – $395

Gets the job done. It is high quality metal. Very light weight, bare-bones design, small, streamlined. Marking disk comes off too easily; this is bad since a bump might make it come off. The rod locks are not screw-in type so the pin holding the lever could potentially bend.

Zacuto Z-Drive – $523; $784 with Tornado Grip Kit

Very different than other follow focuses. Build quality is very solid; seems like it would last a long time. Universal joint eliminates need for a gearbox. Specialty item made for solo use; not practical if you have an AC using it. Only mounts to one rod, which reduces stability. Knob diameter is small making fine-adjusted focusing difficult.

Tilta Follow Focus FF-T03 – $529

Solid, hefty, should last a long time. Well designed, and knob texture and build aids in focus pulls. Stops are very solid and easy to adjust and use. Average backlash. Easy and quick to mount to rods with click-in design that is low profile. Comes with many accessories. Rocket House Pictures uses one of these. ❤

Sachtler Ace Follow Focus – $630

Feels hefty and solid, except it has a lot of plastic parts: gear knob, the gear box, the wheel, rod connector. The only metal piece is the arm. Sachtler is a solid brand, so it should last a while. However the plastic parts give us pause.

Redrock microFollowFocus Black – $795

Feels solid, low profile. Lateral slide for lens adjustment feels rough and chunky. Mixed feelings about being able to adjust backlash because of what this implies. Feels like hard stops and gearbox may wear out and be problematic.

MovCam Mini Follow Focus MF-1 – $995

Feels solid, feels like it will last a long time. Heaviest of the FF we’ve reviewed. Don’t like that all hard stops are always in play; you can loosen them, but then they just slide around. Like the adjustability of everything. Joint in arm is not super tight. Better if the teeth in the joint were deeper.

Letus Follow Focus – $900

Solidly built, quality metal; lens gear is quality plastic. Lateral slider doesn’t slide smoothly. Rod mounting pin can interfere with the horizontal movement. To mount without removing matte box, mounting screw has to be removed. Arm is very strong and solid with no flex. The knob is designed to be held only one way, so some focus pulling techniques may be difficult.
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