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Fotga makes serious progress with their FF
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  • Thanks for your review Passman. I think im going to order one too. Its either this or redrock micro for $800 I just sold a redrock micro because it didnt have hard stops and adjustable pointer. It also did the exact same job as my friends $150 RJ.

  • I just got my dp500 ii and first impressions is very good

  • I will use it on a short film shoot this weekend and write a review on it. So far its very good. It's tough looking and feeling follow focus. the hard stops seem very good and strong. The pointer rotates around very nicely. Theres almost no backlash. You can adjust the tension of the follow focus a bit which is very nice.

    Its heavy and strong but it doesnt feel as well assembled as my previous redrock follow focus. It also doesnt slide into the 15mm rods very comfortably. It takes a fair bit of force to slide it around. I haven't used a follow focus that had this much trouble sliding on the 15mm rods. The other thing that bothers me is the grip where you fingers go. Its thin, metal and really irritates my skin. Im going to stick my own grip onto it.

    I think its huge value for the money and i dont regret selling my redrock to buy this (yet) even though the redrock had a special quality feel of its own. At the end of the day itll do just as good of a job. If it doesnt fall apart i think this follow focus will serve me very well and pay itself off many many times.

  • My Fotga DP500 II just arrived, and I have to say I'm disappointed.

    To start, though, I must say that I'm impressed by the build quality. It makes my old D|Focus feel like a cheap plastic toy. This unit is solid, robust, and operates very smoothly. It at least feels like a piece of professional equipment.

    That having been said, I'm frustrated for three (big) reasons). For one, it does not work with a Varavon viewfinder loupe, on a lens with a focus ring closer than about two inches from the camera, unless it's mounted on the right side of the camera. Nearly all of my lenses have focus rings closer than that, and I don't want to switch to having my follow focus on the right side of my rig -- just feels weird.

    I was ready to forgive this issue though, as just yesterday I melted a hole in my LCD screen because I left the loupe on in sunlight, and decided that I'd stop using it so much.

    But then, I realized that even with the hard stops in line with each other, it cannot pull through the full focus throw of any of my lenses, all of which are around 270 degrees. This unit is clearly designed for modern AF glass that has short focus throws, which alienates a pretty large number of people.

    To add insult to injury at this point, I tried putting my brand new focus crank in the socket, and realized that it was machined just a little too loose. It falls right out. WTF!

    All the same I'll probably keep it, and just remove the hardstops and find an HDMI EVF or a small field monitor that I can use with a viewfinder mounted somewhere else on my rig. But I am frustrated by these issues.

  • But then, I realized that even with the hard stops in line with each other, it cannot pull through the full focus throw of any of my lenses, all of which are around 270 degrees.

    All you really need here is proper rings and gear. I mean larger gear on FF and smaller one on lenses. But, of course if your lenses are long throw, large diameter you'll need really big FF gear :-)

  • Sangye -

    How is the backlash on it? Comparable or better than the D|Focus?

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev - thanks, I didn't think of that. My lenses are mostly small diameter. Any suggestions on good large gears?

    @chenopup - the backlash / overall operation is much better than the D|Focus. Like I said, the D|Focus feels like a cheap plastic toy compared to this one. This one has virtually no backlash or play, at least when new. The adjustable resistance (via a knob on the underside of the gearbox) is a great touch, as well.

    edit - oh, and regarding the loose fit on FF cranks / whips, a single 1x1cm square of electrical tape on one side of crank / whip mount seems to take care of that.

  • I am not sure if I follow. Can you post a picture? You can use the FF gear in the rear position right? with the FF knob on the left side of the camera, and you put the FF 0.8 (small) gear on the rear position (towards the GH2 body) and you need 2" to clear the screen, due to the knob size?

    What kind of lenses are you using? C mounts?

  • I just got mine, and I'm quite impressed. A bit more play in the gearbox than a Cinevate Durus or an Arri FF4, but worlds better than the original RedRock Micro or any of the several other Chinese FFs I've played with. Very sturdy construction. I just hope the adjustable dampening stands up to lots of use! In short, I'd say it is, in my experience, the best follow focus under $1,000.

  • @CFreak - Quite right, and I'm a dunce. I didn't see the mechanism for switching the gear sides, but yes of course, you can. Well that makes me like this follow focus a lot more. And once I pick up some larger gears, all three of my issues will have been resolved. I would now recommend this unit to anyone. Truly exceptional build quality, at the price point.

  • @Sangye , if you need good lens gears, here is what i use:

  • Just an FYI to my original post. I have had some correspondence with the supplier from whom I got the Fotga II and they indicated that they are planning to make a (series??) of larger gears for the FF unit to accommodate larger diameter lenses/gear rings. No firm word on when but they indicated it will be soon. This seems to be the only major issue with this otherwise excellent FF unit.

    Glad to see others are having good experience with this unit. I had to return the base that I had purchased for this rig and am now saving to buy the new Manfrotto adjustable base unit as it seems to be the best choice for me to keep full compatibility with my other Manfrotto tripods and gear. So, the Fotga II has been sitting on the shelf waiting to get a full workout.

  • I've had mine for a few weeks now. It's well built, solid, smooth and almost no backlash. It's also my first FF and I don't especially like it. I'm used to focusing with the lens barrel and using the FF just slows me down.

  • Could someone who owns Dp500 Follow focus tell me if it could fit this setup (images attached).

    I use nikkor lenses and cokin P filter holder. This lens in the picture is the smallest and I can't figure out judging by the videos and pics if the gear ring and box would fit here. Lens has very narrow focusing ring and it is only few millimeters from the holder.

    Thanks!

    up.jpg
    1600 x 1069 - 351K
    side.jpg
    1600 x 1069 - 287K
  • I have a Dp500 II, and I think that you should have no problem using it with the lens setup that you posted. All you need to do is make sure that the focusing gear is on the right side of the follow focus (it can be moved to be either on the camera side or the side away from the camera). I use all Nikon lenses as well, and although the matte box I use is bigger, I have never had a problem.

  • Thanks @Django

    So if I put the focusing gear away from the camera I should be fine, actually my only concern was that this filter holder might hit the focusing ring of the FF, the back side of the main "knob". Because it goes for few cm immediately in 90 degrees angle. Other lenses are bigger and I have no worries.

    But I guess that If I run into clearance problem, that huge cinematics gear might solve it.

  • Just received DP500 II. 1st impressions: really well built, smooth motion, nice that you can set 2 hard stops and set the guide/indicator wherever you want, very nice adjusment of slow vs fast rotation (dampener?). I have a lens where barrel moves forward as you focus, so the thin adjustuable rubber gear didn't work. I've ordered a Cinevate gear that is wider so once I receive that, I will post full review on performance. But I have a feeling that the included rubber gear isn't the best. But spending another $30-40 will get you a nice one. Assuming this performs as well as it's built and as solid as it feels, I'd say this is a great follow focus, and at the price on PV deal, it's a great choice. Thanks again @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    That's my 3rd deal purchase. 3 for 3 - all winners.

  • I've had this follow focus, I ended up selling it because I got a LanParte FF.. It was a well built FF, smooth, no noticeable backlash.

    I did have two major problems with it: One is that the gear wheel is plastic, and was a bit wobbly (though it still worked fine). The biggest problem was that the stopper can not be temporarily moved out of the way for when you don't need hard stops - you have to remove the whole thing. Ended up just leaving it off and giving up the hard stop capability, too inconvenient to keep installing/uninstalling it..

  • Hey all, I have a question regarding the Fotga DP500 II: A friend of mine just received his FF from Hongkong and so far it seems to be working really well. As stated above, almost no backlash and feels really solid, too. The only thing that made me wonder a little is that the actual focus pulling wheel is labled "Fotasy" instead of "Fotga Dp 500". Should this be of any concern? I'm asking because I'm also thinking about getting the above-mentioned FF.

    Thanks for your replies!

  • @htf

    This one I do not know.

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    Thanks for your reply. I might not have expressed myself very well though, the brand of the actual FF-device is Fotga, it has all the Fotga DP500 II lables on the gearbox and so on, only the wheel is labled differently (Fotasy). Has anyone heard of this strange combination before? Or perhaps even of a collaboration between the two brands? Same factory? Anything? If not I'll just let some time pass and see if his FF will still be working then. I'll keep you updated if anybody's interested

  • Whilst on the topic of the gear wheel, I received my DP500 2 some weeks ago, well packaged and prompt delivery. After setting it up, I had to spent a fair bit of time making various adjustments because there seemed to be a lot of lens, and camera body movement when I used it, and if I backed the gear wheel off slightly it would then disengage itself at a certain spot. On critical inspection I noticed that the wheel wasn't rotating spot on, so the axle hole had been incorrectly drilled ? or simply didn't come out of the moulding process as it should, maybe ? Any way I contacted the supplier who acknowledged me straight away, sent out a replacement gear, and asked if I could send them a photo which I did, but I don't think the photo showed the problem too well to be honest. For a beginner like me I'm really pleased with the FF, and very pleased with how I was treated by the supplier. Cheers.

  • Looking to buy my first follow focus and I'm not sure how the Fotga compares with the Trusmt. Is the Trusmt worth the extra money?

  • Looking to buy my first follow focus and I'm not sure how the Fotga compares with the Trusmt. Is the Trusmt worth the extra money?

    I think, yes. Forga is good entry FF, best in its price range. TrusMT is better with even less backlash.

  • Is there a dp500 IIS version in the works? I'm looking to buy the dp500 II soon, but it seems that a new version is on the horizon:

    http://www.fotga.com/