Personal View site logo
Choosing gears for follow focus
  • I recently purchased a new (Gini) follow focus and am looking for recommendations on good gears to go with it. Are zip gears worse than standard gears? Anyone used these: - they look like a good price.

    Also I'd be interested in 360 gears, but haven't seen many on the market.
  • 26 Replies sorted by
  • @mrbill

    No, those are just 77mm/80mm OD threaded metal rings screwed on step-up rings, it makes the setup sturdier, it is much easier to put filters on comparing to thin filmsy stepup rings, and they add some distance from follow focus to hood/mattebox. I found them by accident in those cheap Chinese collapsible rubber lens hoods, bought bunch of them and threw away the rubber part ;) and my setup is comparable in functionality to the part that proffesional cine-modding shops add on the lens, just for a fraction of the cost.

    PS those Xume adapters seem cool, never seen that before

  • Highly recommended :) @inqb8tr - are those Xume adapters on your set of lenses?

  • @mrbill

    That's the same guy.

  • Another option can be just get cheap 3D printer or go into place that have one and print your own.


    These are the best solution I've found - pricier but fantastic. They look exactly the same as the gears posted by @inqb8tr

  • I have recently bought gears from helicoptersean from ebay, they are great. Here they are on my Nikkor DIY cine-mod set.

    1280 x 853 - 253K
    1280 x 853 - 250K
    1280 x 853 - 212K
    1280 x 853 - 239K
  • Has anyone tried the custom follow focus gears on ebay? They're only $45 from user helicoptersean. Curious to see how they work.

    1600 x 1238 - 903K
  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev where can I get this deal?

    Btw we have CInematics gear now listed in 24h deal.

  • Question about ring gear material. I have the Fotga II FF unit and find the drive gear to be quite small in relation to my lenses (Canon FD's mostly L series). Due to this I seem to get a lot of slip and chatter especially if I try anything faster than a slow pull. The only lens gear I have that does not slip is one made of quite hard plastic where the teeth are very rigid.

    Also, I prefer the gear belt that fits flush to the lens ring vs the standoff style, the standoffs just increase the gear ratio and potentially the chance of slip and chatter.

    Can anyone give me a recommendation for gear belt style gears that are made of hard material? I already bought 2 more from the supplier where I got the one I have and they ended up being a new softer plastic that skips also. I like the idea of the zip-tie gears and would probably go with them if they are hard enough material to not slip. Thanks.

  • @johnny - I see you found out how to reverse the gear! Once reversed, the curve of the arm of the Gini ff is just steering clear of the GH-2 body. But only when you use larger clamp type lens gears (see image). Room enough for the matte box now too...

    edit: oh yeah, you can return the focus indicator to the top position by unscrewing and re-attaching it.
    1024 x 681 - 201K
  • So I reversed the lens gear and as @maurits mentioned it comes very close to the lens release button. It just squeezes in on my FD 50mm 1.4. I'd be surprised if you could use this ff at all with lenses such as the Voigtlander etc. I'd be interested to know how the Gini ff compares size-wise to the Trusmt and whether anyone had recommendations for a ff that fits those lenses that have a smaller diameter and focus ring close to the camera.

    In terms of gears, the Half Inch Rails that @douglashorn suggested are great and well priced - just be aware of the issues with using them with a ff such as the Gini on certain lenses.
  • @nomad does the trusmt ff work for you with a gh2 and rig with matte box setup?
  • Just reveiced the TrusMT FF version 2 from one of the specials and it feels great, very low play, better than an expensive Redrock Micro after one year of use. If it stays like this, it's perfect.
  • The problem I'm having with the follow focus is that is much bigger than I expected. I'm wanting to mount it on the left side, but if I do that then it is too wide and means I can't get my matte box on. It can't mount on the right as it hits the camera grip. Is there a way to reverse the gear? But then I may run into the problem @maurits mentioned where the gear casing is bumping against the lens release. It might be my own stupidity, but for the life of me I can't figure out a way to use the follow focus with my matte box without coming up with some ridiculous mounting solution (but it is my first setup with follow focus so maybe I'm missing something really basic.......). Would love to hear if anyone has had a similar problem or can offer any solution.

    @danyyyel apart from the problem above, the gini follow focus looks and feels great. It truly is built like a machine. In the limited tests I've done so far it seems super smooth. I'll test more and let you know how I go once I sort this problem out.
  • @johnnyblank hi, what is your opinion on your gini follow focus?
  • @johnnyblank

    The Gini follow focus mounting arm and gear box are quite large. Some lenses (like the Helios-44-2) have the focus ring positioned further towards the camera body than others. Since zip tie gears are almost flush with the lens, they require the ff cog to be placed relatively close to the lens. Unless you reverse the gear on your ff, the gear casing then bumps against the lens release button before the cog can engage the gear. Those gears that stand further off from the lens often give you just enough leeway that reversing the gear is not required.
  • Btw we have CInematics gear now listed in 24h deal.
  • in my opinion the best gears are indie snap gears, and they are full 360
  • I've tried the zip-tie gears and the one-size fits all version of zip-ties from jag35. The jag ones work well with larger lenses, whilst the zip-ties work well with smaller barrel lenses like the pannys and canon fd's. I bought some of the snap gears (geared rings split in half and held together by magnets) but found the sizing inconvenient. I have fotga and jag35 follow-focus units.
  • Thanks for the input everyone.

    @DouglasHorn. Those Half Inch Rails look like just what I'm after.

    I'll report back in a few weeks.
  • @DouglasHorn, I will probably get some 'zip tie style' gears, however the issue regarding ratios was mentioned in another thread regarding this... so YMMV.
  • I use zip-tie gears from Half Inch Rails on all my MF lenses. I find it a real advantage to be able to leave them on, in the position I want so that the gears all hit the same place on the follow focus regardless of which lens I use. (Meaning I don't have to adjust the position of the follow focus on the rails when I do lens changes. I do still have to move the FF in or out depending on the width of the lens barrel.)

    Having slightly different pull lengths for different lenses is really not any drawback that I notice. I typically take marks for my focal distances anyway.

    Another nice thing about the zip tie gears is that they are fairly flush to the barrel which means they don't get knocked around as much or, you know, look really, really stupid, like most of those gears with the standoffs.
  • @johnnyblank
    The only issue with flexible 'strip' style gears is that they conform to the size of the focus ring, thus the gearing ratio of the focus gear and Follow Focus gear could be radically different depending on which lens you use.

    However as you mention that you have a consistent size of barrel then this would probably negate that issue.

    I would say for ~$7 give it a go and report back hear your findings!

  • We are having Cinematics gears packs on sale from time to time.
    Both fixed and adjustable.
  • Thanks - I've seen those Trust MT gears before and they look good and I hear Trust stuff is generally pretty high quality. But most of my lenses are old Canon FD's and seem to have similar focusing ring size (around 210mm circumference). Any idea how well these gears would work with FD's or how they compare to flexible zip gears like this:

    Do you get more chance of slipping or problems focusing using the flexible gears?

    Ideally I'd like a set of gears that I can leave on each lens to save setup times on shoot.