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One of the first lenses a DSLR video shooter usually purchases is the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. The main reason is price as the 50mm f/1.8 lens is around $200 less than its closest relative the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens. However, do not let the low price fool you, the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens (aka “Nifty Fifty”) is a solid performer, has great optics and provides excellent results for video. The main problem with the lens is the small focus ring. Not only is the focus ring very small, it is also tapers toward the front making it nearly impossible to attach any follow focus. Notice I said nearly impossible.
Awhile back we developed a follow focus solution for Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens, and while it works pretty well, I was never quite satisfied with the way marking focus points worked out. With that in mind, we went back to the drawing board and came up with a new Main Focus Arrow that is specifically designed to clip over the stainless steel handle and step up to the focus marker strap on the 50mm f/1.8 lens.
Here is a video detailing how Version 2.0 of the Canon 50mm f/1.8 Follow Focus works.
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Most DSLR video shooters start out with a Canon 18-55mm kit lens. Unfortunately, there are little to no follow focus options for that lens. Or is there?
I am going to let you in on a little secret, we have had a follow focus solution for the Canon 18-55mm lens for more than a year. That’s right, our “Small” size focus handle fits the Canon 18-55mm lens when the rubber reducer is installed. And if you are interested in marking focus points, just be sure to order the “Standard” small kit with the accessory tin rather than just the handle. Visit our Products page for more information.
We just finished a video that will show you how the DSLR Follow Focus works with the Canon 18-55mm kit lens.
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Many video shooters still do not realize the benefits of having a handle to help with focusing and zooming while recording video. Our premier product, the DSLR Follow Focus was initially developed to give DSLR video professionals an inexpensive on-the-go follow focus and rack focus option. However, over the past year, users are discovering just how nice it is to have a focus handle or zoom handle in their camera bag and are reaching for the DSLR Follow Focus time and again.
Well, the secret is out! We now offer the DSLR Focus Handle separately from the other accessories and video professionals from all over the world are using our handles on many different cameras and lenses to assist with focusing and zooming. Whether it is on a Sony PMW-EX3, Sony PMW-F3, Canon C-300 or Canon 5d Mark III using lenses such as Fujinon zoom, Zeiss Super Speeds, Canon L lenses, or Nikon Nikkor lenses, the DSLR Focus Handle is a fantastic option for a multitude of professionals.
Many electronic news gathering (ENG) organizations find the DSLR Follow Focus especially useful for field work when traveling light is an absolute necessity. In addition, documentary filmmakers have told us how much they appreciate our product, noting that the best follow focus is one you have with you.
Photo credits: Joseph Friedman, Director of Photography
Starting at just $30 the DSLR Focus Handle is available now in four different sizes with custom sizes available by request. Check out the list of lenses the DSLR Focus Handle fits or measure your lens to determine what size you need.
We have just developed a special DSLR Follow Focus Handle for the Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake lens. The new handle is available now, although initial quantity will be limited.
You can check out a short video demonstration below.
I often have the pleasure of speaking with customers directly and I am always surprised at how many Canon DSLR video shooters do not know about, or simply do not use Magic Lantern’s free Canon firmware enhancement for their DSLR video work. All I can figure is that people see the “Use this software at your own risk.” statement on the download page and decide that it is not for them. Let me just say that I will not shoot video on my DSLR without Magic Lantern. It is on every SD card I own and has turned my Canon 60d into a truly amazing tool.
The Magic Lantern Canon firmware enhancement provides so many of those missing features I had become accustomed to on more professional cameras such as my older Panasonic DVX-100. It even does some things the DVX-100 only dreamed of doing. Magic Lantern is not only for video work, but has loads of great features for any avid photographer.
Here are a list of features to help give you an idea of the power of Magic Lantern (my favorites noted in bold):
- Audio: disable AGC, audio meters, manual audio controls, selectable input source (internal, internal+external, external stereo, balanced), audio monitoring via A/V cable.
- Exposure helpers: zebras, false color, histogram, waveform, spotmeter, vectorscope.
- Focus tools: focus peaking, zoom while recording, trap focus, rack focus, follow focus, focus stacking.
- Movie helpers: Bitrate control, movie logging (Exif-like metadata), auto-restart after buffer overflow or 4 GB limit, HDR video, advanced FPS control.
- LiveView adjustments: contrast, saturation, display gain for using LiveView in darkness.
- Cropmark images: user-editable overlays to assist framing and composition.
- Fine control for ISO, Shutter, Kelvin white balance and other image settings.
- Bracketing: advanced exposure bracketing, focus stacking.
- Remote release with LCD face sensor and audio trigger, without extra hardware.
- Timelapse: intervalometer (for photos and movies), bulb ramping (manual and automatic), recording at very low FPS (down to 0.2 FPS), silent pictures without shutter actuation.
- Astro- and night photography: bulb timer for very long exposures (up to 8h).
- Info displays: focus and DOF info, CMOS temperature, shutter count, clock.
- For strobists: flash exposure compensation, range up to -10 to +3 EV (depends on the camera).
- Power saving: Turn off display or reduce backlight in LiveView during idle times.
- Handy features: Quick zoom in PLAY mode, key shortcuts for commonly-used features, customizable menus.
If any of the above features sound interesting, head over to the Magic Lantern website and get more information on this amazing free upgrade to your Canon DSLR camera. Version 2.3 release note can be found here.
Version 2.3 works on camera/firmware: 5Dmk2/2.1.2, 50D/1.0.9, 60D/1.1.1, 500D/1.1.1, 550D/1.0.9, 600D/1.0.2 — Installation instructions
Lastly, if you use Magic Lantern and like it, please consider dropping Alex and the team a few dollars for all their excellent work.
I hope you found this information helpful.
P.S. We are currently working on a DSLR Follow Focus handle for the new Canon 40mm f/2.8 STM Pancake Lens and hope to have something available for purchase on the website early next week. Stay tuned…
In response to customer requests, the DSLR Follow Focus Handle is now available for purchase separately in any size and quantity for only $30 each.
In addition, you can purchase the DSLR Follow Focus Accessory Pack separately. Now you can build your own kit with exactly the components you need.
I wanted to let everyone know that you can now purchase a combination kit that includes the special version of the DSLR Follow Focus which works with the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens and 18-55mm kit lens. View Special 50mm f/1.8 kit demo video.
We are also offering Express shipping as an option on all orders. This choice is available on the second screen during the checkout process. Express shipping is most useful for international customers who want to be able to track their package during transit. Certain countries like Germany and Italy have been problematic when using Priority International and Express International seems to solve most delivery delays. Check out FAQ #4 if you are interested in pricing.
The new DSLR Solutions website is reorganized and mobile responsive! We are also currently working on additional video tutorials for our growing user base to help everyone get the most out of their DSLR Follow Focus. Look for several new videos to be posted in about a week. Thanks again to everyone for their continued support, the DSLR Follow Focus has been shipped all over the world!
Here is a screenshot showing how the new website looks on several different mobile devices. Better yet, grab your iPad, iPhone or other mobile device and go take a peek.
I recently put together a short video demonstrating the capabilities of the DSLR Follow Focus when shooting Fall colors. The video is best viewed in HD as the intense colors tend to get muddy due to the YouTube compression. Use this link for the HD version, or click the image below to watch a more bandwidth friendly version.
All footage was captured with the Canon 60d using the 18-135mm lens with a variable ND filter and the “Original” size DSLR Follow Focus. Enjoy!