Lens/Focus Shifter Is The Simplest $45 Follow Focus Attachment You Can Buy
By Kevin Lee
Today’s DLSRs can capture high-definition video with sharp lenses that make your movies just as crisp as a high megapixel image. The only problem is that those same lenses weren’t exactly made track focus on your subject in live motion.
For me, it’s pretty much impossible to turn the focus ring on my lens without jostling the camera and ruining whatever steady footage I had. If you have the same problem, Daniel Bauen and Mark McJunkin have a Kickstarter Project called the “Lens or Focus Shifter” (depending on who you ask, but more on that later), that will help save your awkwardly shot movies and turn them into cinema quality films.
The Lens/Focus Shifter is a follow focus lever you can attach to any camera lens without any additional equipment. The system is uses a simple handle bar with a toothed belt that chomps down onto your lens’s focus or zoom ring. This allows you to smoothly and more precisely adjust your focal point or zoom level.
The rig also comes with a Focus (dry-erase) marker board that allows you to mark any particular focal lengths you want to switch between. For example, you could quickly change the focus from the foreground to the background.
The Shifter works with any SLR lens, from the smallest 50-mm to telescoping telephoto lenses that range from 56 to 98 millimeters (2.20 to 3.86 inches) in diameter. If you need one for a smaller or larger lens than the allotted sizes, you can buy a Custom Shifter ($55), which comes with a custom sized belt.
Bauen and McJunkin already have working 3D-printed prototypes, but they need contributions to start mass-producing their final plastic models. They also need help figuring out whether they should call it the Lens Shifter or a Focus Shifter. You can get your own Lens or Focus Shifter for $45, or just be part of the name voting (and supporting) process for a dollar.