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Lens/Focus Shifter for any DSLR camera lens


May 21, 2012

The Lens/Focus Shifter is a lens mounted follow focus which claims to offer thrifty film-makers and photographers more precise control over focusing

The Lens/Focus Shifter is a lens mounted follow focus which claims to offer thrifty film-makers and photographers more precise control over focusing

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Modern DSLRs can shoot some pretty impressive video footage, but unfortunately their small and often fiddly focus rings aren't quite cut out for creating cinematic masterpieces which require smooth and accurate focus. The Lens/Focus Shifter is a lens mounted follow focus which claims to offer DSLR film-makers and photographers a professional solution to this problem … on a budget.

While the soon-to-be Kickstarter funded Lens/Focus Shifter (makers can't decide on the name yet and are asking backers to help them decide) isn't the first DSLR follow focus solution we've seen (there's been the DSLR Follow Focus and the wire-attached Okii), it appears to strike a nice balance between functionality and cost.

The Lens/Focus Shifter consists of a lever which attaches around the focus ring of your DSLR lens via a toothed rubber gasket strap that can be loosened or tightened by spinning the ball at the end of the shifter. This lever is then moved to give more precise control over your focusing than you would have with your bare hands.

There's also a marker board which attaches to the lens with an elastic band and allows users to mark focus points using a dry-erase marker and then quickly switch between them by moving the shifter. Adding clips to the marker board also means users can add "hard stops" for focus points that they want to move between.

Maker Microfacturing says the Lens/Focus Shifter works with any DSLR lens with diameters from 56mm (2.20 inches) to 98 mm (3.86 inches) - meaning it will be equally usable on a nifty fifty or a 70-200 mm 2.8 lens. It's also said to be of benefit to photographers by improving manual focus speed and accuracy, particularly when using lenses with a shallow depth of field.

The Lens/Focus Shifter is currently heading towards a Kickstarter funding target of US$19,000. A pledge of $45 gets you a shifter, two focus marker boards, a fine tip dry-erase marker, and the ability to cast a vote on whether the product should be called a Lens Shifter or a Focus Shifter.

Source: Microfacturing via Kickstarter

About the Author
Simon Crisp Simon is a journalist and photographer who has spent the last ten years working for national UK newspapers - but has never hacked a mobile phone - and specializes in writing about weird products and photography technology. When not writing for Gizmag, Simon is often found playing with LEGO and drinking far too much coffee. All articles by Simon Crisp

This is an interesting idea, but something very similar has been done with camera lenses in the past. The companies that most recently come to mind that have used this technique are both Hasselblad and Asahi Pentax. They used an extended focusing arm attached to the focus ring on their lenses to assist with the rapid focusing for moving subjects. The Pentax devices were made for the Pentax 67 system cameras and the Hasselblad devices were for use on the lenses for the 50x series cameras. A nice idea, but not the first.


Thanks Gizmag. @Pete Townsend - All great ideas are inspired by other great ideas. We used and tested other similar devices, and made improvements based on needs and desires, like universal fit, focus marker board, hard focus stops, and ease of use.

Bambu Bauen
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