OK, so you want to pull focus on your mirrorless camera or DSLR effortlessly without using any bulky rod rigs or other external support, thus keeping your setup as neat and lightweight as possible? Sure, then the Focus Shifter might be just the right solution you’re looking for. In a nutshell, it’s a stand-alone Follow Focus and Rack Focus system with a focus marker board that can be used on virtually any camera lens ranging in diameter from 56mm (2.20in) up to 98mm (3.86in). Overall, the unit is extremely simple and straightforward to set up and use. Our friend Curtis Judd already had the chance to play around with the tool as he shares his insights in the video review below.
To be able to utilise the unit, you just need to attach the marker board directly on your lens with the provided heavy-duty rubber band and then add the Shifter itself by simply slipping it over the lens onto the focus ring and tighten it down with the ball end. It’s perfect for filmmakers, videographers and anyone wanting to step up their production capabilities with an inexpensive and easy to use follow focus system.
Furthermore, the Shifter is designed in a way so that it can take advantage of the full tuning range of most lenses. It also allows you to smoothly pull focus without any jarring starts or stops. The ball design is easy to grasp so you can avoid twisting your hand into uncomfortable positions when pulling focus. For a lens with a narrow focus ring like the nifty-fifty Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens, for instance, you can prevent your fingers from falling into the frame, by keeping them at a safe distance.
Meanwhile, when pulling focus, you can either create marks for your focus points using a dry-erase marker, or use custom clips that attach to the focus marker board and set hard stops which allow you to shift between two focus points without ever looking at the marker board. Users will get two hard stop clips with rubber handles for improved grip provided in the kit. These add-ons are extremely convenient when you need to nail focus and shift between two focus points quickly and effectively.
The only downside of the Focus Shifter is that it can accidently slip over if you’re not careful when operating your camera, as it’s not as robust as most conventional follow focus systems, but given the price tag of merely $50 and the excellent job it does in real-world situations, you can hardly go wrong with this device. So, if you need a reasonably priced follow focus that won’t break your budget, make sure you give the Focus Shifter a try.