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  • Electronic focus controll for Canon EF Lenses

    This is a really interesting development. Getting away from the expense and weight of follow focus, and finally making use of the USM of high end L glass for focus racking. The tech is here already:
    http://vimeo.com/53152033
    http://www.reduser.net/forum/showthr...OptiTek/page6&
    Note that smooth and not "stepped" racking is whats being claimed to work with the Optitron.
    This particular application is priced out of BMC range at $4000. It also remains to be seen if USB protocol through the camera can be made to work as the BMC camera is not suitable to this type of Mount Control that bypasses the camera and talks directly to the lens.
    See:
    http://www.okii.net/Articles.asp?ID=238
    Canon is behind the times again, completely missing out on the potential already built into their USM lenses and completely leaving this game changing tech out of the the new CN-E lenses.
    New wireless tech (Meizler Module for example) with negligible latency would make this sort of electronic focus control useful in far reaching applications, where camera's are mounted on jibs, flying rigs, moving Steadicam where the added weight of standard motorized control is a real factor.

  • #2
    No doubt this is a high-tech tool to solve some problems.

    The sales pitch is aimed at using still lenses rather than ciné lens. It's certainly an impressive product for what is does. But in many applications the ciné lens may be a better choice due to superior control of lens breathing when changing focus. And there may be other benefits such as consistent colour and character of the ciné lenses that are not a factor in still lenses.

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    • #3
      I don't think any electronic follow focus solution priced above $1000 is going to make sense for the BMC market. The idea however is really attractive and innovative in the same sense that the BMC is.
      The manual follow focus is about as old a technology as there is in cinema. There are AC's out there that insist that tape measures are the way to go and that laser distance measures are unprofessional. There are many cinema lenses out there that now outweigh the camera, and together with a doveplate, cage, rails, and follow focus assembly easily triple the weight of the entire rig. Beyond a certain point this weight doesn't smooth camera handheld pans, it contributes to fatigue and instability and jerky movement. Your support ecosystem also needs to scale up, pro heads, sticks, jibs, Steadicam, you name it becomes exponentially more expensive with the added weight.
      I think something like the zeiss cp.2 (please don't focus on the lens choice it's just a example) with internal focus control is going to change the market in a powerful way. Lens focal distance readout data, programmable marks, and the ability to return to those marks with precision at variable speed are going to make a huge difference in the way we AC.
      That canon already has this technology partly enabled with USM in L class lenses is a happy accident in the same way the original 5d II was.

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      • #4
        Here is the link to the Sony F3 version. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJrgfYLhVpk
        But I think you're right- BMC customers can't bear this price point.
        Now if BMD released the protocol for external connection we could program the OptiTron to control EF lenses on it as well...
        Food for thought...

        BTW that breathing debate is blown out of proportions. $15K Cookes S4 breath, Arri UPs breath Even MPs breath, albeit minimally.
        Only a handful of Angie $60K zooms don't. But they still change distortion characteristics as you zoom so what's the difference? Looks like breathing to me.
        And being deeply entrenched in lens design and production for 25 years I should know....

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        • #5
          http://store.redrockmicro.com/Catalog/microRemoteSystem pretty much the only BMC feasible kit for the price.

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          • #6
            Haha after you spend $2500 you still need the lens mount, gears on lenses and still need to manually calibrate each lens. And never get the precision and consistency. Ad to that the weight, complexity power requirements. I don't think the RR solution is even close... Same old, same old (just cheaper)
            Have you seen the RR hand controller? It's the size of a loaf of bread... Not that there is anything wrong with that but they really could make it smaller

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            • #7
              Yea...well I've seen the ones that control the lenses on full size cameras and the controller was about the same size if not smaller. I think the thing that bodes bad for the development of these things is the resolution needed to have these things work, that and the motors. I've seen bad ones that have crap resolution, and they have really bad jitter when doing fine adjustments to boot.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by optitek View Post

                BTW that breathing debate is blown out of proportions. $15K Cookes S4 breath, Arri UPs breath Even MPs breath, albeit minimally.
                Only a handful of Angie $60K zooms don't. But they still change distortion characteristics as you zoom so what's the difference? Looks like breathing to me.
                Amen!

                I never got that fuzz about breathing.
                In all that years with shooting now, breathing never killed any of my shots. It's completely overrated.
                Blog: http://frankglencairn.wordpress.com/

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                • #9
                  Breathing is the buzz word this week. Half of the breathing crusaders don't even know what it means. The other half don't know that all lenses breath- one way or another. Although I remember an Arri T-shirt I got few years back with the word "breathless" on it depicting the Arri Master Primes...

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                  • #10
                    I know there is USB focus handle from Aputure, it is for Canon camera, price is about USD119. http://www.aputure.com/blog/2014/02/...s-handle-vg-1/

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                    • #11
                      I seem to remember that autofocus was meant to be coming to the BMCC EF in a future firmware update, but just autofocus, not focus racking. Mind you, Magic Lantern can do something like that for free. Lots of interesting tricks hidden in the menus if you have a Canon DLSR to play with.
                      Iain Anderson, Apple Certified Trainer
                      http://trainingbrisbane.com

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