New Camera Stuff

12 Feb

Recently I made some big changes in my cinema rig–first big changes I’ve made in a long time. Pretty much all new components, actually. Here’s a brief summary of the changes, and some mini-reviews of the two biggest new pieces.

Firstly, I sold my Jag35 stuff. It’s had a very good run, and as I’m starting to get bigger in my scope and style, it’s time for my rig to get bigger, too. The Jag35 baseplate and D|Focus V3 that I bought years ago were cleared out.


The first step up is the P&C Gearbox GB-2 cage, with the 15mm rail adapter. Neat little system, adding a lot of connectivity to my setup, as well as a pair of handles (old rig was very lacking in ways-to-pick-it-up.) I got mine off eBay for $135, but I believe it’s listing for around $150 on Amazon (when I checked just before posting this, it was at $119.99, so…darn).

I ordered a pair of iKan 12″ rails to go with my particular setup, but the rails that come standard are aluminum 8″ threaded. Seemed very sturdy (they’re now the rails on the bottom of my Steadicam.)


Holds up very well with two Strongarms (or Israeli arms, whatever you call ’em.) I have my battery system running both monitors and the camera.

The second addition is the Fotga DP3000 follow focus. I am always interested in this super cheap stuff (mine was only $76.99, but does not have the A/B hard stops) because it seems strange that it looks so good, yet must be so crappy, right? I also ordered a speed crank and the “big wheel” seperately, and the speed crank has already come in handy on a huge rack focus that was a 1-1/2 turn.


I was immediately surprised by the box, and even more surprised by the build. Pretty solid, thick aluminum, and has so far withstood some serious cranking. I’ve been using it as an AC on an industrial shoot this week with the C300, going back and forth between Canon CN-E primes and L-series zooms (24-70mm and 70-200mm, both Mark II’s.)


The action feels slow, but there’s nothing loose. The slower action has actually helped me a lot with my pulls on the zoom lenses–those lenses have very small focus throws, and very fast at that (of course, being still photography lenses) so the slowness of the focus wheel actually helps me not miss my focus marks as often as I was with my last FF. But the stiffness also helps with pulls on the cinema primes.

So far, I’ve been very impressed with the quality. I will say that the unit is not very adjustable, though–I had to move the gearbox back one screw, in order to get it around the cinema primes width…


The only hiccup, and it’s not even that big, is changing the focus wheel. It will go on either side of the block, but must be changed with an allen wrench. I started keeping it in my tool belt, and it would take me about 20 seconds to flip the wheel to the other side. This seemed to change with each lens, too–probably because of the size of the mattebox vs. how far back the lens is–but it’s an inconvience that, frankly, is not going to be fixable until you’re spending upwards of $1,000. An Arri or Chrosziel unit will have double wheels, and extend further out from the chassis, but will also cost a lot of money.

So that’s my Fotga review, if you are stumbling around for such things on teh Internetz. Well worth the money, and will hopefully be with me until I can get a professional level unit.


One Response to “New Camera Stuff”


  1. Generic Mattebox & Follow Focus | diffusedlight - January 16, 2015

    […] is the size of the handwheels. I’m coming personally from using my Fotga DP3000 (reviewed here), which is all plastic but still really solid, and I also have big hands naturally. The Lensse […]

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