Sunday, 20 November 2011
Follow focus for Lumix GH1
After weeks of experimenting with different follow focus systems I've settled for this one.
The problem with cheap follow focus systems is backlash. With most of them the backlash is so large that it's impossible to do precise focussing. The main reason for the backlash is the 90 degree gear between the white knob and the lens gear. The follow focus system I have found uses a worm gear which has virtually no backlash at all.
The follow focus can be obtained from ebay, for example here. There is also a nice review on YouTube (thanks, Alan). However, the gears coming with this follow focus are pretty horrible because they are very hard to tighten. Better are the gears which are shown in the picture and are also widely available on e-bay.
In terms of the rod support: I have modified the rail system to allow hand camera operation. For this purpose I bought a flash adapter for a medium format camera. It has a nice large mounting plate, a large grip and it is very easy to attach it to the camera. I could have screwed the quick release plate directly on the flash adapter but that was not very stable so I used a bracket from B&Q and added a standard camera thread. All in all a weekend of plumbing. Bottomline: having a good rod support system saves loads of time. A warning: don't buy the Indian rod support systems. They are pretty horrendous and you need to buy expensive extras to have a complete system.
The lens I'm using on the camera is a 28-70mm f/2.8 Olympus OM with m4/3 adapter. For shallower depth of field I have a Canon FD f/1.4 with m4/3 adapter. For wide angle shots I'm using a Samyang 14mm F/2.8 EOS with m4/3 adapter. Because of the adapters you can buy all these high quality FD/OM/... lenses which are much more robust than the plasticky Panasonic lenses and they are just mechanical with no electronic parts. These lenses also cost a fraction of the auto focus lenses. This gives also a very long battery lifetime for the GH1 of about 4 hours.
Films made with this camera setup: