Customer Reviews: 50-Dollar Follow Focus
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on January 5, 2013
I am a newbie filmmaker still learning the ropes. One thing that I learned quickly was that I needed to either be a millionaire to enjoy this hobby (possible profession?), or be content watching others do it on Vimeo! That's why I think HONDO GARAGE'S 50 DOLLAR FOLLOW FOCUS is so cool! The guys behind this thing pitched their idea on Kickstarter in order to raise the capital ($10,000) needed to build and sell this ingenious device. The response was so overwhelming, not only did they meet their target goal but more than doubled it!

The Hondo Garage follow focus is very well constructed and small, not at all cheaply made with a very pleasing aesthetic. The small size was important especially when using my dslr cage rig. With my matte box, cage, microphone, LCD monitor, etc.,etc., assembled, the follow focus attached quite easily. Unlike the traditional follow focus, the 50 Dollar follow focus is incredibly precise. Most traditional follow focus' have a gear enclosure, and with more gears there is more room for "play" while turning the focus knob. Not so with Hondo Garage's follow focus, as they describe it, "Inherent gear reduction means precise focus control, even on cheap photo lenses", and I find this to be true. The Hondo Garage follow focus also has a repositionable lever so you can set marks and use it even on long-throw lenses.

We all know that the camera we use when filming is important, however the glass (lenses) are more important than the camera body. And unfortunately to get a really good piece of cine-glass is going to cost a fortune, so why spend $2,3,4 or even $500+ on a follow focus kit, when In my opinion some pretty clever guys came up with an awesome solution! I'll take the hundreds of dollars I saved and spend it on quality glass! Regrettably I did not purchase it from Amazon - they only had the follow focus, not the entire kit. The kit includes adapters for various lens sizes and an adapter for utilizing a follow focus whip. Hopefully Amazon in the future will pick up more Hondo Garage gear! I recommend this to anyone looking for a truly inexpensive, quality built follow focus for their film/video needs!
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on June 10, 2013
I really wish it came with two lens belts. The only one that comes with it is too small for most of my lenses. To buy a bigger belt, you have to order directly from their website, where they charge WAY too much for shipping a single belt that could probably be easily shipped in a single letter sized stamped envelope.

Second, the belt doesn't always grip the focus well depending on the lens. If there is even a slight bit of resistance to your focus ring (most pro lenses have some resistance and there isn't compatible cleating on your ring, this belt will probably slip at the worst possible time. This is my biggest complaint. They do offer a different grip wheel for extra $$ (again offered on their external website with overpriced shipping), but i didn't want to spend any more money without the guarantee it would work.

I ended up inventing my own grip for my lens which involves putting a strip of gaff tape folded in loops around the outside of the lens, so that the sticky side comes in contact with the belt and gives it extra traction. However, this is more than I wanted to do when I purchased this. If you have small stock lenses with barely any resistance to them, this device will work. Otherwise, get the real deal.
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on January 10, 2013
We all know you could do a DIY follow focus for less than $50 dollars and honestly I cant afford those more expensive follow focuses out there. So I found this $50 follow focus(really $60) and I saw the video of how it was made,how it worked and red and black are my favorite colors so I decided to order it.. I got to say I was really happy with my purchase. It works great with all my lenses. It makes my setup look more professional thats one thing for sure. Some DIY follow focus dont make you look professional at all.. I would've giving it a 5star but there is only 2 things I disliked...1. The follow focus won't circle the focus ring all the way, you would have to adjust for certain focusing(which is rare)... and 2. It's not $50 dollars
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on June 5, 2013
This little guy is amazing. It works perfectly and the company that makes them is really cool too. Bought this thinking it would be a good substitute until I could afford a gear based one. Now I think ill just stick with this. Its really actually quite a joy to use. Smooth and durable definitely recommend.
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on April 26, 2013
I have a 'regular' follow-focus for my EF-S 18-135mm 3.5-5.6, but I thought this would be a great tool to control the zoom on the lens.

The quality of the mechanism is great, but the tightening knob is too small to get really good leverage and crank it down. Furthermore, there should be a separate screw knob pushes the mechanism frame away from the clamp and increase the belt tension, rather than pushing it tightly away from my lens while the other hand tries to screw the tiny knob.

Lastly, the belt and bushing/gear/thing should be the size of standard follow focus gears, like Half Inch Rails' Zip-Tie Lens gear. This would make the application to my heavier zoom ring a snap.

EDIT: I was informed by Hondo Garage that they have accessories available on their web site, including a larger star nut to tighten the clamp, as well as a Cine-pitch gear that is compatible with the Zip-Tie Lens gear I mentioned above.
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on April 29, 2013
I'm a part-time video producer and don't have a ton of money to sink into equipment. I've been picking up stuff as I go along but the cost of a decent follow focus has been ridiculous. It's just a geared wheel yet some companies want over $300! I read the reviews on this one and ordered and I'm not disappointed! This is a smooth, solid, well-made piece of equipment! It's machining is extremely good, smooth, no burrs, teeth are excellent and it looks great too. There was a slight delay in shipping and Hondo sent me an email explaining why and a free rebuild kit. That's some good customer service! NOTE: If you are buying to use with Canon L Series lenses be sure to get a large belt. The one that comes with it won't fit. I wound up ordering a large belt and the 50-Dollar Follow Focus PRO Pack so I can have one to pull focus and one to zoom.
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on April 4, 2014
I have a DSLR shoulder rig and needed a cost-effective follow focus. This works really well for what I need, and I actually like the lever action as opposed to the wheel action of other products.

I've had a few instances where I've had to adjust the tension of the unit on the 15mm rod, but overall I'm quite happy with it and would recommend it to anyone looking for a good solution at a low cost.
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on April 11, 2013
This is very well built although I would strongly urge the Hondo Garage folks to offer this follow focus both here on Amazon and on their website in kits with the various accessory configuration they make. As is, the follow focus come with a small wheel and belt which I found unusable for my DSLR lenses. Even with the optional larger wheel and larger belt that can be order for an additional $25 from Hondo Garage, I found the belt drive arrangement to be finicky. I ordered the optional gear wheel and lens gear instead which makes this an excellent device for my camera setup. Lens gears are cheap so you can put them on all your lenses for not much money. The gear configuration for this $50 Follow Focus works great for me with no backlash often found on cheap follow focus rigs. I am using it to adjust the zoom on my Nikon 24-70
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on February 25, 2013
Finally a follow focus that actually works on my custom rig! The only problem I can point out is that the wheel may be too small to take your lens from one end to the other. This is a simple engineering fix though. Just make the wheel twice as large so that it only takes the lever 180 degrees to go through all of the focus progressions . You guys are on to something though!
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on July 30, 2014
This has to be the best Follow Focus / Zoom Control I've found. It's worked flawlessly and moves from camera to camera as I go up in pixel count!! The picture shows you how it works. Basically a little handle that you move to change your focus. The handle (black) can be unscrewed so that you can twist the red part without upsetting the current setting. It also allows you to re-center the handle so that you can move in and out from your new focal point. For instance say you are focused at 5 ft and you puller handle is at the bottom of it's range. You unscrew the handle, move it to the horizontal position,re screw/tighten the handle and now 5ft is the middle of your range. If you need a different gear ratio or lens size Hondo has the parts. Call them and tell them I sent you !!
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