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help me build a good wireless focus system

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#1 Daniel Builes Montaño

Daniel Builes Montaño

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 12:19 PM

A few months ago i bought a steadicam zephyr and now i want to buy a wireless focus system and i want to know if anybody could suggest me a good focus system
that is compatible with the steadicam zephyr power connection, and help me choose all the different parts that i need to build it

thank you.
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#2 Wolfgang Troescher

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 01:50 PM

Hi Daniel,

I´m using the Hocus Focus System with my Zephyr. I´m really satisfied with it, but improper for big lenses (too weak motor).


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#3 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 02 November 2011 - 03:34 PM

Best solution depends on your desired market....

If you're just doing your own projects, or indie/low budget projects with DSLR lenses or video lenses (up to broadcast cameras) the Hocus Focus gets good reviews. As Wolfgang noted, the HoFo will not work with cinema lenses due to the motor strength. It also is not compatible with any other manufacturers' motors. Also, on higher end shoots, you're expected to bring "industry-standard" kit, and that means -- at the least -- a Bartech Focus Device (BFD).

Hocus Products is on the verge of putting out a new product, the Hocus Focus Pro (HoFoPro), which features a new digital motor design and also can accept digital motors from other manufacturers. New, unproven product but looks promising.

Bartech (BFD) and Preston are the industry standard solutions. Bartech=rugged, reliable, proven, lower-priced. Preston=pricey, proven, elegant, multi-channel (for focus/zoom/iris).

Assuming you're just getting started, consider renting a follow focus system from a local camera house or other operator until your business supports buying. You should get friendly with your local camera rental houses anyway.

Cheapest solution that can handle cinema lenses, including motor, would be a used analog Bartech system with an analog M1 or Heden motor (and an assortment of differently-pitched gears).

Next up, a used digital Bartech system with digital M1 or Heden motor.

Then, a new digital Bartech system with digital M1 or Heden motor.

A Preston system will be the most expensive (new or used).

Cables: you'll need a cable (available from Bartech) for powering the receiver from the sled. Archer/Clipper/Zephyr power cable, see their website. Used systems often come with power cables to power the receiver from cameras that have power outputs, but this is convenience and not mandatory. Also start-stop cables...convenient but not absolutely necessary. Search the archives for more info.

Other than that, you'll need a way to mount your motor, which means a rods system for your camera base, and/or a 15mm rods bracket that Tiffen sells, that bolts to your dovetail.

There are a few other systems out there, most of them should be steered clear of.

I hope that gets you started on your research. Others may have different opinions or info to share. Good luck!

Jim Bartell (Bartech) and Peter Hoare (Hocus Products) both are forum members, too.
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#4 Victor Lazaro

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Posted 20 March 2013 - 10:12 PM

Hey Mark,

the clamp you are referring to is this one http://www.steadicam...temnum=250-7915 ?

Does this fit the Zephyr dovetail? 

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