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The 9 Best, Budget-Friendly Follow Focuses on the Market

Tanner Shinnick

Get more precise control over your image! Take a look at our favorite affordable mechanical follow focuses—there’s one for every budget!

A follow focus system is essential for the modern cinematographer who demands more precise control over their final image. If you’re ready to add a focus follow to your setup, take a look at the nine systems on this list. They’re all well-reviewed and priced to move.

1. Neewer: $40

Neewer’s A-B Stop Follow Focus C2. Image via Neewer.

Neewer makes an ultra-affordable follow focus that’s perfect for today’s budget-minded indie filmmaker. This dynamic system that can be utilized on your next short film project or your next paid gig. At only $40, you’ll be able to rig out your camera even more with all the money saved.

Specs from the manufacturer:

  • Integrated with A/B hard stops, which have easy begin/end setups for fast repeatable racking between two points, and makes focusing lenses that have no hard stops (such as Canon EF lenses) much easier
  • Mounts onto 15mm rod supports (60mm center-to-center difference)
  • Gear drive can be mounted from both sides
  • White mark ring made of magnet material for faster, easier on/off functionality

2. Tilta Mini Follow Focus: $99

The Tiltaing Mini Follow Focus. Image via Tilta.

Tilta creates a variety of quality cinema products, and the Mini Follow Focus is a nice addition to their arsenal. With its compact design and affordable price point, this compact follow focus system is a solid addition to anyone’s kit.

Specs from the manufacturer:

  • Made as a single unit with the ability to adjust the single rod attachment to fit any size cine lens or photo lens
  • Single rod attachment mounts to any standard 15mm rail
  • Focus wheel features 360-degree rotation with adjustable hard stops
  • Focus wheel also features a fluid dampening system that helps with precision focusing
  • Marking disk is removable, can be marked and cleaned for repeated use
  • Kit includes Mini Follow Focus, zip tie follow focus ring, 15mm single rod attachment, two allen keys, 15x100mm black aluminum rod, portable case

3. SmallRig Mini Follow Focus: $99

The SmallRig Mini Follow Focus 3010. Image via SmallRig.

SmallRig makes solid filmmaking products at attractive prices. Their Mini Follow Focus system delivers on these parameters. Compact, well-built, and affordable, this follow focus system is a smart addition for camera builds—big and small.

Specs from the manufacturer:

  • Designed for easy and quick focus control in video shooting
  • Quick-release Tie-style Focus Gear Ring 3284 fits lenses of various diameters, drives through standard 0.8 MOD gears with different numbers of teeth
  • Marking ring can be easily removed and replaced, AB marks are adjustable for easy switch between AB focal length and full focal length
  • Features anti-sweat, anti-slip focus knob providing comfortable dampening control
  • Can be mounted at different angles

4. Edelkrone FocusONE: $120

Edelkrone FocusONE
The Edelkrone FocusONE. Image via Edelkrone.

With pen-free marking and a standard 0.8 pitch gear, the Edelkrone FocusONE is a fresh design take on the classic follow focus.

Specs from the manufacturer:

  • Single 15mm rod mount design allows you to mount the FocusONE on either side of the lens, or even from above, if your rod system features a rod above the lens
  • Handwheel position is adjustable for maximum comfort
  • Adjustable design works with virtually any diameter lens
  • Marker disk is extremely accurate, positioned between the gearbox and the lens drive gear
  • Marker disk is easily viewed by the camera operator, allowing for more precise focus pulls

5. FOTGA DP500 III: $200

If you’re looking for the perfect balance of robust features, classic design, durability, and price point, the FOTGA DP500 III is a solid choice. This system features A and B hard stops to grab those perfectly choreographed camera moves and focus pulls.

Specs from the manufacturer:

  • Material: Sturdy metal CNC machined, handwheel covered with well-made, weather-resistant rubber
  • Long-life, precision-engineered gearbox enables accurate and reliable focusing, with two levels of adjustable damping
  • Drive gear can be mounted from both sides (both right-handed and left-handed)
  • Integrated with A/B hard stops, stoppers can be detached and stored in slots within follow focus
  • Can use different size gears to meet your need with different lenses
  • Comes with three size gears (M0.8-38T / M0.8-43T / M0.8-65T)
  • Works with speed crank and speed whip with a standard 12x12mm connector, flexible gear belt can be adjusted from 46mm to 110mm—compatible with different lens

6. SHAPE LW Follow Focus: $400

SHAPE’s LW Follow Focus. Image via SHAPE.

The Canadian filmmaking accessory company SHAPE makes a solid no-frills, lightweight follow focus system. With a variety of accessories in the package, the SHAPE LW offers a nice middle-ground between quality and value.

Specs from the manufacturer:

  • Designed for compact cameras
  • Allows addition and removal of components without tools or screws
  • Follow focus wheel with crank and whip
  • Single 15 mm rod clamp, swing arm design
  • 5x drive gears included, 1:1 gear ratio
  • 4x magnetic marking disks
  • Anti-slip rubber focus knob
  • Compatible with most lenses
  • Aluminum construction

7. Wooden Camera Zip Focus: $500

The Wooden Camera Zip Focus. Image via Wooden Camera.

The Wooden Camera Zip Focus is the follow focus system that I know, love, trust, and use on my personal camera package. This full-sized unit is perfect for the documentary or run-and-gun shooter, and you’ll find it valuable in the studio as well. With A and B markers on the focus ring, you can dial in precise pulls to nail your focus every time.

Specs from the manufacturer:

  • Single-sided follow focus is built to attach directly to a 15mm lightweight rod and has a gear ratio of 1:1
  • Pivots and adjusts to fit any lens, and utilizes minimal space
  • Included 0.8 MOD cine lens gear and friction gear can be flipped to the front or back position, which is helpful for compact lens configurations
  • Hard stop disc can be used with DSLR lenses with infinite focus rotation.
  • 1x hard stop disk
  • 2x marking disks
  • 1x friction gear
  • 1x 0.8 MOD 35 tooth

8. Zacuto Z-Drive: $550

The Zacuto Z-Drive. Image via Zacuto.

If you find the camera up and on your shoulder often, then the Zacuto Z-Drive was designed for you. This reliable follow focus system is ultra-compact and, honestly, looks like it was built for speed.

Specs from the manufacturer:

  • Follow focus for shoulder-mounted rigs
  • 60° curved design
  • Single 15mm rod port
  • 0.8 pitch, 1.75″ diameter gear
  • Standard accessory port for whips/cranks
  • No internal gears for zero play 

9. ARRI Mini Follow Focus: $1,670

ARRI Mini Follow Focus
ARRI’s Mini Follow Focus. Image via ARRI.

ARRI is considered the gold standard in filmmaking, and the company’s follow focus systems are top notch, with a robust build and uncompromising quality. While the price point is significantly higher than the other systems on this list, this tool will last an entire career.

Specs from the manufacturer:

  • Cine or HD style
  • Unique space-saving, snap-on bridge mechanism
  • Plunger mechanism that engages adjustable, hard stops for lenses with infinite rotation
  • Hard stop knob is a fixed part of the unit
  • Reversing feature for Nikon and Leica lenses
  • Compatible with a wide range of ARRI driver gears and knob accessories
  • Durable and lightweight

How to Use a Follow Focus

Now that you’ve figured out which focus follow system to add to your kit, learn how to put it to work. In the ten-minute video above, PremiumBeat’s Chuck Crosswhite runs through everything you need to know about using a follow focus on your next production.

Looking for more filmmaking gear reviews and video production tips? Here you go!

Cover image via Tilta.