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Kickstarter: Lens/Focus Shifter - Lens Mounted Follow Focus

If you shot video on your DSLR, creating a smooth, professional follow-focus motion can be costly for high-end equipment. Not to mention having to lug it around. What if there was a $45 solution that works on any DSLR lens and easy to carry around?

Daniel Bauen and Mark McJunkin at Microfacturing are looking to create just that. By using the popular website Kickstarter, Microfacturing is looking to gain backing and support from the photo and video community to manufacture and distribute what could be a game-changing product for those of us who are looking to get into video and follow-focus mechanisms for the first time, or for those who might be looking for a small, portable system to take on location.

By using a rubber gasket, the Focus Shifter is able to fit around any commonly-used SLR lens and provide a follow focus motion that is infinitely more stable and accurate than even the steadiest of bare hands. The ‘KISS’ design approach is readily noticeable, and will certainly be appreciated by those who are looking to work quickly and efficiently.

Continue reading for a video of the product in action and how it might perform. For more information or interested in pledging, visit Microfacturing’s Focus Shifter Kickstarter Page.

The Lens/Focus Shifter is a stand-alone follow focus and focus marker board that can be used on any camera lens. No extra equipment is required.

It's perfect for filmmakers, photographers, and anyone wanting to step-up their production capabilities. It gives you professionalism without breaking your budget.

The re-useable Focus Marker allows you to create marks for your focus points using a dry-erase marker. The arrow on the Shifter facilitates quick and easy transition between focus points.

The Shifter and Focus Marker attach quickly and easily to any lens from small 50 mm 1.8 lenses, to large zoom and wide angle lenses. It will fit lens diameters from 56mm (2.20in) up to 98mm (3.86in). If you're measuring circumference, distance around the lens, it fits from 176mm (6.93in) to 308mm (12.12in). In the rare case that you need something larger or smaller than that, pledge at the CUSTOM SHIFTER level and specify the diameter.

To attach the Shifter, simply slip it over the lens, onto the focus ring and tighten it down with the ball end. The Focus Marker attaches to the lens with an elastic band, and has over-molded rubber feet to hold it in place.

The Shifter operates on the full dynamic range of the lens. Its design allows you to smoothly pull focus without any jarring starts or stops. The ball design is easy to grasp so you can avoid twisting your hand into uncomfortable positions when pulling focus. For a lens with a narrow focus rings, you can prevent your fingers from falling into the frame, by keeping them at a safe distance.

Using the Shifter improves manual focus speed and accuracy when taking photographs. It's especially helpful with lenses that have a shallow depth of field, and need fine adjustments. Get another one to use for zoom.

Each Shifter set includes:
  • "Voters Choice Name" Shifter
  • Focus Marker Board
  • Bag of black elastic bands to hold the Focus Marker Board to the lens.
  • Fine tip dry erase marker
Many Shifters and Focus Markers have already been made on our 3-D rapid prototype and precision CNC equipment, and tested by local film makers. We have a fully functioning manufacturing facility for small to medium scale production. Our products are all manufactured in the US in part of our grass-roots effort to bring the builders back, and avoid lost time on long flights to Asia just to kick the vendors in gear. It's a lot more efficient to drive down the road, or fly a few states over to get what you need. The Shifters are made from strong plastic in order to keep them lightweight, so that they don't shift the focus when the camera moves around. Kick-starting funds will go towards expensive injection molds, molding, CNC machining, and assembly line, for the Focus/Lens Shifters that will be delivered to you.

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