Focusing on the Follow Focus

Let’s focus on the follow focus!  A follow focus is a device used for controlling focus when shooting film or video.  It is an important tool in any filmmaker’s kit.  It allows for precision and stability whether working alone or with an assistant and enables you to be more efficient with your focusing. Let’s learn about Zacuto’s follow focus.

The Z-Drive

The Zacuto Z-Drive is a unique, universal direct drive follow focus, designed with single operator shoulder mounted rigs in mind. Because it has a universal joint and no internal gears it can’t develop play. It attaches to a single 15mm diameter rod and curves away from the operator at a 60 degree angle creating space and distance from the lens. This is the perfect follow focus for a Next Generation Recoil rig set up where the camera is directly over your shoulder. It can operate on the camera assistant or operators side of the rig positioned forward toward the lens or backward towards the tripod/dolly etc.. It comes with a fixed 1 ¾” diameter .8 pitch gear to connect to your lens. 

Zip Gears

In order to accurately and smoothly use a follow focus your lenses must be geared. If your lenses are not geared (like most DSLR and basic video camera lenses) you can add our ZipGear Universal to your lens and use the .8 gear that comes standard with the follow focus. The ZipGears are a .8 pitch 13.5” strap. Cut them to fit the circumference of your lens and tighten with a connector and Allen key. We offer a single ZipGear Universal and a pack of four called a Prime Lens Kit. You also have the option of purchasing them with or without stops. Find all these accessories and more here. 

Whip Ports

The  Z-Drive have standard whip ports for whips and other accessories.  Let’s look at those accessories now!

The Tornado is a special accessory for the Z-Drive.  It attaches via the whip port.  The curve in the Z-Drive brings focusing forward so you can reach it easily and the comfortable horn shape of the Tornado grip completes the setup. These products combine to create a unique mechanical follow focus handgrip perfect for single operator shoulder mounted work.


Z-Drive and Tornado

Z-Drive on the left and Tornado on the right

Zacuto offers both 12” and 6” whips which can be used with any  follow focus. A whip can be used to pull focus if you need to focus the camera without physically touching follow focus.  This tool can also prevent any vibrations or camera operator body shaking from transferring to the camera.

Zacuto Zwhip


If you have any questions about any of these accessories or would like assistance deciding which follow focus is right for you, please call, email or live chat with our friendly customer service team. We’d love to hear from you!

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4 Responses to “Focusing on the Follow Focus”

  1. Loren S. Miller on November 25th, 2013 7:11 pm

    Have you got a simple rig which offers follow-focus on one side and follow-FOCAL (as in ZOOM) on the other? I like to shoot two-fisted and would love to have such controls available near handles. In fact, I’d look seriously at any low profile rig which allows control over these lens aspects hold holding the DSLM left and right.

  2. Rachel Kenton on December 9th, 2013 3:53 pm
    Rachel Kenton

    What camera are you using? The Canon C series and Sony FS100 and 700 have removable camera controls that can control Zoom and we make relocators to put them at a handle. Okii makes something similar for all Canon DSLRs.

  3. Raymond Edward Moore Jr on May 14th, 2014 10:33 pm

    @RachelKenton or anyone that will be able to help me with this question: Exactly what do the relocates do? Does it place the zoom near the handle?

  4. Rachel Kenton on May 15th, 2014 10:10 am
    Rachel Kenton

    Our Relocators simply ‘relocate’ the removable camera grip/remote down to a handle position. For example, the Canon C100 and C300 cameras have a removable side grip that came control (among other things) 1 to 1 zoom on the camera. This ‘Relocator’ from Zacuto moves that grip under the lens:

About the Author

Rachel has been with Zacuto since 2009. She began working in the sales department and moved to marketing in 2013. In her role as Marketing Manager she oversees the gear loan and review program, affiliate program, blog content, and works with the team on overall marketing strategy. Rachel has a BA in Theatre with a focus on Directing from Arizona State University. Those who have spoken with her on the phone know she occasionally reveals her homeland by slipping into a British accent. Rachel likes tear-jerker sports movies, reading cook books for pleasure, and crossword puzzles. Contact her at


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