As those of you know once you get your lenses and your new DSLR youll find that manually focusing by hand is fine in the beginning but when you want to push your work to more professional results its best to use a follow focus and focus gears on your lenses in order to have the ability for more precise focus, the ability to rack focus, and to lessen camera lens shake on your footage.
Tim Ovel and his team at indiSYSTEM have been hard at work again this time on their new SNAP! gear.
This new design is a very nice upgrade to their previous focus gear rings. What makes indiSYSTEMs new design quite unique is that their focus gear is split in two halves and connected together with super strong magnets.What this allows is the ability to place the SNAP! gear ring on your lens and then remove it in a snap.
Snap! gears are sold in a set with five different gear sizes to cover most of your lenses:
At only $100 bucks for these set of five gears it’s a pretty sweet deal. And for those who need just one you can purchase the 70mm for $30 each.
Each set of SNAP! gears comes with squish as Tim likes to call it, or thin self-adhesive foam.
The squish looks like poly foam weather seal tape that you use for weather stripping your home. It rests between your lenses and the focus gear and does a good job of making up the difference if your lens diameter is a few mm smaller than the focus gear. In my case, I tested the 70mm with my Schneider 1:2/18-90 c-mount and the lens diameter was 65mm so I had to make up the difference by doubling the squish.
In my initial tests the adhesive just wasnt strong enough so Tim is sending some thicker squish and I look forward to using it and seeing if it will show better results. In the mean time, I doubled up on the squish that was already sent to me and secured it using some gorilla glue and and now the SNAP! gear fits nice and snug on my lens with no play between the lens and the SNAP! gear.
Here are just a few initial impressions so far.
- You gotta love the “snap” the magnets make. They are surprisingly super strong. Once you have the proper squish, you literally snap the gear on and your ready to go in seconds.
- One SNAP! gear can be used with your full set of lenses if they each share the same outside lens diameter.
- With magnets and squish, no need to worry about the stress of tightening up your gears with Allen wrenches and leaving marks on your lenses.
- I found the ½ inch wide gear great giving you plenty of grip using the MP’s indiFOCUS20.
- $100 for a set of five gears (70mm/75mm/80mm/85mm/90mm) is a great deal and covers most of your lenses.
- Dont place your hard drive or SD cards near the magnets for obvious reasons.
- The current adhesive when placing squish on top of each other is not the strongest so you lose the stickiness on the adhesive and need to use something strong like gorilla glue to keep it together. (Will wait on the new “squish” adhesive hopefully that should solve it.)
- 70mm is the smallest size gear so currently you need some hefty squish to make up the difference with smaller lenses. It would be nice to have smaller gear sizes especially for my Canon FDs and c-mount lenses but it sounds like 70m is currently the smallest gear size that indiSYSTEM is offering.
Here is an initial test with the SNAP! gear and indiRAILSpro MP using my GH1 and Schneider 1:2/18-90 c-mount lens.
The first test was doing a rack focus test with theatrical lighting after a poetry event at the Asian Arts Initiative. I’m shooting with a c-mount zoom so there is typically a smaller image circle and also some vignetting. The lens is still pretty sharp and has a lot of character and it pairs nicely with the SNAP! gear and indiFOCUS20.