Budget Follow Focus – Reviewed Again

Another review based around the recent Budget Follow Focus which has been coined as the RJ Follow Focus. (More news on that soon). This review from Just Basl Productions is a bit longer more thorough and should answer any questions you have, and also compares it against another Follow Focus system. A few people have mentioned about the QC (quality control) of these FF's coming out of the factory. Assembly might be a bit inconsistent, so if you receive yours with a little bit of play there are a few screws inside the gear box that can be tightened up.

General Consensus from buyers of the RJ FF? It's good, and for the price - it's great. Oh and don't forget you'll need a set of Rails to mount something like this, and sometimes you can get killer deals with the Gini Rigs.

Screen shot 2011-05-28 at 5.33.23 PM
find-price-button Gini DSLR Rig Stabilizer Kits

Screen shot 2011-06-05 at 9.08.17 PMScreen shot 2011-06-05 at 9.08.26 PM
find-price-button DSLR Follow Focus with Lens Gears

33 thoughts on “Budget Follow Focus – Reviewed Again

  1. Rob

    Just a little update for anyone who's interested. I returned the follow focus and they sent a replacement. The replacement had the exact same problem. I guess it's a manufacturing fault with the entire batch. I didn't want to risk a third so I returned it and got a refund. I had to pay return postage twice though which was a bit of a pain.

    Anyway, I decided to try my luck with a Fotga DP500 II S and it's amazing. I'm not kidding, absolutely 0% play/backlash in it what-so-ever. Weirdly, Fotga do a lot of different combinations of hard stops, mounts etc. all labelled "DP500 II S" that aren't distinguished by their own names. Mine has the quick release type rail mounts, two hard stops and the adjustable position marker.

    I shopped around and got the Fotga for only about £20 more than I paid for the RJ, and in my opinion, even if the RJ hadn't had any faults, it still wouldn't even come close to the Fotga. It feels really solid, well built, fits on the rails snugly (I didn't mention before, the RJ didn't fit the rails very well), the adjustable dampening works well.

  2. Emm

    Post author

    @Rob - Sounds like you may have something that needs to be replaced. Doesn't sound like the same as others have.

  3. Rob

    I have just bought the slightly newer version of this with the hard stops. The play/backlash is really disappointing... it seems to be worse in my case than what I have seen in the few video reviews I've watched.

    The cause of the play seems to be that the brass (I think) innermost part of the hole/socket into which the external gear is mounted pops in and out by about 1mm.

    I'm aware of the clamp shaft/pin issue and how to fix that with a bit of tinfoil or tape. But this issue of the socket part popping in and out seems to cause much more of a problem and I can't think of any way to fix it.

    Clutching at straws, I tried looking inside the gear box, as I've seen a few people mention there are screws you can tighten... I couldn't see any screws though, even when I removed as much of the grease as I could (don't worry, I put it back).

    Is it worth me returning it or is this problem typical? Any suggestions or potential fixes?

  4. I have one of these, I ordered direct from the manufacturer in China privately as I was looking at doing a bulk order into the UK - but this video is what inspired me to track them down! Thank you. 😉

    In my experience - the play is horrendous but is not in the gearbox itself, and it is quite a simple fix with no screws. allen keys, or fingers covered in grease to worry about.

    If you look at the part where the external gear (the one that connects to the gear around the camera) connects to the gearbox itself, it is designed so that it can be moved to either the front or the back, or used on the left or the right of the camera. Whilst this is good for people who want to use it right or left handed, or any nutters who want to rig a second one up the other side for zoom on a telephoto the split pin that it uses provides a very loose clamp around the pin in the middle of the barrel it sits in.

    I found that if i held the external gear with my finger and moved the focus wheel, i could actually see the pin inside moving through about 10 degrees of movement left and right before it gathered enough torque to move the gear.

    At first i tried bending the split pin into more of a V-shape, but because the metal is so soft, as soon as there was any resistance from the friction of the gearing, it opened back out again.

    The solution? bend a c-shape bit of tinfoil, (or aluminum/aluminium foil) and put it inside the split pin, then push that back through the barrel, basically making a much more "snug" fit.

    If you use too much it wont go back on, and too little you wont find a difference. but if you get it just right you will find it eliminates all of the play in the gearing - just dont take it off mid shoot, as you may lose the tinfoil and then it's back to being delayed, and if we are completely honest - totally inaccurate compared to manually focusing the good old fashioned way.

    Hope this helps someone, i love this bit of kit after this little change and it now has a permanent place on my shoulder rig.

  5. Jacob

    How did you tighten the gear to minimize play? When i open it from below by the four umbraco's, all i see is a gear wheel and a lot of grease, but no screws to tighten? It would be awesome if someone would explain how you did.

    Thanks for a great blog!

  6. @Alex -

    I've just started having problems with the metal knob underneath the FF plate - it looks like the screw has actually stripped the threads of the bolt itself - so it no longer tightens.

    I've probably only used it half a dozen times, and I'm not happy at all. I may just find a bolt with the right thread size and see if that will work in the interim.


  7. alex

    I've had a lot of problems with this gear since getting it a month ago. There is a lot of play in the gears. Tomorrow I will open it up as suggested here and see if I can tighten it up. As for the rails, great price and design, but big problems. When the flimsy plastic tightening screws are all the way tightened, they STILL slip on the rails. Same with the metal screw on the bottom of the FF unit. All the way tight and it just falls off the rails. I'm contacting them to see if they can send me another if they have improved it since the past month. The price is great, looks pro, design is good, but lots of problems. If they can fix these, they have a winner. Hope they do.... Alex

  8. Just got mine. Almost a month later.. This is cool, but it needs to have adjustable height. I know, it would make it more expensive, but now I can't use my quick release with it. Quite inconvenient.

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  10. I initially had some problems with my RJ Follow Focus – lots of play and blacklash. I opened up the gearbox, tightened the 5/64″ allen screws on two of the gears, closed it back up, and now it works perfectly. Zero play.

  11. the ebay link says DSLR Follow Focus FF for 15mm rod support 60D 600D 5D2
    meaning it WOn't fit on a 7d?
    if so, what are the alternatives for a 7D?

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  14. Hello,

    I finally have RJ Follow Focus and Rail rod system hand grip, maybe somebody can recommend me Quick Release Mounting Plate which I can put between FF and Rail rod system hand grip? Reason: I'm using 550D and when Rail rod system hand grip on I can not change battery.

    Thank you.

  15. Ordered the FF on the June 25th. Still doesn't show that it even shipped out. I also ordered Gini's DLSR rig Pro-10 or whatever.. for less than $300. got it within a couple days and I'm ridiculously impressed with it.

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  17. I just ordered the FF and the base/grip as well. I also elected to add on the shoulder mount. I can't wait for it to get here so I can try it out! Hopefully it won't take too long to get here!

  18. Spotbox

    I ordered mine on 6/8 and finally received it today. Overall, really impressed with the build quality. However, the one unfortunate flaw is the size of the insert for a crank or whip. It's still not correct. I believe I had read that it was too big, but now it's too small!

  19. alex

    I ordered my follow focus, rail system, and the fold-up one that was profiled here a while ago, and all arrived today (took only a weekend to get here, but that's from China to Singapore, so its closer than the US). All I can say on all three items is: wow. This stuff rocks. Such value for money. There is a tiny bit of play on the ff but its very slight and I think it can be tightened. The rail system is great (make sure you get the shoulder addition for only $20), only complaint there is that the knobs are plastic and seem cheap (improvement: make them metal), the rest is well made. I made a connector for the fold-up system and made that into a very sturdy cage type platform that allow me to do low level shots with a monitor. All in all, very happy with everything that I got.

    Also, thanks to this website and all of Emm's hard work in putting it together, I've made a lot of smart and informed buying choices over the past six months, and I'm happy with every single one of them. Thanks Emm!!

  20. clem

    Has anybody received the rail rod system hand grip from the same seller ?

    It seems not that bad, i'm thinking of using it with my 550D/T2i but i'm not even sure if it fits or not...Anybody can help on this ?

    I saw the Ginis one, the K-92 seems like a really great deal,
    and an excellent look to it too,
    Thanks for all the work here Emm...really appreciated !

  21. Tom

    Yeah, I think they have around 260 orders right now....and I think they are making some last minute changes.

    I have never owned one, so I can wait a little longer.. I am going to a shoot on the 31st of July, I would like it for that.

  22. Emm

    Post author

    @slicKrox - I think they will all come through, but it will take some time. They are really backlogged.

  23. I'm also ordered mine with Rail rod system hand grip for Follow Focus on 21.06.11 and have no idea when it will arrive, because now in their ebay profile:

    "Thanks for all your support. We're gearing up to meet your needs, but delay in shipping is still foreseeable. Very sorry for the inconvenience. If you need immediate delivery, please hold the purchase till our further notice. You're always welcome to message us to discuss your specific needs, and we're all ears."

    :/ I hope that will not took too long.

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