Ask Rod – “Focus Ring?”

via email – Hi Rod,I’m new to DSLR photography and video.  I bought the 550D/T2i for its great capabilities for the price — and for its video capability.

I learned quickly that, while you can get amazing depth of view, it also requires a lot of manual focusing (something I’m still getting used to).  I’ve found it quite cumbersome to stay focused on subjects that are moving (like my 1 year old son). I noticed in some of your shots in your monopod/tripod post that you have some sort of extended ring around your lens.  What is that thing called?  Do you have any recommendations?  (I was looking at Do you have to get one specifically for each lens?  Are they expensive?  Does it make a big difference? Best Regards! -Jeff 


 Aloha Jeff, Great question!   Like you, I am rather new to shooting video on an DSLR and have found it can have some challenges, but the good news is, there are workarounds!  I know exactly what you mean about the focusing issues as I too was having trouble keeping up with my 3 yr. old.  Let’s face it, the T2i/550D was made to be a still camera, so the issues you are having focusing in video mode is no fault of yours, it’s designed to be like that.  One solution I have found, which you saw in the tripod pic, is using a “lens gear”.  These are extremely inexpensive tools that have greatly increased my ability to focus correctly and quickly.  You can pick these up at, one size fits all, and I have posted additional details below. 


Also, if you want to take it a step further, you can think about getting a “follow focus”.  These ingenious little devices will allow you focus without using the lens barrel.  I have one on order and will post a review when I get it.  These were designed by Dave Aldrich and distributed by the fine people at, below are the details.

 Again, thanks for the question and hope this helps!
***NOTE:  If you do go with the follow focus solution, you will need to order the (3) parts below in order to function without a cage or rods etc.  These items will allow you to mount the follow focus directly to your camera.
 If this has helped you, please leave a comment below!
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