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 http://www.indisystem.com/products/snap_gears) 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 Jag35.com, one size fits all, and I have posted additional details below. 

$29.99

 
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 Jag35.com, below are the details.
 
$139.99

 Again, thanks for the question and hope this helps!
Rod
 
***NOTE:  If you do go with the Jag35.com 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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