Zacuto wanted to look at ways of making the follow focus a more ergonomic and effective product for single operators. Two years into production and the Z-Drive is complete; a direct drive, compact angular follow focus unit.
The Z-Drive looks like a great piece of kit for run and gun setups. It mounts onto 15mm rails. The 60 degree angle in which the Z-Drive protrudes from the camera enables you to operate the focus whilst keeping your hand in a more natural position, which would help with reducing fatigue caused with traditional setups.
As presented in the video, incorporation with Zacuto’s Tornado grip reduces the risk of camera wobble when adjusting to operate the focus. This is due to the focus control now being inbuilt into the hand grip.
The Z-Drive uses no gears; it’s a direct drive follow focus (no gears for mechanical operation, it still communicates with the lens via a .8 pitch gear). Said to mimic the drive trains used in automobiles, the design helps alleviate play.
As well at the Tornado, the Z-Drive is also compatible with other accessories such as a whip, it’s has a ‘slender’ marking disc, and can be mounted on both sides of the camera.
It’s currently listed for $522.50 from B&H