So you've been looking for a zoom rocker on your DSLR? This is one solution (but it's PL only and expensive). While the zoom lenses for Canon cameras (or any DSLR for that matter) do not have proper teeth for a zoom control to grip to, VizTools has come up with a solution called the HandiZoom. After adding a gear to each lens, it gives you complete control of any zoom, and allows variable zooming with the attached zoom rocker controller.
Originally posted by Dan Chung at DSLR News Shooter, check out this video of the HandiZoom in action:
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PiqT4gVEa0s
The HandiZoom attaches to a rail system underneath the camera. This is going to be the best solution you're going to find if you're interested in using a DSLR camera in a similar way to an ENG camera. It will also you to control certain camera functions, like magnify and iris, using the usb port - similar to the Okii and Manfrotto controllers. It will need power - so you'll be looking for a battery that can do 5V-15V DC.
I've shot plenty of stuff where I've really wanted a zoom rocker but I prefer the look and soft backgrounds that a DSLR gives me. It's not even necessarily about being shallow, but having the backgrounds a little out of focus really brings your subject forward, and it's just harder to do on the wider focal lengths of a fixed lens on a 1/3" or 2/3" camera. Even if you don't need the zoom controller, I think it'd be interesting to use this attached to a handheld rig - because I've always preferred putting a camera on my shoulder and having the other hand free for focus and anything else.
If the price is right (no word yet since this hasn't reached the manufacturing phase), this is going to be a lifesaver to tons of shooters who do primarily live shooting. For weddings and similar events, it's often necessary to zoom - and sometimes you've only got one shot at something and you need the zoom move to be gentle and smooth. This can't be done very easily when you're hand-holding - like you could if it were an ENG camera. Speaking of that, this could also make DSLRs legitimate news gathering cameras. All you need is the rig, and it will function almost as good as your Panasonic or Sony 2/3" broadcast camera (and better in low-light!) - though it would still be missing the ND filters - and the codec makes editing a little more complicated (not to mention that tape is still used in many places). Either way, this could be a fantastic addition for anyone who does a lot of live shooting and needs the zoom motions to be smooth.
Link: VizTools - Website
[via DSLR News Shooter]