Affordable wireless follow-focus systems are all the rage these days. Now SmallRig has gotten in on the action.
At one point, dummy follow focus units were insanely expensive until small companies started making them more affordable. The big players soon moved to wireless systems as ACs and dedicated focus pullers moved away from the camera. Those were also expensive.
But when demand is there, the products will follow, and affordable wireless follow focus units from companies like Tilta, Redrock Micro, and CAME-TV started to show up not soon after.
Now, the SmallRig has joined the crowd with the SmallRig MagicFIZ Wireless Follow Focus System. Priced to compete with the popular offering from Tilta, SmallRig is offering some nice new features that should get creatives excited. But is the market too crowded for them to make a big enough impact? Let’s find out!
Small Rig, Big Impact
The SmallRig MagicFIZ has an exciting set of tools for focus pullers. While it comes in three different configurations, we’ll cover all the bits individually, as each one has some unique features we haven’t seen before.
To start, each kit has follow focus gears, a 15mm rod, and a nice range of rigging options. Whether you’re shooting on a mirrorless camera or a full-blown cinema rig, you’re not going to be digging for extra parts to get everything connected.
The Wheel Goes Round
The handwheel controller looks pretty standard at first glance and comes with the basics we’ve all come to expect. There’s a tiny OLED display for pertinent information and a series of buttons to control settings, mark your focus, and trigger your camera.
The unit feels nice in the hand and also comes with an extension port to attach a rosette. But the cool thing is the removable cover on the bottom, which reveals an attachment port.
What’s this port used for? To answer that, we have to talk about the handgrip.
Handy and Grippy
The MagicFIZ handgrip is your standard fare, with a small horizontal scroll knob and a control module on top. That has a tiny display on it as well. And this is what brings us answers to our previous question.
The entire control module can be disconnected to reveal a connection port for the handwheel! Creatives can then combine the grip and wheel like some Power Rangers Megazord. It’s a new way to reconfigure the unit to fit the different needs on set and not something we’ve seen other manufacturers do.
To power the handgrip, creatives can use Canon LP-E6 batteries. SmallRig claims up to 15 hours with a 1400mAh battery.
Motor Me Up
The motor is the final piece that has some new additions. When I worked with my Tilta Nucleus Nano, my issues always stemmed from having to power the motor, as it always needed a cable.
With the SmallRig MagicFIZ motors, you can power it with USB-C or a D-Tap to USB-C cable. But if you want to cut the cord, the MagicFIZ motors come with their own detachable battery plates. These hold Sony NP-F batteries and, according to SmallRig, will give you over 3 hours on one charge. While it does add a bit of bulk, having the unit run off a battery allows me another port to power other accessories.
So far, we’re pretty intrigued by the SmallRig MagicFIZ system, but there is one thing that gave us pause. The handgrip is powered by a Canon battery, while the motor battery plates only accept Sony bricks.
For creatives looking for a battery solution, buying two different batteries and two different chargers is a bit of an obstacle. Maybe we’ll see a battery plate with Lan P-E6 battery for the motors in the future, but for now, it might be best to power them via cables.
Busting Through the Crowded Market
Overall, SmallRig has created a pretty versatile system. Kits will be available in three versions. A basic kit will come with a handwheel and one motor, while the handgrip kit will only feature the grip. Finally, the two-motor kit features a wheel, grip, and two motors.
Pricing-wise, these kits are very affordable, and budget creatives will definitely have their interests piqued. But the proof is always in the pudding. How do these units stack up when battle-tested on set? Well, we got a two-motor kit to test out, and we’ll be running it on a few camera setups big and small. Check back soon for the review!
What do you think of this new wireless follow focus from SmallRig? Is this something you’d want in your kit? Let us know in the comments!