When Should You Use Follow Focus and Lens Control System?

The lens control matters a lot while shooting. It is agreed by filmmakers and professional videographers who shoot with a requirement to highlight their target object and develop an emotional connection with their audience. A good follow focus, produces precise focus performance and allows you to make a specific object or person more highlighted than its surrounding and adjust the focus onto different subjects as well as maintain focus during movement of the camera.

Regardless of how significant the content is, a poorly focused shot can quickly divert your audiences' attention. Using a follow focus to stabilize the focus while filming can bring impressive results. Read below to check all about auto and manual focus and the best follow focus to invest in for your upcoming project.

Different Focusing Modes

In the photography world, there are several focusing modes that beautifully streamline the entire filming process. The main focusing modes are:

  • Auto Focus (AF)

 The autofocus (AF) auto-adjusts the camera lens to maintain focus on the target subject. Sensors communicate the distance of a subject to the lens, which then adjusts its focal length. The autofocus is widely used to maintain focus when the subject is moving or when you have several shooting subjects.

  • Manual Focus (MF)

 Manual Focus (MF) is different from AF. It requires the videographers to adjust the depth field of the camera lens manually to focus on undesired objects or adjust quickly enough to sudden changes. Earlier in the 20th century, MF was the only used focus system, and all cameras' focus had to be adjusted manually. Nowadays, many professional videographers and filmmakers keep using manual focus to shoot in dim light, low contrast, or backlighting conditions.


When Should You Use Auto Focus?

Sometimes it becomes necessary to shoot with autofocus. Here are the situations when using autofocus is a possible or practical option.

Shooting with a Handheld Gimbal

You usually use a gimbal when you have to film moving objects or changing scenarios. In that situation, you need the autofocus on your camera to automatically pull the focus. Experts advise using extremely wide-angle, deep depth of field and infinity autofocus to maintain your focus centered with a handheld gimbal.

Shooting for Animals or Children

Children and animals are the most challenging for shooting, they can not just stand here without moving for a long time, their movements and actions cannot be anticipated and controlled.

AF mode can maintain continuous autofocus shooting when it detects several moving objects. So autofocusing can be incredibly useful when shooting for animals or Children.

During a Telephoto Shot

Compared to a wide-angle lens, a telephoto lens offers a smaller area of focus – a single movement is enough to ruin the well-established focus. Besides, the still lenses have a small focus throw which makes it even tougher to focus. Here, autofocus can assist in tracing the subject automatically and maintain them in focus in a telephoto shot.

Using Follow Focus System to Focus Manually

The follow focus system is mainly set to reduce shaking when adjusting the focus precisely and smoothly for perfectly filmed shots. The focus operation is moved to the side of the DSLR, which leaves better access to the focus puller to make the focus follow acting conveniently.

Compared with AF, MF is slightly inconvenient. However, when is the time that you have to adjust the focus manually? Here's the answer:

  1. When shooting in a short distance. The camera is difficult to automatically focus when the focal length is shorter than 50mm, therefore a manual focus adjustment is needed.
  2. When there are obstacles between the object and the lens (such as railing and glass). The cameras often autofocused on the wrong object while manually focusing can focus on the desired object.
  3. When shooting objects with low contrast and poor light. In this situation, the camera is hard to distinguish the border of the object, failing to focus on the items you want to focus on and highlight.

Get the Best Follow Focus System in Town

If you want to produce high-quality content that attracts your audiences’ attention, you need the best follow focus. And when it comes to camera accessories, there is no better choice than SmallRig. Innovative design shooting solutions for modern content creators, offer the best quality and reliable camera accessories, SmallRig has been working for many years and received many positive reviews.

The SmallRig Mini Follow Focus 3010 offers unique features and smart design that assists you in creating your next impressive work. This follow focus is designed to provide maximum ease and improved focus control while filming.

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits you will enjoy by using SmallRig follow focus:

  • It allows multiple shooting scenes, including handheld, tripod mounted, and other shooting scenarios.
  • The SmallRig follow focus has an anti-slip and anti-sweat design to control the focal length comfortably.
  • Rapid and easy assembling and disassembling on the left and upper side of the camera.
  • It has adjustable A/B hard stops that can be set according to your shooting needs.
  • The compact and portable design of the SmallRig follow focus system makes it easier for you to carry.
  • Ergonomic design with independent modules.
  • The following focus system is compatible with various lens sizes.


Digital production needs the gears that help you to better concentrate on your work and works more efficiently.SmallRig.in, with years of experience, has been offering state-of-the-art products since 2012. From broadcasting to blogging and professional video production, SmallRig products are used by over two million creators across the globe.

Join be SmallRig user, gear up your production process with the SmallRig's widest variety of camera rigs and accessories, including camera cages, tripods, LED lights, follow focus gears, microphones, and much more. 

Photo credit: @ed_productionn