Compatibility Information

Important Information About Follow Focus Product Compatibility

The History of Our Gearless Follow Focus
How to Tell Which Product You Have

The original gearless iDC Follow Focus has been discontinued. While it was available, it sold under the product name
iDC Follow Focus, and iDC Run & Gun when it included a Viewfinder. It is not forward compatible with our current Follow Focus product line (SYSTEM ZERO, SYSTEM ONE, and SYSTEM ROD). Please Contact Us if you are unsure as to which product you have before ordering parts or accessories. Below you will find information about the history of our Gearless Follow Focus and how to tell which product you have.

The History of Our Gearless Follow Focus

Our journey into the world of creating HD Camera accessories started in the last few months of 2008 when the Canon EOS 5D Mark II came out. We realized immediately that a revolution was about to occur within the world of image-making; from independent film-makers to documentary shooters a new era had begun.

Our first product to be released specifically for video capture on a DSLR was the U-Boat Commander. The idea was to add handles for easier hand-held recording, and to offer a platform for mounting video-specific accessories. It was, and remains, an important accessory; but our minds were already focused on the most important challenge faced when shooting HD video with a large sensor DSLR: Manual focusing. Although the shallow depth-of-field offered by a large CMOS sensor produces beautiful, cinematic-quality footage, it definitely needed a proper Follow Focus in order to accurately track subjects in motion.

After taking a look at traditional, one-size-fits-all Follow Focus rigs that were originally designed for much larger camcorders, we decided that they weren't really that well suited to the much more compact form-factor of the contemporary DSLRs. We went to back to the drawing room floor and came up with an intuitive and easy-to-use product that was priced appropriately relative to the cost of the capture tool. We simply couldn't fathom Follow Focus rigs that cost more than the camera body, and we definitely wanted a product as tough as our successful line of Speedlite Products.

In August of 2009 we released the iDC Follow Focus which ingeniously made use of an ultra-soft skateboard wheel to provide a gearless, direct-drive Follow Focus. We also sold this product in a variation known as the iDC Run & Gun, which included our own Optical Viewfinder made from a custom-adapted HoodMan HoodLoupe 3.0. This initial product offering was only available for the Canon 5D Mark II, the Canon 7D, the Canon T2i, and the Nikon D300s. Each product was camera-specific; meaning if you purchased an iDC Follow Focus for the Canon 5D Mark II, it was not compatible with the Canon T2i, etc., etc.

By 2010, armed with many fresh ideas - and excellent suggestions from our customers - we felt a ground-up redesign was appropriate. We wanted to make our next generation product as backwards-compatible as possible with the iDC Follow Focus and the iDC Run & Gun but we found this just wasn't possible. We quickly realized that we could not introduce new features, improve useability, continually update camera compatibility, and keep it all fully backward compatible at the price point we felt was optimal. Given these facts, we did what we could to keep the best aspects of our original concept but we did not allow ourselves to be limited by it's unforeseen shortcomings.

SYSTEM ZERO was designed to offer features that the iDC Follow Focus couldn't deliver:

  • Cross-camera compatibility.
    • While modular in design, SYSTEM ZERO is a "custom-tailored" rather than a "one-size-fits-all" approach. To make SYSTEM ZERO cross-camera compatible, we needed to re-design the Camera Plates to be tightly-tailored to each camera body; the rest of the SYSTEM ZERO architecture can now be easily transferred between different cameras as long as each camera is fitted with it's own camera-specific SYSTEM ZERO Camera Plate. This also allows for maximum investment value; if you acquire a new camera, all that's needed to upgrade your system is a new dedicated $99 camera plate.
  • Greater Lens Compatibility.
    • SYSTEM ZERO's Focusing Plate attaches to the Camera Plate in such a way that it can be finely tuned for compatibility with a much broader range of lenses than our original.
  • Dovetailed Slots.
    • The Dovetailed Slots on the SYSTEM ZERO Focus Plate prevent the Gearless Wheel Assembly from disconnecting when the adjustment screw is removed, as long as the Wheel is facing up. This makes lens changes and Focusing Wheel adjustments much quicker than before.
  • Kickback Slider Arm.
    • The Kickback Slider Arm allows lenses to be used which have a focus ring that is closer to the camera body.
  • Z-Finder Compatibility.
    • Our biggest request from our customers was to be able to use their Z-Finder without the adhesive mounting frames. Many of our SYSTEM ZERO Camera Plates have mounting points for the Zacuto Z-MFS Mounting Frame. Some cameras, such as the Panasonic GH2, are simply too small to use a Z-Finder and do not offer this feature.
  • Cross-System Compatibility.
    • We wanted to make all of our Follow Focus product lines modular and interchangeable; SYSTEM ZERO, SYSTEM ONE, and SYSTEM ROD all share key components. This modular approach results in significant economy when moving from one iDC system to another.

How to Tell Which Product You Have

Click on photos to enlarge

  Comparison ImageiDC Follow Focus, iDC Run & Gun Comparison ImageSYSTEM ZERO
Camera Plate Uses a separate Anti-Twist Plate to prevent camera twisting.

Has 2 mounting points for attaching Focus Plate, using 2 screws.
View a Comparison.
Uses camera-specific pin-registration or contour-fitment to prevent twisting.

Has dovetailed receiving slot for attaching Focus Plate, and uses 1 screw to lock adjustment. View a Comparison.
Focus Plate Uses squared-off slot for the Gearless Wheel Assembly and supports a limited number of lenses. Feature equally-spaced Dovetailed Slots for better Gearless Wheel Assembly retention and are micro-adjustable for much greater lens compatibility.
Gearless Wheel Assembly Uses a straight-style Squared Slider Arm, and may have Skateboard Wheel instead of Pro Wheel. Dovetailed Slider Arm is "kicked back" to allow the use of both long and very short lenses.

One Compatibility Caveat: While parts from the iDC Follow Focus and the iDC Run & Gun are not forward compatible, some parts from SYSTEM ZERO are backward compatible! The SYSTEM ZERO Gearless Wheel Assembly, SYSTEM ZERO Lens Brace, and SYSTEM ZERO Accessory Mounting Brackets can all be used with the iDC Follow Focus and the iDC Run & Gun.