HandiZoom motorised zoom controller tranforms DSLRs into ENG style machines

By site editor Dan Chung

If you don’t have a spare $38,000 for Fujinon’s new servo zoom controlled 19-90mm cine lens then former TV news shooter Roland Boucher may just have come up with the answer. His company VizTools is showing the new HandiZoom – an ENG style motorised zoom handgrip designed for use with Canon DSLRs and regular Canon zoom lenses. It transforms them into something more like a traditional handheld news camera and when used with a Canon DSLR has controls for record start and stop and focus magnification exactly where you want them – right by your fingers.

Boucher came up with the idea to make the HandiZoom after he started shooting his own DSLR video and found other solutions didn’t let him control the camera the way that he wanted. He found that trying to zoom a stills lens was never as smooth as the action of a good ENG lens – so set about creating his own solution.

The HandiZoom works by attaching a gear ring to each lens, which then engages with the motorised gear in the body of the HandiZoom. The zoom is then controlled by a see-saw controller just as on a regular ENG lens.

The zoom speed is adjustable and the promotional video below seems to show a very smooth action. The HandiZoom can also work with third party LANC controllers for remote zoom and start/stop operation.

The HandiZoom needs 5V-15V DC and works with common power sources such as Anton Bauer battery packs. The whole unit attachs to a rig using 15mm rods and can be moved forward and back to match the zoom ring positioning on different Canon lenses.

The camera functions of compatible Canon DSLRs are controlled via a USB connection on the handgrip – using USB protocols to control the camera in the same way as other third party controllers like the OKII do.

The design is a working prototype at this stage and VizTools have applied for a patent on the design. It has been in development for almost a year and the company is now looking for a manufacturing partner. There is no price information as yet.

They will be showing the HandiZoom at NAB 2012, Booth L100 in the “Start up loft” area. We’ll be there to check it out.

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