Steve Weiss gives more details on the Zacuto Control Grip and Z-motor system

By site editor Dan Chung:

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Yesterday Steve Weiss gave Newsshooter readers exclusive information about Zacuto’s upcoming servo zoom control systems for lenses. In a surprise comment on our original story he revealed that their Control Grip and motor will work with a whole host of cameras and runs on a single 5D battery.

Reading his comments it becomes clear that the servo motor is not integrated into the grip like a Fujinon Cabrio lens, but separate and presumably mounted to rods. This should allow the grip to be positioned in a more optimal location or on the end of existing Zacuto handgrip hardware.

The Fujinon Cabrio PL Cine lens - will soon have competition from Zacuto
The Fujinon Cabrio PL Cine lens – will soon have competition from Zacuto

The grip has more than just a simple start/stop and zoom rocker. It has joystick and programmable buttons for control of other camera functions and also menus – so features like magnification for focus should work if the camera offers it. I’m optimistic that the buttons can also be programmed to engage Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF on the C100 and C300.

Price should be between $3000 and $3400 US with dedicated camera cables at $250 to $350 US. I look forward to testing it out at NAB – exciting times.

This is what Steve had to say:

“It’s for you Dan, I know you wanted it. Here is the first look at it. The Control Grip and Z-Motor will have a camera control cable to work with: Alexa, RED, Canon C series, Sony F3/5/55/65, Canon, Panasonic & Nikon DSLR’s. Plus we will create them for ever new camera coming out. Each of those cameras listed will have a custom camera cable and the DSLRs will use USB. It will have a start/stop button and 5 dedicated programable buttons, plus a full menu joystick to operate the entire camera.

The handgrip uses a 5D battery or can be powered externally. The Grip has the capability of powering a two motors: Zoom and Iris and they will be powered from the 5D battery as well. I know it sounds crazy but we have tested the 5D battery and it can power one motor at full power for 30 minutes. Now you would never do that but I haven’t had the opportunity to spend a 10 hour day to see how long it will last but–it’s long. Plus you can always power the Control Grip externally.

The rocker zoom on the Control Grip is much like we are used to with ENG lenses except you can position it wherever you want it, including full articulation like on all of our grips. It’s kind of a C300 handgrip and a Cabrio all in one. With the difference being it’s approximate cost with Handgrip, Cable and Zoom motor included is approx $3-$3.4K. When you add this to what you paid for your Zeiss zoom you bought at IBC Dan, you are still 1/2 of the cost of a Cabrio and you can make all of your lenses Servo Zooms with full camera control using your Control Grip/Z-Motor. Installation is easy, you just turn it on and it calibrates your lens automatically. The camera control cables are $250-$350.

At NAB we will have sort of a Pepsi Challenge in our booth–two identical camera packages one with The Control Grip and the other with a Cabrio, stop by and try the two out and see which works better for you. We will have two control grip setups at NAB. An Alexa and a C300. Stop by and check it out.”


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