I first saw the Tiltaing Mini Follow Focus at IBC 2019 and was impressed with the idea of a low budget piece of kit that any filmmaker could afford.
Production tools can be insanely expensive especially the bits that go on your camera. The follow focus has been one tool that makes nailing focus with minimal camera shake an excellent addition to a cinema rig setup. With fewer fingers on the lens itself, it’s just much easier to pull focus for you or a dedicated focus puller.
Tilta has introduced the Tiltaing FF-T06 Mini Follow Focus that is priced about as low as you can go at only $99. While this is an absolute bargain basement price does it actually work? That’s what I will find out.
Tiltaing FF-T06 Mini Follow Focus kit
- Tiltaing FF-T06 Mini Follow Focus
- 0.8 MOD Drive Gear
- Adjustable Arm
- Lens Gear Adapter Belt
- Marking Disk
- 15mm Single-Rod Clamp
- 15mm Rod (3.9″)
- 2 x Hard-Stop Screw
- 2 x Allen Wrench
- Hard-Shell Case
- Limited 2-Year Warranty
The body of the Tiltaing FF-T06 is made of metal and the base of the handwheel is plastic. This surely keeps the cost down on a part that doesn’t require sturdy metal. It also will keep the weight down.
The single 15mm clamp locks down tight as well as the adjustable arm. I’ve used some cheap follow focuses that have issues with the adjustable arm not locking down enough. Not the case here.
The focus handwheel is small. It’s clearly designed for smaller tighter setups. Using a still lens with a 77mm front will work best as rotation is limited. The wheel has a rubber coating that makes it easy to get a grip on it, and the rotation dampening is pretty darn good for this price range. It’s not overly stiff or loose. This helps when using stills lenses designed for autofocus.
The kit comes with one 0.8 MOD Drive Gear that can be moved to a second farther back position if needed. There is no reverse setting available. For lenses with different pitch gears, Tilta will be offering different sizes in the near future. I feel a larger gear would help with stills lenses that have short focus rotation.
The Tiltaing FF-T06 Mini Follow Focus has two hard stops. They are adjustable for setting marks to achieve a perfect repeatable focus pull. These are very handy when you have to nail focus especially when the action is dependent on everyone hitting the marks.
The hard stops on the Tiltaing FF-T06 are not easily removable. You don’t have a simple way to not use them other than keeping them loose however this does make some noise when not tightened and will slightly grip and hit the top stop on the base. Not ideal.
This can be an issue if the rotation of the lens is longer than the rotation limit of the hard stop. If Tilta had included a larger gear this would fix the issue of running out of rotation to get the full focus coverage of the lens. Some follow focuses are designed with the stop marker on a hinge so it can be flipped out of the way. The Tiltaing FF-T06 Mini Follow Focus does not. To be fair, the Tiltaing FF-T06 is primarily designed for stills lens or lighter cine modified lenses that have a much shorter rotation.
Removing The Hard Stops
If the hard stops are not for you they can be removed but it’s not something you would want t do on the fly. To remove them you take the handwheel off with the supplied Allen wrench.
With the wheel removed then take the three screws out and cover will come off that holds the hard stops in place. It’s not an ideal solution but at least you can remove them if it’s driving you crazy.
15mm Mounting Options
The kit comes with a 15mm rail mount and a small rail to mount to a cage. The Tiltaing FF-T06 uses one rail mount and the arm is also adjustable. The 15mm clamp works very well and gets nice and tight. I also like the adjustable arm to get the angle just right on different lenses.
In the manual, it shows that the adjustable arm is removable making it even more compact however I couldn’t get the removable cover off and dinged up the screwdriver slot. I didn’t want to damage it so I backed off.
To keep things in perspective. $99 gets you a follow focus that works very well on stills lenses. I didn’t see any backlash on focus pulls. Not even when I took my hand off the wheel after focusing. It’s impressive. The dampening feels good as well as stills lenses tend to be a little loose since they depend on autofocus system. It feels like I have good smooth control of the focus. It’s not a full-featured follow focus but it does have the essentials.
I like the adjustable arm to get the follow focus lined up. Rods are not always lined up correctly with the universal lightweight standard of 60mm apart when measured from center to center and 85mm in height from optical center.
The Tiltaing FF-T06 Mini Follow Focus is a bargain-priced piece of kit that is very good for the budget-minded filmmaker. It’s designed primarily for stills lenses or lenses that don’t have a long focus rotation. It doesn’t make a lot of sense using it with a true expensive cine lens. Use the right tool combination for the gear you have and save yourself the headache pushing things to work that are just not meant to be used together.
I feel at $99 it punches well above its weight. The build is just good enough and metal parts are used for the right portions of the design. The lack of backlash is also impressive, again for a product in its price range. If you have a need for a follow focus that you want to use with stills lenses you can’t go wrong here.
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