Hangrip Falcon Follow Focus -Cinema5D Video Review
The Falcon Follow Focus from Hangrip is an inexpensive follow focus system available for €199 plus shipping.
Please watch the review video below, produced together in conjunction with Cinema5D. This carries on what we started as “Gearama” and carries it to a whole new level, bringing in additional experts for reviews regularly. So stay tuned for new episodes!
Thanks to my colleagues Bobo, Johnnie Behiri and of course Sebastian Woeber – we are partners in these reviews and aim to bring an evenly balanced look to any gear we look at. Much more to come!
Check out the original Cinema5D blog post about this review here.
The Falcon is a relatively large unit compared to some other follow focuses. I have to say that i like the size of it, because despite of its lightweight plastic design it feels comparatively sturdy and well thought-through. Also, due to its size and the position of the drive gear, you won’t need to use so-called “risers”, which are necessary to adjust the drive gear of many cheaper follow focuses, where it is often positioned much closer to the rails.
The manufacturer pointed out to me that it’s not purely plastic, but a composite material – that’s probably why it feels so sturdy after all! Also, it is important to mention that the Falcon uses ball bearings, whereas some of the cheaper follow focuses use sleeve bearings – which makes it definitely much more precise and possibly it also lasts quite a bit longer than the competition in the same price bracket.
The Hangrip Falcon Follow Focus features a reversible drive gear, which means you can use it on either side of the lens barrel. This is something usually mostly reserved for much more expensive follow focus options.
After you have attached the Falcon to two standard 15mm rails, you can adjust it vertically to connect the drive gear to the lens gear.
Unfortunately, the Falcon does not offer hard stops, which is something very desirable especially when using photo lenses like this one, because that means you will lose your focus points if you turn the lens too much.
However, this is something that not even all of the high-end follow focuses get right, so I don’t see a lot of problems there in comparison.
You might find it weird that this is something so few follow focuses have, but the reason is easy: Cinema lenses have built-in hard stops (also the Zeiss CP.2’s, which use the same glass as Zeiss ZF’s or ZE’s, but in a proper cinema-style housing). Therefore, there was no need for traditional follow focuses to offer the option of hard stops, the lenses already had it. It is only now with photo lenses that we need these hard stops on the follow focus, because most of these photo lenses just continue to spin through once they hit the near of infinity limits. As you can see in the video, that of course means that you will lose any focus marks on the marking disk once you turn past these limits. First and foremost the Canons don’t have hard stops, and they are obviously the most common lenses used on Canon DSLRs, so it is definitely a big issue with follow focuses on these lenses. However, as I mentioned, nobody else got it right in this price bracket, but it is definitely something that could be enhanced in a future version (or an upgrade?) of the product – this would leave the competition totally in the dust! (That is, if you don’t want to shell out $1.600 for an Arri Follow Focus with hard stops!)
A nice touch is the snap-in magnetic marking disc, which can be seen from different angles. That means an shooter-operator or a focus puller can operate the follow focus either from the side, from top or the bottom of the unit. As usual with marking disks, you can mark the focus points with a pen marker. There is also a movable marking indicator that can be used as your focus start point, for example.
However, it would be nice to fix that marking indicator, because otherwise you lose the position when you turn it.
The greatest fact about the Falcon to me is that there is virtually no play when turning the follow focus, which is absolutely essential to be quick and precise with focusing – and in the end, that’s what a follow focus is all about.
The Falcon comes with only one loop lens gear, which is permanent and cannot be removed from a lens once put on. You should therefore definitely purchase additional loop lens gears in order to be able to put one on each of your lenses.
Don’t forget, you need some sort of camera support with 15mm rigs to attach a Follow Focus to.
To sum this up, the Falcon is a very solid product considering it entry-level price of 199 Euros including VAT. It helps tremendously with focusing especially with photo lenses on DSLRs, even if you are a one-man band. Simply because you can get used to its diameter and use the Falcon on all sorts of lenses with different diameters without having to pull focus on the lens barrels directly – you will get more precise results.