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DJI 3D Focus — Bringing Autofocus to Vintage Lenses!

Photo Moment - January 20, 2021

Controlling a gimbal while manually focusing a lens is a job for the three handed man — which you're not! The new DJI 3D Focus system brings a LiDAR based focusing system to any manual lens. But how well does it work?

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Do you want to see more on this system? If you're shopping, here's the links (and you do need the RS 2 for this)
DJI 3D Focus https://geni.us/DJI3Dfocus and RS2 Pro Combo https://geni.us/DJIRS2ProCombo
Yes. Do make more, would be a great help while we all assess if we should give this a try. I was thinking that you could try offsetting the lidar to offset the center tracking point. Or maybe even have a slightest manual control over it to offset it while shooting. Food for thought.
@MotMovie interesting. I wonder if there's a way to "see" the LiDAR beam, to know where it's hitting?
Not ready for prime time?
So I got this with my RS2 but I have yet to use it because I use a Panasonic autofocus lens
Do you think I should try it
If you have a clutched lens, then sure. But if not, then I wouldn't. The drive-by-wire lenses aren't consistent in how they rotate. Although some of the newer bodies and lenses will allow you do define the rotation, so that might work. Try it out!
@PhotoJoseph thank you very much I have the 12 to 60 kit lens. I also have the 1.8 aperture fixed. I am seriously considering the Panasonic full frame s 2 x
Thanks, provided the information I needed.
👍🏼
Finally an autofocus for our manual lens
it's so good!
Hey thanks for going a bit more in-depth here. I have gone from the Ronin SC, to the RSC2, and now DJI just announced the R3 with its new Lidar system $600+ for just the Focus system, yikes. I also had seen Josh Yo Yo’s video a year ago, and was waiting for this release, but the official word from DJI is it will only work with the RS2 not the RS2C. I think (hope) that has changed, I have heard rumors that it now works, but will just plain old try it when it arrives. I’m glad you actually showed video of the focus in operation, that helped understand a lot. If you ever do go back to this, now would be an opportunity, that $600+ for the new one is just a bit too much for a “maybe it works with many older gimbal” and this older version is really all I need. Thanks for posting this one.
Glad you enjoyed. The new system ads object tracking from what it seems, so you’re no longer restricted to the center of the frame, which is awesome. It keeps getting better! But I don’t think I’ll upgrade; I don’t use it often enough to justify.
Is the gimbal still available
Great video! Do you know if there is a firmware update for this?
I actually haven't checked; please let me know if there is one!
just for auto focus I need to buy the whole system?
Yeah so far they haven’t made it available other than on the gimbal.
You know what'd be cool? A camera with integrated LiDAR tech to make ANY lens focus with 95%-100% accuracy. At that point, in-camera autofocus feature will render obsolete.
Well, except that currently LiDAR is limited to the center of the frame. If they could combine LiDAR and face detection though…
Hi!... One of the best test. Thanks and congrats.
So interesting! Does this system work using GH5s w Atomos Ninja V shooting 4K 60p Prores Raw HQ?? Your Videos are So Helpful . THANK YOU SO MUCH.
This system is independent of the camera/recorder used. So yes, you can use it with anything.
Thank You. How about w the Raven Eye ,3d and RS2 4K60 Prores Raw on GH5S and Ninja V?
You could be my twin brother. I've confused people who think it's me in your video :)
LOL seriously? That’s awesome. I need photos! DM me on Twitter! (don’t post a link here; it’ll be auto blocked)
Thanks for this tutorial. How do I re-calibrate a lens if I am not happy with the initial calibration, or if I want to place the 3D gizmo in a different location? Selecting the lens in the 3D interface, it only allows me to recalibrate the motor. Is there a way to clear out user presets and start over?
I’ve never needed to but it must be possible. Sorry I can’t help
Man, is it works with leica 10-25mm pair to gh5?
It would, since that lens has a clutch mechanism.
Does the manual switch on the top of the 3D Focus module allow you to revert to focusing with the focus wheel? Being able to quickly switch from 3D Focus to manual focus without re-rigging the camera would be nice.
That’s exactly what it does! It’s really great. With a gentle push you can revert to manual focus.
@PhotoJoseph Good to know! Thanks Joseph.
how does this perform in low light? for example at a night time event? I’m guessing it would make no difference as the rangefinding is based on lidar as opposed to optics??
That’s correct — you can acquire perfect focus in pure darkness, because light isn’t required!
@PhotoJoseph that’s so cool! It would be interesting to see how this system competes with Canon and Sony autofocus in the dark!!
@The_Black_Douglas all standard AF systems require light. So, it’ll beat them all in the dark.
@PhotoJoseph I think I have to get one now!
re were are in the future say hello to the DJI Ronin 4D
Yep!
What did you use as a goal for the test? Does it work with fixed goals or only with variable goals?
I don’t understand the question. Did you watch the video? Those were my goals.
@PhotoJoseph I just want to know what lens you used on the video for the test?
Hello my friend, I like the test you make. I have a question I have a Red Epic X Dragon 6K and want to use autofocus system, do you think this system can work on my camera?
if the Red Epic X Dragon 6K can be balanced on the gimbal… yes. this system requires the RS2 to function. Although you could probably figure out a way to rig it without it
​@PhotoJoseph Thank you very much for your help, I need something like that because you know we are getting older and also my eyes, this the problem I have, and i do not want to stop filming, I have 26 years already in the film you, so please is you have a solution for me let me know.
Mate, I have no idea what you need help with… if you like you can book time with me one on one, just go to photojoseph.com/1to1
Nice video - more of the more.

After the "Lets Go Play" bit I now have images of you looking at a puppy trying to figure out where you plug in the lead - but there only seems to be one port.

what do you expect - you have a camera accessory look at a wall of camera gear - it's like getting a kid to stop focusing on the sweets in the sweetshop. It was getting distracted by all the lenses it's going to get to play with.

It seems to work pretty well for the first line of an emerging technology. It would be nice to have as an add on for other systems (and possible shorter cables - looked like it was covered in burned spaghetti) Have you had time to play with the settings and fine tune the system?

Nice hat by the way.
Haha thanks for all that. I have used it more; it’s awesome when combining with the SIRUI anamorphic lenses! It’s really a great tool on the tool belt.
@PhotoJoseph So is it worth the cost of replacing your old gimbal? Have you used it with the vintage lenses like the Helios 44?
@Geek in the Garden yes!! I geared that lens so have used it. I find this gimbal far more capable and easier to set up than whatever the model I had before this is (RC maybe?), and am using this RS2 much more.
@PhotoJoseph And I've just emptied my penny jar to buy the new Gopro, accessories and a Weebill Lab gimbal. Guess I'll have to start filling it up again.
First time ever seeing your channel. Drooling over my keyboard at the selection of goodies on the shelves behind you.
Haha it’s my playground! Welcome to the channel, Ferg!
What a great video!! Definitely interested!
Thanks! I just used it on a project with anamorphic lenses. It's pretty awesome. No real demo of the 3D focus, but here's the new video on the new lenses… https://youtu.be/jLvhw8eMAxw
I'll definitely want to see more about this system after you've gotten used to it.
so.. does anybody know, if the Panasonic 12-35 lens works with this? I really couldnt find ANY information whatsoever on this.
You can rotate the focus wheel over and over.. it has no fixed point and no exact distance indicators.. so im really worried.
i couldnt find that information anywhere, maybe someone here can help me?
I had a Nebula 4000 and then had nothing until a few weeks ago I got an RSC2 and I'm blown away by it. The integration wasnt something I knew before getting it. For me and what I do, its basically Hollywood on a stick.
Love this video.. I would definitely want to see more on this setup. I have the gimbal and planning to get the 3d autofocus system soon
It will make an appearance in my next round of videos!
Honestly, best thing they could do imo and the one that would seemingly be relatively easy-
make it so that you don't have to attach it to a gimbal, like let me use it anywhere in any kind of setup, that would be huge.
Yeah, well, it’s a $100 add-on to a $1,000 product. I think they want that initial sale 😬
Did you get a chance to test out the Mamiya lens and see if it can focus?
they really need the active track area to be the focus area otherwise its fairly useless. I guess next iteration will be active track with build in focus pulling. I hope
I hope so too. I wouldn't call this unless; I've used it in commercial work. Like every tool, it has its place. It's far from perfect but it's definitely awesome.
@PhotoJoseph well at least for me then.. I remember Redrock Micro making something similar with sonar sensor 10 year ago. It never became anything anybody used.
With no tracking gimbal attached focusing seems like a miss. So anything else than dead static objects which stay in the center of your frame will be a pain. If they at the very least gave you the option to tap the focus on and off at the handle it would be something, but they dont even give you that. All you have is a button on the top of the thing, which is not a practical location to tap your focus on and off while operating.

The main selling point for using a gimbal is that its an run and gun one man rig, Focusing is in my view the last hurdle that needs to be solved for it to be truly useful in any situation.
08:45 you went out of the optimal range of the lidar system. DJI recommends 1-4m and my experience showed, that more the 5m doesn't work.
I should probably read the instructions ;-) haha thanks!
I have an idea! Based on how the Lidar sensor works, how about if you put a lense that will increase the spread of the outgoing light, there by spreading the light even more and something like a zoom glass for it to go further ....you never know it might work, after all those ideas are based on the law of refraction...(physics....lol)
Nice video, other reviews edited most the parts you showed us, that made me to see most of the cons, I never saw on other Videos. Thanks for your always unbiased review.
That’s why I subscribed and hit that notification to see “ALL YOUR” videos.
More on the RS2 please, Joseph. I'm pulling up my chair to your table. Serve it up, sir! Thanks for the efforts!
If you can stop by the live show tonight and ask about it, I'll bring it out. I just did a shoot with it using the S1H and this 3D Focus rig. Amazing! https://youtu.be/5ZB9kigqjAI
The hat suits you very well!
Thanks for test! It's so usefull. Hello from Russia.
Awesome!
Nice video, can you pls tell whereyou got the focus rong for the takumar lens as i can't find where to get one for my smc takumar 35mm f2 lens
Yeah, I get all mine made by FollowFocusGears https://followfocusgears.com/
Are you actually able to reset/change one of the 3 lens profile ? If yes, how please? :(
I honestly haven't needed to, but AFAIK you just delete one using the app and start over.
@PhotoJoseph i don't see any 3D focus menu on the app, but i found out how to change it...
You have to select the one you want to calibrate again, it will asks for an auto calibrate the motor focus, then you have to go to the general 3D focus, and do the motor focus calibrating again, and then it allows you to make the 3d focus calibrating on the previous selected template.
Yeah...not intuitive at all.
Thanks for the quick reply though :)
ah, good to know, thanks!
So DJI can bring something out that can auto focus pull but the more premium brands like Tilta ain't done nothing like this yet. I really expected something like this from companies that actually make product to help focus.
@PhotoJoseph I'm fully aware of the scale of DJI. Toyota are huge company, make great cars and innovative technology, but are not considered premium.
@Willvisions Media who makes better drones than DJI?
@PhotoJoseph I only agree with that. Drones.
@Willvisions Media and gimbals.
@PhotoJoseph na, lol. They're good but almost everybody consider them holly grail of gimbals. I've used a lot of gimbals and they malfunction like any other. They also copied a lot from zhiyun on their recent ones. Freefly Movi also premium gimbal and crane 3s is something else for the price.
What lens would you recommmand to use with Gh5 ? Cheers and nice vid !!
That’s like asking what I’d recommend you eat for dinner… that’s a question that requires a lot more info to even pretend to answer!
This tech is not ready for prime time. I don't have time to fight with my equipment this much. There are some good use cases for it (the mailboxes worked pretty well) and it will definitely get better with time, but this was very frustrating to watch. It seems that the in-camera solutions are much better for now. I mostly need autofocus for tracking people/faces, and most of the time I've got them off to one third left or right, so this is pretty much useless for that. I can't wait to see future generations!

Thanks so much for taking the plunge and walking us through this. It's still very cool and loads of potential.
All tech evolves with the benefit of funding from early adopters.
Maybe try squeeze a few more ads in next time
YouTube controls ad placement, Scott. I don’t explicitly put them in specific locations. I always recommend investing in YouTube premium to remove ads and help support your creators.
Great video! #PhotoJoseph What Focus Gear Ring did you use?? The original gets in the way and makes the sensor stupid :)
Great product and great review!! Subscribed!! I was thinking of selling my Canon 5D MIII but now I don't know 🤣 do you think this DJI 3d + the RS2 device can make my camera autofocus with my 24-70mm 2.8 ? I can't find that info, cheers!!
If it’s mechanical focus, then yes. This works on any lens. Even some drive-by-wire lenses will work.
@PhotoJoseph thank you so much!
Nice review! Researching camera gear and accessories. This is really helpful.
Thanks!
Hey. This is a lovely review. Would love to see this being used in a more "narrative style" of either being used for smaller, subtler movements (indoors, with a character moving from the door to the bed/sofa or something) while using something like an anamorphic lens.
Thanks! I plan to do something like that outdoors soon, although not with an anamorphic as I don’t have any small ones. But thanks for the suggestion!
Yes do morrrr....e...moree. More or more when you get hands on more similar gear like this. If you can, try to get information if its possible to adjust the 3D with a firmware upgrade or if it fixed as it is to the next new hardware "3D2". Very good and believable test.
Thanks, and I’ll keep on this with updates. It’s great gear!
Can't believe it doesn't work with RSC2 I just bought one because I read it did.
oh no! So, here's the thing… I think the only reason it is specced to the RS2 is because the RS2 has enough USB power ports to deliver power to this thing. However, I'd wager that you could rig any other USB power source to power the 3D Focus and it'd work fine. I could be wrong… but it's worth testing since you have one! And if you do get it to work — please let me know!
I'd be happy with that on an external power bank. I couldn't see it taking up too much power. I went back and read the post that said it would work and they have since been corrected or are just wrong.
Does it only connect to the RS2 for power then? Theres no signal sent through it?
more
Great review!!! I love the way you explain and test everything in depth.
Thank you! This one was fun to do.
I have a question if you zoom in into a person or a thing , will it also focus as you do it ? or you have to set up the distances you want to focus to ?
That's an interesting question. Most cheap zoom lenses are not parfocal — meaning, if you focus at one end (say 24mm) then zoom to the other end (say 70mm), then it will NOT still be in focus. So a lens like this would NOT work with the 3D Focus if you zoomed it. As long as you don't zoom it, you'd be fine though. A high end zoom lens, which stays in focus as you change focal length, would work fine though.

So, from what I understand this does not work on “focus by wire” lenses. Does this mean no auto-focus lenses can use this system? What keyword should I use if I am looking for a lens that would work with this system. I’m currently shooting on my GH5, so the auto focus is an issue and I was hoping this system would help.

Everything in moderation... even moderation.

It's not quite that straightforward unfortunately. You're right that focus by wire lenses won't work, in general. However some camera + lens combos allow you to enable “linear focusing” (it's under “Focus Ring Control”), which, while still “focus by wire”, removes the focus acceleration ramp meaning that it behaves like a mechanical lens. It still doesn't have hard stops, so you have to carefully set the near/far focusing distances, but if your camera and lens combo supports that, then it'll work.

Unfortunately, the GH5 does not have this. This was first introduced in the S1, if memory serves, and is available in most of the newer LUMIX GH and S series cameras, but not the GH5

@PhotoJoseph
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Hi folks. Does anyone know if this works with the new RS3? I’ve recently bought it and coupled with RavenEye and it all works fantastically. I’m shooting with a cine lens, which obviously is fully manual focus, so this 3D focus could really help. Thank you.

I thought the RS3 had an all new version of this system. I'm sure I saw that in some reviews. Looking on B&H though, I don't see it available. If you're asking if the original will work with the new gimbal, probably not, but I don't know. The only review I've watched is iPhonedo's, so it must be in there somewhere https://youtu.be/PlAMhHlbjYQ

@PhotoJoseph
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