FocusShifter Instruction Manual

FocusShifter Instructions

Canon 50mm f/1.8 II Lens

NOTE: The new Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM lens works without having to add the extra rubber band. If you have the 50mm f/1.8 STM, please skip the following information. The Canon 50mm f/1.8 II lens is a popular lens, but it's focus ring is a pain to attach to due to it being narrow, and angled. If the focus ring, and FocusShifter belt are clean and free of grease, it may be possible to attach the FocusShifter directly on the focus ring. If that doesn't hold, use one of the included elastic bands. First, take the elastic band, and place it over the focus ring. The focus ring on this lens is pretty loose, so it may help if the elastic band actually overlaps the camera body a bit, to create more friction. Place the belt of the FocusShifter over the elastic band that is already on the focus ring. The elastic band is grippy, and will keep the FocusShifter from sliding off the focus ring. Tighten up the FocusShifter belt.

How to Use the Counter Balance

The spherically shaped counter balance is used on lenses that have a loose focus ring. The counter balance allows the FocusShifter lever to stay in position when released. Position the counter balance such that it is on the opposite end of the belt from the FocusShifter lever. Install onto the lens as described in the instructions.

Tips for Shifting Focus

Be gentle when using the hard stops. Slamming the Focus Shifter against one of the stops hard enough to move the marker board will probably introduce motion in your filming. The stops and marker board system is designed to have some give, in order to reduce movement transmitted to your video. It's best to lightly touch against the stop.


There's not much that can go wrong with the FocusShifter. If it comes apart, this video will show you how to put it back together.

Installing the Marker Board

Place the elastic band around the lens in the approximate location where the Marker Board will go (next to the focus ring). Note: The holes at the ends of the marker board are for alignment during manufacturing. They will not be used when setting up the marker board. Pull the elastic band away from the lens, and place it over the foot of the marker board. Position the marker board next to the focus ring. The Marker Board should now be attached to the lens as shown below. One elastic band is usually sufficient to hold it on without slipping. The extra bands are for leaving on different lenses, at the ready for the Marker Board to be attached. You may ask yourself, why is the foot of the Marker Board curved the way it is? The Marker Board was carefully designed to fit a wide range of lenses, from 56mm to 98mm in diameter. The picture illustrates how the curve conforms to the different sizes, while maintaining only 2 points of contact.

Installing the FocusShifter

Open the FocusShifter (turn the ball counter clockwise) so that the loop of belt is large enough to slip over the end of the lens. Slip it over, and onto the focus ring. Place it so that the arrow overhangs the Marker Board. Tighten up the belt by turning the ball clockwise. Adjust the belt tension to your preference. Turn the ball counterclockwise to loosen the FocusShifter Belt Place FocusShifter belt around the lens Turn the ball clockwise to tighten the FocusShifter belt Ready to go

Set Focus Marks

Using the dry erase marker, mark your focus points.

Hard Focus Stops

Clip the clips onto the top edge of the marker board, and move them to set the focus stop positions. The FocusShifter should be far enough from the Marker Board that the only part of the clip that contacts the arrow is the wire end of the clip.

View PDF Manual

View the .pdf manual here.


Will it fit my lens?

If the diameter of the lens at the focus ring is between 56mm and 98mm, then it will fit. This covers most lens sizes, with the exception of a few large zoom lenses, and some small micro 4/3 lenses. The Follow Focus Shifter is adjustable to fit that size range. The FocusShifter works best with prime lenses. If you have a Zoom lens, there must be at least 10mm of non-rotating space between the Focus and Zoom ring for mounting the marker board.

Does it work on Zoom Lenses?

For FocusShifter to work on a zoom lens with the markerboard, there must be at least 10mm of non-rotating space between the Focus and Zoom ring for mounting the marker board. Otherwise the marker board will have to be mounted to the zoom ring, in which case the zoom ring needs to be fixed with tape or an elastic band to prevent rotation. It's not recommened to change the zoom of a zoom lens while shooting video. You will lose the focus points, because the focus also changes as you zoom.

Will it fit Micro 4/3 Lenses?

Most micro 4/3 lenses are larger than the 56mm minimum diameter, however there are a few that are smaller, like the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.8 Lens. Please check the diameter before ordering, and you can send us a request for a custom shifter to fit even the smallest lens.

What cameras does this work with?

Follow Focus Shifter will work with any camera that has an external lens with a focus ring. This covers all DSLR cameras, including but not limited to Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EOS 7D, Canon 60D, Canon T4i, Canon T3i, Canon T2i, Nikon D600, Nikon D7000, Nikon D5100, Nikon D3100, Nikon D90, Olympus E-5, Pentax K-5, Sony Alpha SLT-A99V. It also works with Micro 4/3 rds cameras, as long as the diameter of the focus ring on the lens is between 56mm and 98mm.

Why is the Marker Board curved the way it is?

The Marker Board was carefully designed to fit a wide range of lenses, from 56mm to 98mm in diameter. The picture illustrates how the curve conforms to the different sizes, while maintaining only 2 points of contact.

I can't get the FocusShifter belt tight around my lens.

To pull out the slack, and tighten the belt, you have to turn the ball at the top clockwise. The first time that you adjust it to fit your lens, you may have to turn it quite a lot to tighten up, because it allows for very fine tuning. To open up the belt, turn the ball counterclockwise.

Can I change the belt if it breaks?

The belt is fiberglass reinforced neoprene, and will not break under normal use, so there will be no need to replace the belt. If anything happens to the belt, please contact us and we will replace it free of charge.

What is the FocusShifter made of?

The body is made of Dupont Zytel, a high strength plastic. The internal components are made of Stainless Steel, and Brass. The belt is fiberglass reinforced neoprene.

What makes FocusShifter better than a geared follow focus?

  • Much less expensive (obviously)
  • No need for rails, can be used standalone with no extra gear.
  • Easier and faster to setup.
  • No backlash (inherent in lower cost geared follow focus)
  • Good for run-and-gun type shooting.
  • Focus marks are easy to see from behind the camera, which is where the screen is!
  • Simple to use hard stops
  • Lighter weight.

What makes FocusShifter better than other lever type follow focus devices?

  • More secure attachment than the ultra simple follow focus.
  • Balanced design! Focus does not change when you release the lever, even if the focus ring is loose, or you're moving the camera around, like on a rig.
  • Has a marker board.
  • Higher quality materials are used.
  • No velcro!

How much does FocusShifter weigh?

FocusShifter does not add much weight to your camera setup.

  • FocusShifter = 0.80 ounces (22.7g)
  • Marker Board = 0.70 ounces (19.8g)
  • Counterweight = 1.30 ounces (36.9g)
Total Weight = 2.8 ounces (79.4g)