Monday, December 13, 2010

Info On The D|Matte

Hello everyone, this post is long over due.

I have been posting little bits of info on twitter (@dfocus) about the upcoming D|Matte Matte Box but have yet to post anything formal, so here we go.

The D|Matte, like the D|Focus, is an entry level product intended for amateur/hobbiest/student film makers on a budget. It has been designed from the ground up for use with HDSLR cameras.

List of features:

- Two 4x4 filter tray-less filter holders (one rotating.) No filter trays here, just slide the filter into the slot.
- Wide angle lens compatible. Will work with lenses as wide as 20-24mm (depending on the lens) on a full frame camera.
- Clip on design will fit pretty much any lens with filter threads up to 82mm. This includes all Canon L series lenses (except for the super telephoto) and Zeiss primes.
- Each D|Matte will come with an 82mm attachment ring. Use step-up rings to fit smaller lenses.
- Included top french flag.
- Made of injection molded plastic (probably ABS and polycarbonate, not 100% sure yet and won't be until the tools are finished.)

Future options:

- Height adjustable, swing away rail mount attachment. (This may be available at the same time as the D|Matte. If not, it should follow shortly.)
- Side Flags. These will follow the D|Matte by 2 - 3 months and will be an upgrade for purchase.
- Once everything is out there will likely be a combo deal including all accessories.

I'm pretty excited about the D|Matte. Its something I have been wanting for a while now myself and an area where I think there is room in the market. Many matte boxes are designed for Cine style lenses and as a result have to be quite large and heavy, not exactly ideal for HDSLR work.

The fact that it's going to be mostly injection molded means there will be much less production work for us to do which means that we should be able to get them out much faster and [hopefully] not experience that same delays we are constantly facing with the D|Focus.

The D|Matte, like the D|Focus will not be sold direct, but will be available through our dealers. This helps keep our overhead down so we can just concentrate on building products while letting someone else deal with the shipping (which is a ton more work than one might think.) The retail price is expected to be $299.99 for the basic snap-on version which includes the adapter ring and french flag. [Price & features subject to change]

I do not have any good pictures as the prototype looks somewhat rough, but these should help you get a basic idea:

EDIT - Forgot to mention, its looking like the D|Matte will be available mid-February +/- a couple weeks.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

D|Focus Announces Sponsorship Deal With Zippy Zac Majors

Last week, I spend a couple days up in beautiful Santa Barbara California to shoot a promotion video for "Zippy" Zac Majors, pro hang glider pilot, hang gliding instructor and all around cool guy. Zippy is one of the top pilots in the world but hang gliding is not a sport that attracts major sponsorship deals and the cost of international competition can be quite high.


I am very proud to announce that D|Focus is an official sponsor of Zippy in all his hang gliding efforts. In exchange for sponsorship funding Zippy will wear the D|Focus logo atop his glider and help take part in various film projects to help showcase D|Focus gear in action as well as get valuable field test time. I am happy to report that over 3 days of shooting the new D|Focus V3 worked very well in a variety of environments.

Here is Zippy doing his thing over the Beach:

Here Zippy does a fly over of me on my D|Focus branded glider:

Zippy being interviews by Jared Abrams about DSLRs and hang gliding for

In case you guys don't already know, hang gliding is my passion. Its my motivation for film making and building affordable film making accessories. There is a reason my Vimeo page is almost all hang gliding videos! So its pretty natural for me to channel some of the D|Focus profits back into the community (and hopefully get some valuable advertising and promotion out of it.)

Zippy leaves for Italy in a few days where he (along with 4 other pilots) will be representing the US in the "Pre-Worlds" hang gliding championships. We here at D|Focus wish him the best of luck!

I hope to have the promotional film up in a couple of days and will update this post when its ready!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Drive Gears Coming Soon(ish)

UPDATE (1/23/10) - My timing on these couldn't have been much better. Earlier in the week I found out that I had depleted my supplier's stock of the current drive gear. I will only have another 50 or so before there is about a 2 month wait. That is obviously too long, so when the 50 are gone we will just be going with the new, custom drive gears.

Unfortunately my timing wasn't exactly perfect. Orders up to about January 9th will ship with the original gear. Orders after that may see an additional week or so delay while the mold for the new gears is getting built and tested.

If you have an order out and don't want to (or can't) wait for the new gears, I still have some of the older 2" diameter gears available (these are the ones pictured on the web site.) Email me (dfocusinfo *AT* gmailcom) if you would like to go this rout. Remember, the new custom gears will be very easy to install, just a single set screw so you can always upgrade later.


In an effort to reduce the time it takes to build a D|Focus, I have decided to have purpose built drive gears manufactured. Let me give you an idea of what goes into just the drive gear currently:

1. I order them from a gear supplier in New York. UPS ground shipping takes about a week to deliver them
2. I have to install a brass insert so a set screw can be tightened, without the insert the threads would strip very easily.
2.a) I order brass tubing in 1 foot lengths with a 1/4" outer diameter [OD] (same as the inner diameter [ID] of the drive gears, so the brass can be pressed in) and 3/16" ID. However the tubing comes over sized, meaning the ID is a bit smaller, so it has to be reamed out to fit the 3/16" shafts. We do this on the manual lathe.
b) The brass tubing has to be cut into 0.400" lengths. The only reliable way I have found to cut brass tubing is with a manual razor saw. The material is too soft to part it off on the lathe, it will just bend. This manual sawing is very time consuming, but it works and is reliable.
3. the inserts are pressed into the gears using a bench vise.
4. The gears are drilled and tapped for the set screw.

By having purpose made gears I can eliminate steps 1 and 2. The gears will have an ID the same as the brass collars included on each D|Focus. That way I can just press those collars into the new gears, drill and tap.

And since we are going to the effort to make gears, we are making them they way they should be, thicker. They will have the same face width as the lens gears, 0.400". This should make the overall experience easier to setup/align, make it smoother and allow for more focus ring "travel."

Here are the latest renders:

I can't yet say when exactly these will be ready. Tommy, my mold maker is a pro and works very fast, but injection molding is far from trivial. We have a couple of issues and it make take some experimenting to make sure the gears come out right. Expect at least 4 weeks.

Will this effect the overall price of the D|Focus? Probably not. It looks like these will cost much less than the current gears I am ordering, but the initial tooling cost is very high. For now, let me just reassure you all that I am committed to offer the affordable follow focus solution.

All current orders will ship with the current drive gears. However I will have a lot of these new gears made and will probably be able to make them available for a very low cost to existing customers.