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New from Zacuto: Z-Drive and Tornado

Posted on Nov 05, 2013 in News: HD Video & Accessories, Zacuto USA

The Z-Drive and Tornado are finally here!

In 2011, Zacuto product designers set out to create a new device: a mechanical follow focus handgrip for shoulder-mounted camera rigs. The first prototype was announced at NAB 2012, which we had the privilege of seeing first-hand, and was then overhauled into the sleeker, more streamlined model that debuted at NAB 2013. After more than two years of Z-blood, Z-sweat, and Z-tears, Zacuto is finally ready to announce the release of these amazing new products.


The Z-Drive

The Z-Drive is a unique direct-drive universal follow focus that can be used in an infinite number of positions. It can be used on the operator side in a frontal downward position for shoulder-mounted use; it can be used in an angled backward position for use with a whip if you are standing behind the tripod or dolly; it can be used at any angle up, down or in between on the operator or assistant side.

It attaches to a single 15mm-diameter rod and curves away from the operator at a 60° angle, creating space and distance from the lens for comfortable use when the camera is on your shoulder. This is the perfect follow focus for a Recoil Kit set-up (where the camera is directly over your shoulder), as it brings focus control further forward where you need it, as well as down and out to the side.

The Z-Drive comes with a 1¾"-diameter 0.8 pitch gear to connect to your lens gear. If your lenses are not pitched to 0.8 or are not pitched at all (most DSLR and basic video camera lenses are not), you can add the Zacuto ZipGear Universal to your lens so that the teeth match the gear correctly for smooth lens rotation.

The Z-Drive has a dry-erase marking disc to create distance points for repeatable focus pulls. The Z-Drive can act as a standalone follow focus or to be combined with the Tornado handgrip to make an incredibly stable focus and stabilizing device.


The Tornado

Zacuto recommends using the Z-Drive with the Tornado grip when working handheld. The Tornado grip connects to the Z-Drive follow focus via a standard whip port. The unique 60° curved shape of the Z-Drive and the comfortable horn shape of the Tornado grip make a mechanical follow focus handgrip perfect for single operator shoulder-mounted work.

Slide the Tornado grip into the Z-Drive whip port by pushing down on the round plunger and pushing the Tornado into the port. Once you release this plunger, it will be securely attached. Grab the horn handle with your bottom three fingers, placing your forefinger and thumb on the scalloped focus wheel. Turn your whole hand to focus. For lenses with a large focus rotation, release your thumb and forefinger, ratchet your wrist back and grab the scalloped wheel once again for more range.

This unique Zacuto twist on the traditional follow focus and whip set-up is perfectly engineered for use with a Recoil Kit.



The Z-Drive and Tornado are now available together in the Recoil Handgrip Kit, along with a Zgrip Z-Mount Zwivel single handgrip, creating a double handgrip system for 15mm rods.


Learn more about the Z-Drive and Tornado in the video below:


Also, see how the Z-Drive and Tornado work together to form the Recoil Handgrip Kit in the video below:


Visit our Peninsula Plaza outlet to check out the Recoil Handgrip Kit!

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