The CamFi ZF is a remote controlled zoom and focus unit for timelapse and macro focus stacking

Tips & Techniques

CamFi is a popular name when it comes to remotely controlling your camera. But two of the things you typically can’t control via a simple smartphone app are the zoom and exact focus of your lens. There are various options out there when it comes to video, but they typically tend to require a gimbal to work alongside them.

Well, now, CamFi team have a solution. It’s called the CamFi ZF and it connects to the CamFi Pro, Pro Plus and a couple of other models via USB and adds focus and zoom control to the smartphone app to let you take charge remotely over WiFi. The project’s currently on Indiegogo although it doesn’t have long left to go.

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The CamFi ZF can be used with either the CamFi CF101, CF102, Pro or Pro Plus. It connects via USB cable to let you control everything from the existing CamFi smartphone app. It also supports live view for previewing and compositing.

While the advantages of such a system over devices like the Tilta Nucleus Nano or the Moza iFocus might not be immediately apparent, it does offer some great features for stills and timelapse photographers that more video-oriented focus units cannot provide. Of course, if your needs are primarily video, then this isn’t the unit for you.

One of those benefits for stills photographers, though is focus stacking – something that can be difficult to achieve manually but is easily achievable when the process is automated. All you need to do is set your near and far focus points, tell it the increment, and the smartphone app does the rest.

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For timelapse shooters, you can combine both the zoom and the focus features simultaneously to create zoom hyperlapses – because if you’re not using a parfocal lens, you’ll need to adjust the focus as you zoom in or out. Just set it and forget it.

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The system is based around a baseplate with a pair of carbon fibre rods in 110mm, 150mm or 200mm lengths, depending on the length of your lens. To this you attach the motor module, lens support and other brackets and bits to make sure everything stays rock solid. The unit then plugs into the CamFi attached to your camera.

The battery is a 500mAh 3.7v lithium-ion which CamFi says offers up to around 3 hours of use or 25 hours of standby. They don’t say how long it takes to charge or whether you can charge it while using it, though.

It looks like a pretty cool option for existing CamFi users, and if you don’t already have one, it might be worth taking advantage of the Indiegogo prices. It looks like the CamFi ZF with the CamFi Pro Plus is about the same price as the regular retail on the Pro Plus alone.

Head on over to Indiegogo to find out more.

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