The ZERO is The World’s Most Innovative Follow Focus

by Bret Hoy3 Comments

Recently, I was shooting a brand video for a production house in town, and we were gearing up our Ronin and follow-focus so that we could nail this rack, while moving the camera.

Anyways, as we’re gearing up this Canon 24 L, we realized that the focus lens gear that we had wasn’t tight enough—and we couldn’t find the allen wrench to tighten it. The question then arises: “Why hasn’t someone fixed this problem?”

It’s not that I don’t think I should’ve kept better track of the allen wrench. It’s that it’s such an annoying thing to have to keep track of on set. Why hasn’t someone just made a focus lens gear that fits on any lens, without a tool? Now I can finally say, “Well, someone has.”

Josh Turner at Broken Anchor Design has created what he is calling the perfect focus lens gear- The ZERO. A focus lens gear that fits on virtually any lens, works without a tool, installs in seconds and actually improves the focus throw of your photography lenses.

It might sound a little too good to be true, but after watching the video for his kickstarter campaign, I can’t say I’m not convinced. It looks really really cool. I have a couple questions about the product but neither are dealbreakers by any means.

planetMitch note: Josh has answered Bret's questions down in the comments! Have a look.

One: How heavy is it? That is, will it throw off the balance of a system and can I use it on a Ronin? Its metal design is beautiful and durable, but it does pose some technical questions.

Two: Will its size prohibit me from using any specific rail systems?

The ZERO Kickstarter campaign just started and is already over $2,000, but they’re working to make it past $45,000 for the first run. Contribute early! Share now! I’d love to see this product succeed.

ZERO – Follow Focus Lens Gear by Broken Anchor Design

Via Kickstarter:

ZERO is the world's first truly universal, seamless follow focus lens gear. The lens gear is designed to fit nearly any lens in your kit and boasts a blistering 3-second install time, making lens changes a breeze.

The seamless outer gear is completely free of any obstructions, meaning you can spend less time setting up your gear and focus on the shot. Featuring an oversized, fixed diameter, Zero gives you the highest degree of accuracy when pulling focus and offers you the most repeatable and consistent action, every time.

But function isn't the only thing we care about at Broken Anchor Design. We believe a product should be beautiful, inside and out!

The amazing technical capabilities are completely framed within a stunning physical appearance. We believe design should be so much more than just features and benefits; it should have that inspired human touch.

Kickstarter Campaign Details
Funding Goal: $33,300 USD ($45,000 CAD)
Pricing: Starting at $275USD ($370 CAD)
Estimated Delivery: Early March 2017
Dates: Nov 15, – Dec 15, 2016

Universal Size
The highlight feature of Zero is our patent-pending universal sizing mechanism. Our clever design utilizes a scissor-like action that extends the grip pads toward the center of the ring. With a simple quarter-turn of the front half, the gripping arms reach inward to fit any lens diameter. The system features an intuitive, patent-pending tension system that allows for the front ring to continue rotating once the grip pads make contact with the lens. This preloads the system to ensure a secure fit. Zero truly is the greatest lens gear in the world!!

Unlike other “universal” follow focus lens gears, Zero has finally rid the world of various sizing spokes, the need for multiple sized rings, or excessively long rubber gear strips. Evolution has arrived!

Seemless Design


One of our key objectives while developing Zero was to make a truly seamless lens gear. It had to be free of any zip-ties, excess rubber strips, mounting clamps or any other obstruction that interferes with the gear's operation.

Learn more about Zero Follow Focus at their Kickstarter Campaign page.

(cover photo credit: snap from Kickstarter)

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy

Bret Hoy is a filmmaker, photographer and writer based out of St. Louis, Missouri. Mainly focused on documentary and experimental film, he has produced, directed, shot and edited many short films and a few long form works.

He shoots a lot and often.
Bret Hoy


  1. Hello Bret

    First off thanks for writing such a thorough article on our lens gear. We truly believe that we have created an absolute game changer for filmmakers of all levels.

    I am happy to respond to your simple questions.

    ONE: The weight is actually listed on the kickstarter page near the bottom but is buried in the tech specs graphic. Zero weighs 136 grams or (4.79 ounces). To put that into a tangible comparison an iPhone 6 weighs 129 grams(4.55 ounces).

    We have removed weight from every possible place we can. The backside of the gear has deep cutouts, and internally the wall thicknesses have been thinned down to 1mm, which is enough to provide the strength it needs for ultra-long term durability, yet be as light as possible.

    In terms of balancing your ronin, or any other gimbal, there shouldn’t be any significant imbalance that cannot be accounted for with minor readjustments, the same way you would if you were to change lenses that were significantly different in size.

    TWO: The size and rail compatibility. Zero was designed to accommodate a large range of different sized lenses which led us to have to make decisions on how far to push the maximum size of our lens gear. After a lot of time consulting with filmmakers and photographers about which lenses they used the most and then cross referencing against countless pages of technical specification across all major lens manufacturers we settled on an a technical operating range of 90-60mm diameter. This includes your large primes and tele zooms right through to your 50mm 1.8. From there we had to make sure it would fit the rigs.

    In terms of ensuring that the lens fits on every rig imaginable, it’s almost impossible to guarantee it. But with that little disclaimer in mind, we have designed the lens gear to have more than enough clearance with all three rod standards which can be found on the O’connor site here:

    The tightest clearance is obviously 15mm LW rods which has distance of 85mm from the lens optical centre to the rod centre. Zero is 63mm from outer diameter to optical centre, and accounting for the 7.5mm rod radius you are left with a minimum clearance of 14.5mm (0.6″). There is technically a larger clearance because the rods are offset to the sides of zero’s lowest point, resulting in a clearance of 19.64mm. All things accounted for the absolute minimum height from lens centre to rod centre to allow zero to clear is 64mm(2.52″)

    I hope my explanations make sense. Basically if your rod set are standardized or has an adjustable base plate you shouldn’t have any issues. If it’s not, I would check with the rod supplier and I am sure you could get a riser to make it work.

    Thanks for the questions Bret. I am sure you are not the only one.

    Josh Turner
    Owner and Founder
    Broken Anchor Design

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