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Alt Shoo

Ikan PD Movie(with iOS device)vs.Tilta Nucleus M

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I’ve seen a post relating to an affordable wireless follow focus in an unrelated thread and it coincides with my recent goals. I’m looking to finally complete a rig and would like to know if any cinematographer in this group is experienced with either or both of these wireless follow focus systems? Would like to know the pros and cons of each system and if possible why is one preferred over the other. 

Personally I’m leaning towards the Ikan PD movie because it seems more intuitive, maybe because of the iOS connectivity and looks to be more reliable. The Tilta seems like it would be easier to control more than one aspect of the lens at one time because of the multiple controllers that it ships with. So as of now I’m indecisive. As mentioned, maybe someone with more user experience could chime in. 

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56 minutes ago, Alt Shoo said:

Interesting that there aren’t any individuals experienced with these products on this forum. 

@Ed_David has started a thread about the Nucleus M two topics down from this, so might be a place to ask him directly.

I'm pretty sure I remember @DBounce getting the Tilta as well but I could be mistaken.

1873198995_ScreenShot2018-10-22at15_29_29.png.441898b03f94b3d5ac377c29aacce8e9.png

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32 minutes ago, BTM_Pix said:

@Ed_David has started a thread about the Nucleus M two topics down from this, so might be a place to ask him directly.

I'm pretty sure I remember @DBounce getting the Tilta as well but I could be mistaken.

1873198995_ScreenShot2018-10-22at15_29_29.png.441898b03f94b3d5ac377c29aacce8e9.png

I have the Tilta Nucleus M. It's a mighty system. The only complaint I have of Tilta... and this will sound strange, is that they would allow more granular control of the torque of the motors. Currently the lowest setting is 30% torque. If this number were half it would still be high enough for a maximum setting. I honestly believe this system would be fine with only 10% of its current power, and high, med and low setting within that 10%. But that said, if this setup cannot drive your lens, you might be SOL.

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13 minutes ago, DBounce said:

I have the Tilta Nucleus M. It's a mighty system. The only complaint I have of Tilta... and this will sound strange, is that they would allow more granular control of the torque of the motors. Currently the lowest setting is 30% torque. If this number were half it would still be high enough for a maximum setting. I honestly believe this system would be fine with only 10% of its current power, and high, med and low setting within that 10%. But that said, it this setup cannot drive your lens, you might be SOL.

Yeah I noticed that at their showing at Photokina. The whole rig was torquing when they ran it through it's paces. I can see your concern.

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48 minutes ago, DBounce said:

I have the Tilta Nucleus M. It's a mighty system. The only complaint I have of Tilta... and this will sound strange, is that they would allow more granular control of the torque of the motors. Currently the lowest setting is 30% torque. If this number were half it would still be high enough for a maximum setting. I honestly believe this system would be fine with only 10% of its current power, and high, med and low setting within that 10%. But that said, if this setup cannot drive your lens, you might be SOL.

What do you mean by “torque-ing” in regards to the motors? Are you saying that the motor is too powerful for the lens? Is that just something you’re concerned about or should that be a general issue for other users?

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38 minutes ago, Alt Shoo said:

What do you mean by “torque-ing” in regards to the motors? Are you saying that the motor is too powerful for the lens? Is that just something you’re concerned about or should that be a general issue for other users?

It really depends on the lenses you are driving. I do not own any lenses that really require high torque. I you do this might be beneficial. Let me give you an example: When I first got the Nucleus M I used it with some adapted photo lenses. By default the motors were set to auto calibrate (this setting is now changed to default to manual calibration in the new firmware). When the motor turned on it spun the lens past the hard-stop and kept spinning. Thankfully, the lens gear gave way and just spun around the lens, sparing the lens from damage. Now you are probably picturing some simple plastic lens gear... Not so. I was using Zeiss lens gears (pictured below)... which are super sturdy, all metal construction and about as high a quality a lens gear as one can buy. These things where securely attached to the lenses. Yet the motor effortlessly broke them free and kept spinning. I almost $h!t when this happened. This happened with the lowest possible setting for the Nucleus M. 

So here is the takeaway... Manually calibrate for most lenses. If you are driving 20 lbs anamorphic zooms, maybe it's ok to auto calibrate. But for most lenses, I would manually calibrate. Tilta can lower the torque with a new firmware update. And indeed they did... that's why you can select 30%. But even at the lowest torque setting, these motors are powerful enough so that if you hold the motor gear in your grip, it will easily break free from your grasp. It needs to be about 3-4% of its current torque. That way when it hits that hard-stop it will not break free of the rig so that it can spin freely. 

If you manually calibrate none of this is a problem. Also manual calibration is pretty quick. If you plan to one day upgrade to some heavy duty lenses, then these motors will be ready for the task. 

Now the good. The Tilta system is a great setup. It is easily one of the highest quality pieces of gear I own. Well made, built to "Pro" specs. It works wonderfully and makes pulling focus a breeze. Overall, it's up there with the best, and at a bargain price. If you are on the fence, there is no need to be. It's really that good. I only add the cautionary statement so as to let everyone know that this is pro gear, meant to drive some heavy duty lenses. If your lens is an adapted photo lens, or something remotely portable, you might prefer to manually calibrate.

Zeiss Lens gear.jpg

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Just now, AaronChicago said:

I have the PD and really like it. I’ve never used the Nucleus however. Has anyone used both that could give a comparison?

How is the torque on the PD? Is it ok for photo lenses? What if you need to drive heavy PL lenses? For functionality the Tilta is great. Having everything built into the handles is amazing. The controls are responsive while feeling good in hand. The working experience is perhaps one of the best.

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I have just purchased the PDmovie remote live air. It's incredibly light, easy to use, and is free from any cable. The automatic calibration does not always work, but the manual calibration is very easy to make. For a one man shooting style, that's the best thing I have ever used as a follow focus, and even cheaper than most mechanical ones. I use it with an iscorama 36, which can be a pain in the -bip- to focus, and it has completely solved the problem. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxmKcXbjz-M

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@AaronChicago how is the torque and the delay? @DBounceI would go crazy if my lens broke! It’s good to know that yours was safe. The Tilta seems mighty powerful. Did you purchase with theee motors? How is the delay? Is there an app for it as well? I can’t seem to find that information regarding iOS integration. The reason I’ve been thinking about the Ikan is their instructional video they have on it is so concise on its operations and the installation seems very simple. Also the app is really an awesome addition. @IronFilm I truly am on the fence between the two, but I always like newer tech!!!

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I don't seem to have seen the ikan mentioned in the same breath as the Tilta before, or have seen this ikan wireless follow focus on set beforehand?
Which makes me wonder if it is a serious competitor to the new Titla at all. 
But who knows, maybe it is a hidden gem, and I'm curious to hear more about it. 

41 minutes ago, DBounce said:

So here is the takeaway... Manually calibrate for most lenses. If you are driving 20 lbs anamorphic zooms, maybe it's ok to auto calibrate. But for most lenses, I would manually calibrate. Tilta can lower the torque with a new firmware update. And indeed they did... that's why you can select 30%. But even at the lowest torque setting, these motors are powerful enough so that if you hold the motor gear in your grip, it will easily break free from your grasp. It needs to be about 3-4% of its current torque. That way when it hits that hard-stop it will not break free of the rig so that it can spin freely. 


Hope Tilta reads this! And offers another firmware update, with 10% or even 5% (or less?! :-o ) as an option.


I was worried with the Nucleus N being so much weaker than the Nucleus M that maybe the Nucleus N might not be good enough. But now hearing about how powerful the Nucleus M is, we have nothing to fear from the Nucleus N! ha. Rather it might be a blessing if the Nucleus N is relatively underpowered instead. 

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I think for a dslr setup, the PD might have its place. But for serious work the Tilta might get the nod. @Alt Shoo I got the two motor setup.  You can add a third for about $300.  Honestly, once you understand the basics of how to set it up, you are golden. It really isn't that complicated. There are some decent video out there with detailed information to get you up and running fast. 

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So I just spoke to the guys over at Tilta, and they told me that the Motors reset to 50% on bootup. After checking my motors this is indeed the case. They advised me that the engineers are aware of the problem and will address it in the next firmware update. Also, after retesting with the lowered setting I believe it is Ok to use with most lenses. Keep in mind, if you are only going by the reading on the fiz unit you may think the motors are set to the lower setting. However, this may not be the case. You need to check the setting on the actual motor... for now anyway.

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2 hours ago, AaronChicago said:

Yeah the PD is more for single operator controls on either a gimbal or shoulder/easy rig. It’s super small but really strong. The Tilta looks to be more of a pro option and expandable. 

I cant wait to try the DJI mini focus for the Ronin S.

I think the PD you’re talking about is different from the one I’m interested in. 

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