I was an early adopter of the Okii USB follow focus controller and although I don’t use it as a follow focus very much, it works great as an all in one camera controller. It looks like Light Craft is getting into the game with a very similar looking USB follow focus controller called the Helmsman.

The buttons and style of the Helmsman look very similar to the design used on the Okii USB follow focus. The major difference seems to be the fact that the Helmsman splits into 2 peaces. The main controller which has 5 buttons and the Sub-controller which adds 4 more buttons. Together this gives you pretty much the same number of buttons and controls as the Okii USB Follow focus. The removal of the Sub-controller means that you can take away a few buttons that you don’t use on a regular basis.

Over all, I don’t see anything that really separates the Helmsman from Okii’s offering other then price. The pre order price for the Helmsman is $466. You can pick up the Okii USB follow focus with this discount code for $350. $116 is a lot to pay for the privilege of taking off 4 buttons. Even though I’ve had some negative things to say about the Okii USB follow focus, I haven’t sold it. In fact I almost always carry it with me and attach it to most of the rigs I film with.  The none follow focus features are very handy. Sure it takes a little memorization to know what button combinations do what, but once you’ve got it memorized, you don’t really need to touch the camera at all. On top of that, if you use it with something like the Canon t2i that’s missing a lot of buttons, it ends up being easier to adjust the settings on the Okii then it is to adjust them on the t2i.

If your interested in finding out more about the Helmsman, swing over to the light craft site and check it out. As for me I think I’ll stick with my Okii. If you need an actual follow focus, there are .

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