Jun 22, 2010
Varizoom Rock PZFI lens controller for Panasonic cameras
This might indeed be one of the shortest reviews I've ever made, but the truth is there's not a whole lot to say about this little device from Varizoom: It just works, perfectly!
No doubt there are a host of other controllers available for the little Panasonic cameras, some separate focus from iris and zoom and one from Bogen/Manfrotto is basically the same setup but in a much larger package. However in the end what any HVX or HPX operator needs is the ability to get at iris, focus and zoom with ease when the camera is on a tripod. And in this respect the ROCK PZFI accomplishes that task very well.
When the unit was first introduced the large round knob on the left was about half the size it is now, and the larger-sized "wheel" has gone a long way to making it's controllability more precise.
There is one thing to note that disappoint most users of lens controllers for the Panasonic cameras that needs to be cleared:
The HVX200, it's "A" version and the HPX170 all share the same zoom servo controller for the lens. Panasonic did not give this servo a super-slow "crawl" speed nor did they give it a step-less motor. So if you're expecting that adding a lens controller will give you *more* control than what's available directly on-camera that's just not the case. The camera's internal electronics have complete authority over the servo speed and ramping steps and there's no way to override or change that, unfortunately. All a lens controller does is relocate the camera's built-in controls to a physically different location, but it does NOT change the characteristics of how those controls actually work.
If you want to completely change-up how the zoom or focus controls work then take a look at the manual controls available from Zacuto. That's the only way to "improve" upon what the camera servo's don't do.
As lens controllers go it's impossible to make a better one for the Panasonic cameras. The best part? Varizoom's customer service is the best in the industry. They stand behind their products and are always ready to support their customer base, without question. These days that direct dedication is hard to find and makes the Varizoom ROCK PZFI even more of a worthy purchase for your hard-earned cash.