The LIVE AIR 3 SMART offers you LiDAR focus with out requiring you purchase a gimbal first

DJI’s LiDAR focusing system (buy here) has been met with blended responses because it was launched in 2020. Some like it. Some hate it. LiDAR focusing remains to be in its early days, and the tech has a protracted approach to go earlier than it’s excellent, however it exhibits lots of promise.

They’re not the one firm engaged on it, although. PDMOVIE has simply launched their new LIVE AIR 3 SMART (buy here). It’s a distant observe focus motor that additionally consists of LiDAR focusing for cinema and different handbook lenses.

DPMovie LIVE AIR 3 SMART LiDAR focus motor

The LIVE AIR 3 SMART primarily mounts to rails in your digital camera rig the identical manner a daily wi-fi follow-focus motor would. In fact, you should utilize it with a gimbal if you want, though, not like DJI’s providing, shopping for a gimbal is just not obligatory.

It’s an interesting-looking gadget that holds lots of potential for filmmakers. It’s not going to be excellent for each situation, and also you’re nonetheless restricted to a single particular spot to deal with as a substitute of having the ability to faucet round your complete body however, sure, potential.

LiDAR is fairly new to this form of utility, so it’s going to take a while for it to essentially come to fruition. Already, although, LiDAR focusing provides some nice advantages over each manually focusing and current Part Detect, DfD and different autofocus methods – which is why Panasonic’s trying to combine extra tightly with DJI.

Calibration is fiddly, however it remembers your lenses!

You do should manually calibrate the motor for every of the lenses you want to use. It’s a petty fiddly course of, however you must solely have to do it as soon as. It even shops a variety of lens presets with the intention to save your favourites and don’t should calibrate them each time.

As soon as calibrated and remembered, swapping lenses is as simple as taking the previous one off, placing the brand new one on and loading the preset for that lens. As soon as calibrated, the main target response appears to be very fast and correct if this demo is something to go by.

It provides about 8-10 hours of runtime on a completely charged battery. And one of many nice issues about this gadget is that it makes use of a detachable battery. So, you may have 2 or 3 spares sitting in your bag for lengthy periods filming away from energy.

For those who solely have the one battery, you’re in a position to cost whereas utilizing it from a USB-C energy financial institution. That is additionally the way you cost your batteries when again at residence or the studio.

It’s a daily wi-fi follow-focus unit, too!

In addition to including LiDAR autofocus capabilities to cinema and different handbook focus lenses, it additionally acts as a standard wi-fi observe focus. Actually, PDMovie says that they make the world’s smallest thumbwheel for follow-focus management.

From wanting on the footage of it, it certain appears to be extraordinarily small at solely 31mm in diameter. It sports activities a 1/4-20″ thread on the underside, permitting you to screw it straight into any 1/4-20″ mounting level in your digital camera, cage or different a part of your rig.

The corporate additionally provides a bigger handwheel gadget for remotely controlling focus away out of your digital camera, with as much as 100 metres of vary. You’re additionally in a position to set focus markers, permitting you to shortly go straight from one focus distance to a different instantly.

General, it seems like a really well-thought-out system that gives much more functionality than DJI’s LiDAR providing.

Value and Availability

The PDMovie LIVE AIR 3 SMART is available for purchase now in three packages from the PDMovie website. Two include the Mini model of the motor, and one makes use of the common model.

The mini variations are the PDL-AFX-S for $419 and the PDL-AFX-RA-S for $509. The principle distinction between these kits is that the latter comes with the bigger observe focus wheel. The common model is the PDL-AFX-RA-SP, prices $669 and comes with the beefier and extra highly effective motor.