For those that are considering a refund, here's some info. I also have a review of the unit below. As a disclaimer, I placed my order in April of 2008:
They offer a check or wire transfer. For a wire transfer, there's a $50 fee. For a check, it's free, but it took me 4 weeks to get mine. I personally went to Viewfactor yesterday, and they had my check ready for me after calling them initially 4 weeks ago.
While at Viewfactor, I spoke to Curt, who I have to say is very nice and helpful. I think the reason he's not updating anymore is because there's just too many variables still up in the air, and he wants to stop disappointing people. However, he's picked up the phone every time I called, so I think that's the preferred method of communication at this point.
Curt also showed me the unit while I was there. While I only spent a limited time with it, here's my impression of it:
The build quality of the controller is fine, and feels fairly solid. However, having used a Bartech for several years, which is made of metal, there's no comparison. The Bartech feels bulletproof and will last 10 years, not sure about the viewfactor. Also, because the controller is almost a perfect circle, there's nowhere to rest your palm while trying to precisely pull focus. You kind of have to suspend your palm while using it, which is a bit uncomfortable.
Finally, there's no stops on the focus wheel. When you reach an extreme, whether it's close focus or infinity, the lens motor stops, but the impero knob keeps turning (you can turn the focus knob an unlimited amount of times). This means you have to keep track of the knob position relative to your marks. If you turn past infinity, you have to keep track of where infinity is, in case you need to turn back to closer focus marks. I found this to be the strangest feature. I apologize in advance if the shipped models do have stops in it. This is what Curt showed me, and I have to assume that he wouldn't show me an unfinished product. There were also a few skips in the motor when turning the impero. While the motor wasn't attached to a lens, the motor didn't always correspond the movement of the focus knob. It happened twice.
Regarding usability, it's fairly complicated. Because it operates off of bluetooth, there's two-way communication between the Inclino and Impero. Because of this, you have to wait for the motor to tell the Impero that its ready. There's a lot of waiting for LEDs on the Impero to blink a certain amount of times, which tells you that the motor is on, it's calibrated to the lens, and it's ready to use. With the Bartech, you turn the BFD on, the receiver on, and you're done. Some say that manually calibrating is time consuming, but if 20 seconds is considered time consuming, then yes, they're right. The viewfactor, with calibrating and waiting for LED communication, takes 5-10 seconds. That's a net 10 seconds or so, and I dont think is worth the extra complexity. If an Impero and Inclino was not given to me without an instruction manual, or Curt standing next to me, I do not think I would be able to set it up again.
It's a really attractive product with an ambitious feature set. However, all of this added complexity takes its toll. Focus control devices are about reliability, usability, and precision. The last thing anyone on set wants to wait for is an issue with a focus device. Maybe that's not the LAST thing, but its pretty close. They need to just work.
At this point, I'd be very hesitant to bring this to a professional set, ESPECIALLY if I hadn't worked with the 1st AC before. If it's someone I've worked with, and we work well together, then they'd hopefully just deal. But if it's a new AC, they would be annoyed. The fact is that their job is on the line if focus is off. The ergonomics are questionable, the reliability is spotty, and the complicated LED signals and large amount of buttons makes this product difficult to learn.
This is my honest opinion, and as unbiased as I can get. Please feel free to refute anything I have said.