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Product Review of Steadicam Merlin

written by: Andrea Smith•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/27/2011

The incredible lightweight operating system is reviewed

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    The Merlin model is by far the lightest and most advanced hand-held stabilizer. Comprised of the vest, arm and gimbal it weighs just 13 ounces without the add-on weights. This all-metal six-ball-bearing system has improved isolation, centering and operator control. With all the versatility one could ever wish for wrapped up in a lighter than air package. Merlin runs the full gamut of Human sizes. During my recent project with a local film school, I was able to test out this incredible system.

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    steadimerlin 

    Features

    Merlin Operates just as well as a $60.000 Steadicam rig.

    71cm vertical lifting range.

    Two axis adjustment = Increased shooting options.

    Rigid All-aluminum construction, which supports telephoto shooting.

    Patent Pending “Folding Caliper”; Automatically seeks perfect folding position.

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    Merlin breaks the mold and allows nearly every previously impossible shot to become a reality. With practice operators can fly the Merlin one-handed right off of the mounting post during a shot and execute those unique Merlin shot opportunities at any angle you choose and then slip the system right back onto the arm to continue the shot and finish.

    Merlin's design significantly reduces fatigue. So lightweight, it weighs less than a can of soda. With a compact DV, balanced and ready to go, the Merlin weighs about two pounds. Its rigid construction permits longer focal lengths than ever imaginable with a hand-held stabilizer.

    Merlin's unique dual extended weight system greatly increases inertial stability. And its counterbalancing weight can be precisely adjusted to balance cameras from 0.5 to 5 lbs. Perfect for shoulder-mounted shooting, and just as quickly, returns precisely for hand-held camera work. Range of motion is also improved with this model; I thoroughly enjoyed working with this system more so than previous models from other manufacturers. The design is quite nice as well.

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    Good

    Rating Average

    One negative aspect was that as a woman on the petite side, the vest fit not as snug as it would fit say Andre “The Giant”. Despite that one flaw it does exactly what it advertises. The lightweight system is easy to handle no matter what your size, provided you have a spotter for the dangerous shots. I give this system a high rating of Good!

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Steadicam Systems and Tips

Every facet of working with Steadicam Technology is covered here.
  1. Choosing a Steadicam Vest
  2. Finding Work as a Steadicam Op
  3. Product Review of Steadicam Merlin