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Canon EOS Crop Sensor for HD
APS-C sensor cameras including the 80D, 70D, 7D Mk. II, 7D, EOS M and Rebel models for HD video recording.


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Old November 19th, 2009, 06:20 PM   #1
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7D + Merlin Steadicam

Anyone use these two together yet? I have both, but am missing a little pin on the Merlin.... Where to get it, I don't know. grr... Hope to try them out soon.

Any tips? Observations?
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Old November 19th, 2009, 06:27 PM   #2
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If you don't have a huge rig, I think you can use the merlin just fine (for short bursts):

This is a video of the 5D on the merlin: Sunday Shoot - Canon 7D - Merlin steadicam on Vimeo

Here's a 7D on the merlin:

Of course there are 2 problems:

- No AF on the 7D so you have to shoot accordingly
- heavy... even without a kit, the 7D and merlin will need a strong arm.

That's the dealbreaker for me. lol I am going leaning towards a redrock micro field kit which will obviously demand a bigger steadicam rig.
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Old November 19th, 2009, 11:47 PM   #3
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Great post! Thank you!

I liked the arm falling off on the video.

I have used my Canon A1 on the Merlin, so I don't really think the weight will be a deal breaker, but the autofocus (or lack thereof) was something I was thinking about too... Hmmm..
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Old November 20th, 2009, 02:39 AM   #4
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I tried my 5D out with a Merlin. It worked fine, after a bit of fiddling.
Used an old Nikon 28mm 2.8 lens.
It wasn't heavy.
The depth of field was deep so everything was in focus.
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Old November 20th, 2009, 04:32 PM   #5
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I have a Merlin with the arm and vest and got it for the XH A1. The 7D would be a little lighter so it should work fine. However, one of my main reasons for not selling the XH A1 is for Steadicam work. I seem to do lots of shots where I move up to a closeup of a thing or person. Auto focus is very nice for that. In fact, that's the only time I've ever used auto focus. For the kinds of shots where you're simply walking along with the subject, then it's not a problem. And if you're outdoors in bright light and stopped down on a wide angle, it should be OK. If you can afford the complete Merlin package, the arm/vest will change your life.
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Old November 20th, 2009, 05:12 PM   #6
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I found the 7D on the Merlin pretty tiring... and I'm used to holding an HV20 with wide angle combo for one or even two hours.

I'd be curious to use the 7D with a deep focus wide angle on an arm/vest and see if that fixes most of the problems I have: focus and weight being the two main ones.
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Old November 20th, 2009, 05:59 PM   #7
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The reason I got the Merlin over the Pilot was so I could just use the Merlin without arm/vest for shooting inside cars where there wasn't room for everything. It gets really tiring very quickly using it that way and I've only done it once. But with the whole package, I can wear it for as long as necessary without tiring. I've used full size rigs before with 2/3" chip cameras, and I'd be good for a couple of takes, then have to take it off. I think the 7D with most wide angle lenses would be at least 2 or 3 pounds lighter than the XH A1 fully loaded, so it ought to be easy. That's assuming you can use it with the LCD and no have to add a monitor.
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Old November 21st, 2009, 10:56 AM   #8
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I have an indicam (indicam.com - Home) with vest, arm and gimble, and it works pretty well with my Canon A1. I've tried it with the 7d, and haven't had much luck. Too much boating and minute panning. I haven't tried readjusting my entire rig, because I don't want to screw up the balance I have for the a1.
I found that with the arm as it is, the 7d bounces all over. It's somewhat better when I just use the gimble, but still not acceptable. I've tried 24 and 30, with my Tokina 11-16 at 11mm and Canon 17-55 is at 17mm. Exposure and focus was fine ( shooting outside stiopped down) but the panning and boating is still way to much. Looks pretty jerkey.
I plan to give Terry at indicam a call, and hopefully Charles Pappert will chime in.
Any ideas?
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Old November 21st, 2009, 04:11 PM   #9
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This is a test flight with the 5D2 and a Glidecam 2000 and 17-40 f4L. It was the second time I've tried it. I really need to practice some more. Especially I find panning/tilting to be tricky. But I've seen some really nice footage from this combo, so I'll keep working at it. The only difference with the 7d would be that you would need a 10mm lens to get this wide. I'm going to try it at 40mm which would replicate roughly a 24mm lens on the 7d.

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Old November 21st, 2009, 04:18 PM   #10
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With that design of arm, Bruce, more weight is generally better to "quieten things down". I'd recommend adding some ballast up top, however you can get it.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 11:12 AM   #11
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I've read a ton of stuff on DVinfo in the Support Your Local Camera section and elsewhere the last few days since I'm considering a Merlin Steadicam for my 7D soon (with it's Canon 17-55 F2.8 lens set at 17mm or Canon 10-22mm on it). From what I've read, the Merlin looks more suitable (for my needs) than the Glidecam HD2000 or Blackbird - but I'm still undecided.

I'm fully prepared to put the time in to get skilled with this type of setup (but I'm still struggling with the potential cost, about 600, getting close to that of decent long lens - something else on the near horizon for me!)

Just wondering how people are getting on with a 7D + Merlin combination?

One other question, all my other support gear and cameras (Sony EX3, Sony HC1, 2 Libec tripods x and Manfrotto monopod) have Manfrotto slide plates on them, similar to the one in the amazon link for illustrative purposes, so I assume it would be OK/best to attach one to the Merlin too? Merlin would only be used with 7D and maybe HC1 (The EX3 is way, way too heavy to fly - on a Merlin and for me!)

Manfrotto 357 Sliding Plate Adaptor: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics & Photo

Any and all info much appreciated.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 12:44 PM   #12
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There's no reason to use that plate on the Merlin, since it has a plate that slides back and forth, and left and right.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 02:58 PM   #13
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The Merlin comes with (and requires) its own multi-holed dovetail plate that attaches directly to your camera's mounting hole. To ALSO attach any kind of Manfrotto tripod adapter plate, you would need to drill and tap a standard camera mounting hole (and a guide pin hole) into the BOTTOM of your Manfrotto plate, so that it could accept the Merlin dovetail plate. I wouldn't recommend a plate screwed into another plate.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 03:36 PM   #14
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Thanks for the replies. Is that what this guy did with his 5DMkII and Merlin then? (It was n't clear from this video that I've just found).

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Old January 10th, 2010, 03:45 PM   #15
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The Merlin comes supplied with a Tripod Adaptor Plate so that you can quickly remove the camera from the Steadicam & fit it onto a tripod.
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