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Sony HVR-Z7 / HVR-S270
Handheld and shoulder mount versions of this Sony 3-CMOS HDV camcorder.


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Old February 19th, 2009, 12:31 AM   #1
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Using with Steadicam Merlin

Anyone use the Z7 with a Steadicam Merlin? Been looking at demo videos of it and it seems to come with or without the arm and vest. I know the Z7 weighs a bit more than the Z1 and didn't know if anyone had success with either camera and the Merlin.

Any thoughts are appreciated.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 08:52 AM   #2
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Geoff,

I tried it and it is just way to heavy. You can get away with the FX-1, but that is pushing it. I'm not sure if adding the vest/arm allows you more weight, but the Merlin alone can't do it.
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Old February 19th, 2009, 02:41 PM   #3
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Thanks for that. What about the Sony Z1? That's a bit lighter.
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Old February 20th, 2009, 10:29 PM   #4
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Z7 + Merlin = more of a reality than RED meeting a deadline

On the cover of the Merlin User Manual, they have a Z1. I've seen a photo of a EX1 on a Merlin, which is heaver than the Z7, but they also had the 3rd party accessory plate (aprox $150). So yes, the Z7 can fly on the Merlin.

I almost got the Merlin to work with my Z7, but there was a problem w/ my unit that I had to send it back to Tiffen. I haven't had time to try it out since I got it back though.

Z7 + Merlin is HEAVY, but very do able if you have a good gym membership. Then again, I come from the world of Betacams, and half the time I pick up my Z7 I think "this is lighter than a (Anton Bauer) brick."

Just make sure you get a metal gimble Merlin. The Z7 is pushing the weight limit & you want that extra strength. Also use the smallest battery you can, yeah it doesn't last that long, but it will last longer than your arm, so when your arm needs a break, change the battery.
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Old February 21st, 2009, 06:17 AM   #5
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What was the accessory plate for?

I would only need the Merlin for short bursts of shooting. I do mostly weddings, but having a steadicam for parts of the day would greatly increase my capacity for quality shots.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 01:14 PM   #6
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If you are flying the Z7 on the merlin, you want NO accessories. Stock mic, maybe, but nothing else.

If you want to use wireless, or anything else, you can put them on the accessory plate which goes beneath the camera where all the weights go. Essentially your wirless will become a counter weight & will keep balance w/o adding extra weight.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 06:51 AM   #7
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Ok, so it is "possible" to run a Z7 on a Merlin (without the arm and vest?)

I would keep it stripped as much as possible of course. And I am assuming the Z1 would be even better since it is lighter...thanks for the tip.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 04:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff Schatzel View Post
Ok, so it is "possible" to run a Z7 on a Merlin (without the arm and vest?)
Yes.

Just be sure to eat your Wheaties.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 11:35 AM   #9
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You can buy additional Merlin weights from B&H. I fly my V1 with wide angle adapter and with a Bogen tripod plate mount. It's way overweight, but it works okay with two additional weights. I also had to get and cut a screw for the front of the plate to keep the unit from flexing. I use it for getting an occasional moving shot in run and gun situations. I can only shoot for short periods of time with it, but that's all I need to grab a shot here and there. I travel with it and can be set up in a couple minutes. With an arm and a vest I'd have to check another piece of luggage (another $100 in extra baggage fees) and take more time for setup. I'm also using the plastic gimbal. Not ideal, but so far it hasn't broken. I would never want to "run" with a handheld stabilizer. "Walk Fast" maybe.

For awhile I used the accessory plate, but I found it difficult to trim as a slight rotation can throw the rig out of balance pretty easily.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 05:13 PM   #10
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Z7 with Steddiepod

I bought the Steddiepod for use with my Z7, FX1 and other cameras. It takes about 5 mins or less to balance and I have the shaft marked for the different cameras. It a steddy cam device, a monopod, and works for me as a tripod also. I never have to take my camera off if I don't want too. Here's the 1st video I shot with the Steddiepod and Z7--the camera has on it my TL-50 led lite, mike receiver, and big battery--weighs in at 8lbs and both units together are 13lbs. This video I am running chasing my wifes dog around the yard. Still need to practice to get it better
link to video YouTube - Steddiepod with Z7U camera test

link to steddiepod Barbertech Video Products

They sell at B&H for around $430 I bought mine on EBAY for $189
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Old March 10th, 2009, 06:27 PM   #11
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Hey Bruce, that's a neat little contraption. What kind of learning curve is involved? Was the shot you took with the dog upside down?

On a side note, how much money did you have hanging over the pool?
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Old March 10th, 2009, 06:57 PM   #12
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Hmm, good timing posting this. I was in the process of really considering the Merlin.

I would like to see some more video on how it works as a stabilizer. Think you could post anything else?

Nice footage with the dog btw.

Update: Found this video on Youtube with it as well,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwGooO8SwVs

Is it me or does it not look as smooth as the Merlin?

Last edited by Geoff Schatzel; March 10th, 2009 at 07:05 PM. Reason: update
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Old March 10th, 2009, 07:21 PM   #13
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I just read another forum comparing the Steddiepod to the Merlin, and basically they trashed the pod.

Think I may go ahead and get my Merlin.
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Old March 10th, 2009, 11:57 PM   #14
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steddiepod

I haven't tried the Merlin but did try the glidecam and it was very hard to use with the Z7 and it takes a while to mount the camera getting it right and thats the only thing you can do without taking the camera off.. I also don't know if the Merlin can handle the weight of the Z7. I have mine with everything on it that I need for the wedding and reception so I don't have to take stuff off of the camera to use it on a glidecam to lighten the camera up. It takes about 5 minutes to get it balanced the 1st time. I have the shaft marked where each camera is balanced so when I have the steddiepod up high as tripod I can then re-adjust it for stedipod use easy. The dog video was shot upside down running around. I have gotten better now with it and smoothed it out.
Here's a video shot by the Barber Tech people that shows all it's uses and pretty smooth moves but the video quailty is pretty bad. STEDDIEPOD Demonstration - BarberTech Video Products
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Old March 11th, 2009, 06:24 AM   #15
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Well I intend to use the Merlin for short burst shooting so I should be able to handle it. I also have a Z1. It's not THAT much lighter but should be ok. I can then save up for the vest and arm. Although to be honest, I don't know from experience how much that will help. Maybe someone can chime in with their thoughts.
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