Can Merlin w/Arm & Vest be Good - Or is Pilot Required? - Page 3 at

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Old March 30th, 2009, 10:47 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Terry Thompson View Post
If someone with an arm can put some kind of weights on the end without the Merlin attached and max it out then we can get an answer.
I think the Steadicam Pilot and Merlin use the same arm, but I'm not sure. My Steadicam Pilot arm droops below level with the springs fully cranked right around 11 pounds of camera, accessories, and sled battery. I just weighed the sled itself at 3.3 pounds. So together, that's 14.3 pounds max - quite a bit less than the Indicam Pilot arm.
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Old March 30th, 2009, 11:24 PM   #32
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The arms are identical.

Last edited by Nick Tsamandanis; March 31st, 2009 at 12:23 AM.
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Old April 8th, 2009, 03:20 PM   #33
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I have the Merlin with arm and vest and use with an XH A1. I keep on camera a shotgun mic, a wireless receiver, a Lee bellows mattebox (no rails) with usually one 4X4 filter. It balances fine with the extra weights you get with the arm/vest package. Total camera weight with all that stuff on it is right at 7 pounds. My previous experience with a heavier system and 2/3" chip camera is that the Merlin package takes a bit more practice, but the moves can be identical once you get the hang of it.
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Old April 9th, 2009, 11:10 AM   #34
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With no low mode and a highly challenging whip pan, the Merlin with arm makes a weak second place to the Pilot. This is exacerbated by the long-standing Tiffen policy to only sell complete units, preventing (or severely curtailing) the ability to upgrade.

The Merlin's a great tool. I have one, and use it. I prefer the new Blackbird (The Blackbird Camera Stabilizer by Camera Motion Research) because of some specific handling features and the addition of SmoothTouch, a variable drag system that makes it fly an ultralight camera with more stability.

But handheld only goes so far. Tiffen adds the vest and arm, and inspires a large consumer and prosumer audience to try new shots. We know it's a large audience, and a large customer base, because they say so in their literature!

It strikes me as logical that the next step would be to want better whips, low mode, a distinct monitor for viewing....all the things the Pilot sled has.

Not to mention a spar that doesn't hit my copious gut every time I move.

The irony to me is that the Tiffen staff are so great. They treat Merlin owners with the same high level of service that every Steadicam owner gets - there's no discrimination because it's "consumer" or "prosumer" or "not a lot of money." The service is wonderful - and I really love that about them.

But this new market needs a push toward the next translation step. We need an upgrade path to a Pilot sled.

(In full disclosure, I own a Flyer and a Merlin from Tiffen, and a Blackbird from CMR.)
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Old April 19th, 2009, 06:45 PM   #35
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Hey dana,u have 3 of them...wich one do you suggest for a z1 use?

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Old April 20th, 2009, 08:24 PM   #36
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For handheld, the Blackbird. For worn, probably a Pilot.

I'm enjoying the Blackbird. I'm really in love with whatever they call the friction's a cool thing to dial in exactly the amount of freedom that works for a given shot.
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