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Old April 21st, 2005, 01:37 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Papert
The Merlin should deliver similar operating results as a JR, as the gimbal is essentially the same. The more rigid construction suggests that it will resist vibration better than its prededecessor. The lighter weight means less fatigue.
Any demo video shot by Steadicam JR by an experienced steadicam operator on the net?
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Old April 21st, 2005, 01:48 AM   #17
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Charles,

Glad to know the system isn't substantially superior to the JR. I'd really like to buy the Merlin but there isn't any justification left when the JR is $550 cheaper. What do you feel about the Merlin's price?
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Old April 21st, 2005, 10:40 AM   #18
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A bit surprised, honestly. I had expected it to be priced for the market since it doesn't incorporate a monitor and is so simple (elegantly simple!).

It may be worth noting that the shape echoes Garrett Brown's original JR prototype, which also folded sideways at the center and had a curved appearance. This to me underscores once again how much resistance GB met at Cinema Products, the former manufacturer of the Steadicam brand (to whom GB had licensed the Steadicam concept). It's taken 14 years for GB's form factor to come to market! Tiffen is seemingly doing better with this, but to be fair, GB had come up with the current design for the Flyer arm a good 5 years ago also.
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Old April 21st, 2005, 11:19 AM   #19
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The price is steep to be sure...but then again...it is a *genuine* Steadicam right?[heh, heh]

The price does give me pause though, and dampens my initial enthusiasm for the Merlin some what.

From the brochure:

One thing I noticed is the VELCRO tape on the handle and near the stage..
I guess it is to tuck the gimbled handle to the stage to store when folded.

I guess Tiffen needs to recoup the "development costs" of this thing by pricing it that high.
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 08:53 AM   #20
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I was originally bummed that a new model would be announced so soon after I bought a JR, but $900 is out of my price range anyway. I'm not sure it's overpriced, I just can't afford it. Also, $900 is just list isn't it? Maybe it'll come in at $700 or so, which is still kind of a lot. I wonder if they're going to continue to sell the JR, or if it's being phased out? I think relatively few people are going to be able to afford Merlin and I wouldn't think Tiffen would want to give away so much market share to Glidecam. In fact, I had assumed their new model would be some kind of counterattack, but instead it's in an entirely different league.

I've been scrutinizing those pictures -- Charles can you tell us if the vertical adjustment collar on the gimbal is finally made out of metal? It sure looks like it. That's about my only complaint with the earlier design. Also, the forward and aft adjustment mechanism seems to shift awfully easily on the JR, requiring constant tweaking. The new version looks a lot more solid to me. In fact, it doesn't look like it can be adjusted on the fly at all, so they must be pretty confident that it's not going to shift. That would be a major upgrade right there. With the JR I can never pull it out of the box and just go. I always have to spend a couple of minutes balancing it again.

Too bad the Merlin doesn't look like it can be mounted on a tripod anymore. I guess they figured it wasn't necessary with the new quick release, but it's still quicker to change back and forth with it on a tripod. Looks gnarly too. :)
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 02:09 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marco Leavitt
I was originally bummed that a new model would be announced so soon after I bought a JR, but $900 is out of my price range anyway. I'm not sure it's overpriced, I just can't afford it. Also, $900 is just list isn't it? Maybe it'll come in at $700 or so, which is still kind of a lot. I wonder if they're going to continue to sell the JR, or if it's being phased out? I think relatively few people are going to be able to afford Merlin and I wouldn't think Tiffen would want to give away so much market share to Glidecam. In fact, I had assumed their new model would be some kind of counterattack, but instead it's in an entirely different league.

I've been scrutinizing those pictures -- Charles can you tell us if the vertical adjustment collar on the gimbal is finally made out of metal? It sure looks like it. That's about my only complaint with the earlier design. Also, the forward and aft adjustment mechanism seems to shift awfully easily on the JR, requiring constant tweaking. The new version looks a lot more solid to me. In fact, it doesn't look like it can be adjusted on the fly at all, so they must be pretty confident that it's not going to shift. That would be a major upgrade right there. With the JR I can never pull it out of the box and just go. I always have to spend a couple of minutes balancing it again.

Too bad the Merlin doesn't look like it can be mounted on a tripod anymore. I guess they figured it wasn't necessary with the new quick release, but it's still quicker to change back and forth with it on a tripod. Looks gnarly too. :)

Hi Marco Leavitt,

Any chance to watch your video shot by JR on your site?

TIA
Leigh
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 03:14 PM   #22
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Merlin clips

the guys at DVCreators have a few vid clips up from NAB, including one of the Merlin. http://dvestore.com/theatre/index.html
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 03:47 PM   #23
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Sorry Leigh, but I don't have a Web site, and in any case since we've only been using the JR for a couple of months I wouldn't say I'm much of an expert with it. However, it's a pretty tried and true design. There's no question that the old design is still a serviceable product.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 06:05 AM   #24
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Does anyone have anymore updates about the Merlin yet ?
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Old May 31st, 2005, 08:55 AM   #25
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Why would I pay that much? What will the Merlin do that the Glidecam 2000 won't for under $300?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Langston
The introductory price for Merlin is $899.00. For cameras above 3 1/2 pounds you also need the HeavyWeight kit $149.00.


Tim
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Old May 31st, 2005, 09:51 AM   #26
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The Merlin is simply a more streamlined, simple, and robust version of the Steadicam JR. There is no doubt in my mind that the JR is much superior to the Glidecam (look for many comparison threads and experience from C. Papert). However, I don't think the Merlin is worth the money considering the JR sells for only $50 more than the Glidecam. I bought the JR once I was discovered the Merlin's cost and it has been a supremely functional and effective product.
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Old May 31st, 2005, 08:21 PM   #27
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It just amazes me what they will charge for something that looks so simple. I can't really say anything one way or the other though because I have never used one of these devices.

I do wedding videos and the odd promo here and there as a side business. I am looking at getting a stabilizer if I can justify the cost. I'm just not quite sure I could enhance my product enough to justify it. If I were doing more productions and less events I might be more inclined.
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Old June 1st, 2005, 07:42 AM   #28
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I think the old JR would be perfect for weddings. It has a shoulder rest position that would let you carry it around all day for long receptions. Then you could just drop down the lower stage and swoop in for nice swirling shots. That's one thing I miss about Merlin.
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Old June 2nd, 2005, 01:31 AM   #29
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Here's a more detailed picture of the thing. I'll tell you right now, I sure wouldn't pay almost $900 for it.

www.steadicam.com/handheldmerlin.html
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Old June 22nd, 2005, 08:58 AM   #30
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Just emailed Frank Rush of Tiffen and he says the Merlin will be shipping in August and starting price will be $849. B&H Photo has units on order[but not on the website yet.]

The price is steep, but I'm still pretty compelled to get this thing to mate to my PDX-10.

I forgot to ask if Garrett Brown will make a new instructional video for this thing...
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