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Old January 30th, 2010, 12:41 AM   #16
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Dayton OH
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All depends on what you are going to be shooting. Ive found that my Merlin is entirely useless performing outside shots. The act of balancing the gimbal is so precise (and at times time consuming) that once you get it right, anything but working in a vacuum will set it off. That's both good and bad. It means when precisely balanced its quite solid, but it also means working outside with 0.0000000000001 MPH wind will pretty much tip it over. I can't tell you how many shots Ive lost because the slightest breeze (we're talking a breeze only felt by looking at the hairs on your arm move) knocks the Merlin over. And once the Merlin starts to tip, its nearly impossible to recover from and the device begins to porpoise.

Inside however I have had better luck. Though even people walking closely by you can generate some air turbulence to screw things up. But if you take your time indoors, some decent shots can be had.

Outside? I'd actually recommend a Steady Stick type device. It's the old broom handle principle of fighting the game with mass/weight and using your own body as the center of gravity. Plus theres really no setup. And, its cheap. If you try to use a Merlin outside, you'll be spending 90% of your time calibrating (and cussing).
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Old January 30th, 2010, 04:21 PM   #17
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Nashville, TN
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Unless you have a very strong arm and plan on taking very short takes I think stabilizers without vests to distribute the weight over your body are limited in their value.

If you can't afford a stabilizer / vest, and they are expensive, you might consider as a first step a Spider Brace. It was the best $60 bucks I ever spent for my V1U. Even today when we use a stabilizer / vest there are situations where we use the spider brace instead.
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