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Old July 14th, 2005, 08:01 PM   #1
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Merlin Questions?

Does anyone actually have one? I saw them at NAB, though briefly as I was not in the market for a handheld stabilizer and thus did not devote much of my stay to learning about it. It looks an awful lot like the "JR" I had many years ago and have subsequently sold, especially the gimble.

What is curious is the lack of a monitor, which appears would contribute to a rather awkward operation if using the camera flip-out monitor. Also, the price is higher than that of a JR. I personally understand the realities of product costs and I do own a follow focus, so please do not lump me in with dissenting opinion.

However, I am trying to justify the purchase of a Merlin over a JR and am coming up "short" on the benefits of Merlin. From reading the excellent reviews on this board, I have learned that it is categorically what Garrett in mind for the JR in terms of overall design and function. It's lighter than a JR, yet supports a broader range of cameras. Using a heavier camera requires an additional "weight kit" accessory.

What am I missing? Could I use a stripped down DVX100a with a JR instead?

Brian Wells
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Old September 6th, 2005, 11:28 PM   #2
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The Merlin is so much smaller and more compact to travel with than a Steadycam JR. With DV cameras these days having good sized LCD's, there is no need for an LCD to be built into the Merlin. It actually folds in half for travel and takes up very little space in a camera bag/case.
The Merlin was set to begin shipping in August, but now they're delayed...kinda expected that.
If you've owned the JR, you'll notice the gimble looks exactly the same, check it out at
At this past year's NAB, I was fortunate enough to catch up again with the SteadyCam/Merlin inventor Garrett Brown and shoot an interview demonstrating the Merlin. You can catch the interview if you have QuickTime over at - Be sure to click on Garrett's name to check out his IMDB credits list including; Casino, Rocky, Return of the Jedi, Tootsie, Annie, name a few.
Tiffen also placed the Merin demo on their site at

Guy Cochran
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Last edited by Guy Cochran; September 7th, 2005 at 03:14 PM.
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Old September 7th, 2005, 11:45 PM   #3
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In the hands of the master it always looks easy. I saw it at NAB as well and thought it was typical of well designed equipment. It would be great for shoots that don't go very long...(are there any of those?).

He's only mostly sDEADy.

sort of from "The Princess Bride"
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Old September 8th, 2005, 07:04 AM   #4
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Is the gimble still plastic then? If so, I just can't believe it.
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Old September 8th, 2005, 12:14 PM   #5
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..This is one of the toys i'm going ot be checking out at IBC tommorrow, i'll let you know.

- Mikko
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