Anyone try the new Steadicam Merlin? at DVinfo.net

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Old July 24th, 2005, 04:58 AM   #1
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Anyone try the new Steadicam Merlin?

I saw a video of this. I"m impressed. converts to stabilizer to shoulder mount. Looks VERY small. Easy to use. Anyone have any feedback? Price is $850 USD MSRP, but can anyone find it lower?

It looks great for documentary stuff.

See a video of it at: http://dvestore.com/theatre/index.html#
(click on NAB 2005 - Steadicam Merlin - Garrett Brown)
This site also has a video on the Fig RiG
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Old July 24th, 2005, 02:57 PM   #2
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It looks like it operates on the same principle as
the JR. Maybe they just needed a new JR that
could stand up to the weight of the Sony HDV cams?
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Old July 24th, 2005, 03:09 PM   #3
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Yeah it is basically a re-encarnation of the JR.
...or actually, (as far as what i'v heard) it's a pre-encarnation.
Supposedly Garrett actually wanted the JR to originally be like this.
But yeah it's a lighter rig (better) with a mcuh stronger carying capacity - on both ends - over (and under) the JR.

That's the first footage of it I'v seen, I'm very impressed. ..Though with Garrett behind the gimble, most stabilizers look good :-)
That little sucker really did perform very well, I may just have to buy one sometime.

Though I agree that the MSRP is a little pricy. But alas, such is the cost of quality. It does appear to be leaps and bounds ahead of the JR in many aspects.

- Mikko
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Old August 18th, 2005, 06:09 PM   #4
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I am not even sure they are available on the market yet. Anyone hear anything on when we might be able to buy one?
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Old August 18th, 2005, 06:20 PM   #5
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I happened to email Frank Rush today at Tiffen.

The target date is now in September.
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Old August 18th, 2005, 06:31 PM   #6
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I know alot of people are saying that the Steadicam Jr is a better value considering the price but it says it goes up to 4 lbs which I believe I go over with my PD-150 and big battery. Does anyone know if the jr. works okay with the PD150? I am also curious about the claims that the merlin is 4x more stable? anyone know what is the difference that would create that?

I think I will probaly wait for the Merlin but since this will be my first purchase of this sort of product I am just nervous about throwing $ into the wind for the latest gizmo.
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Old August 19th, 2005, 11:48 PM   #7
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PD150 / Steadicam JR

I bit the bullet and got a JR for my (heavy) PD150 - NP-F960 battery, Canon W/A lens. With the extra weight kit and a tripod mount (and some patience and help from John Brune) it all balanced fine and is very convenient to use as a backup to other cameras with the added ability to "fly" whenever needed. I end up taking it on every shoot just in case and usually find an excuse to use it!

I'd like to try a Merlin, but in the UK the price is likely to be double the JR, and am concerned that as it has no monitor, whether the PD150 LCD screen will work well. To get the whole range of Steadicam shots, you really need the monitor where it is on the JR, rather than on one side of the cam.

I'm sure the Merlin (made of metal) will be more robust, although I've not had a problem with my JR yet.

Good luck!

Graham
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Old August 20th, 2005, 03:17 AM   #8
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Did you have to use the W/A lens to offset the bigger battery or was it able to be balanced without using the W/A?

How was the footage when you used it? worth the effort and expense?
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Old August 20th, 2005, 09:08 AM   #9
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I played with this at NAB, and I like it much more than the Jr. It's a little more difficult to adjust the balance than the Jr. (atleast in my limited experience with it), but this makes it a better unit in the end once you have the balance.

Dan
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Old August 20th, 2005, 11:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Risdon
I bit the bullet and got a JR for my (heavy) PD150 - NP-F960 battery, Canon W/A lens.
I'm wondering why you fellas are using the heavy NP-F960 battery for your shots with the JR? It seems this would be a perfect opportunity to use those short life batteries that ship with the PD150. After all, you're not going to be lugging the camera around on that rig for 8 hours, right? Save the weight and muscle fatigue. Even going down to the 760 battery would save weight.

Just asking.
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Old August 20th, 2005, 01:57 PM   #11
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To answer the questions...

I balanced it first without the W/A (and without the tripod dovetail plate) using the large battery and added them later. The W/A definitely makes using it easier and more forgiving!

All my batteries are the large 960 batteries. I mainly use them with my miniDV walkmans (DSR-V10s) and minicams for in-car stuff. My other cams use v-locks.

As to whether it's worth it... well, I'm still learning and have used the odd shot in productions... don't expect miracles - I can see the potential but it does require loads of practice!

I'll post a couple of short clips when I have time and you can judge for yourself.

Graham
www.mediainventions.com
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