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Old March 1st, 2011, 03:21 PM   #1
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Blackbird vs Merlin?

I have no experience with a stabilizer other than playing with a Merlin at WPPI for a couple of minutes. I never did get it to stay still. Anyway, if anyone used either or both, please help me decide which one would be best for a 7D? Thanks!
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Old March 1st, 2011, 06:00 PM   #2
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Re: Blackbird vs Merlin?

I'm saving up for a blackbird,
Steadicam questions
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Old March 2nd, 2011, 09:51 PM   #3
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Re: Blackbird vs Merlin?

Thanks Greg!
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 02:17 AM   #4
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Re: Blackbird vs Merlin?

This has been done with blackbird and a 550d, there are some slider shots as well but all of the "gliding" shots are blackbird. I tested the rig for 3 times before doing this shoot and must say I"m impressed how quickly you can get quite nice looking results out of it. Can' say anything about the merlin though as I don't have any experience with that.

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Old March 3rd, 2011, 06:20 PM   #5
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Re: Blackbird vs Merlin?

Noa,

Very nicely done! What lens did you use for the interior shots?

Thanks
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 07:55 PM   #6
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Re: Blackbird vs Merlin?

The Merlin works well on vacations. The lower arm folds up compactly under the camera, strap it under your arm, pull it out, flip the arm down, and it is ready to use in seconds. Carry it around all day ready to go. Not really something that attracts attention, a plus on vacation, since it is compact. Not sure if the Blackbird is something you can walk around Rome with all day.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 12:53 AM   #7
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Re: Blackbird vs Merlin?

Quote:
Not sure if the Blackbird is something you can walk around Rome with all day.
You can't fold a blackbird up like a Merlin but honestly, I would"t take a stabilizer with me on holiday :)

The blackbird does have a unique feature that the Merlin doesn't have, it has a resting stand allowing you to "park" your steadicam anywhere while you do other stuff, I find this very useful because otherwise (if a docking bracket is not around), you need to lay your camera with the Merlin flat on the ground.

The Merlin does have the bigger advantage of being much smaller, the blackbird has a extra vertical extension bar and a horizontal one with weights for balance. This does get in the way sometimes in very small area's.

At first I was doubting between the Merlin and blackbird as well and I read more reports about the Merlin being more difficult to master and balance with small and light camera's when you start working with it and that the blackbird is easier to set up and use if you don't have that much experience. I needed a stabilizer for a paid assignment and because I needed to be up and running quite quickly I took my chances with the Blackbird hoping it would give me relative professional results in a short time. My test movie above proves that, experienced steadicam users might find many small mistakes but I am, taken the very short exercise time into account, very happy with the results.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 12:55 AM   #8
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Re: Blackbird vs Merlin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Chilson View Post
Very nicely done! What lens did you use for the interior shots?
thx :) I used a canon 10-22 lens and a nikon nikkor 28mm f1.8
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Old March 4th, 2011, 01:47 AM   #9
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Re: Blackbird vs Merlin?

Very nice shots and love the location - what was that place?

I've had my eye on the blackbird for a while and this may well seal the deal :-)
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Old March 4th, 2011, 09:00 AM   #10
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Re: Blackbird vs Merlin?

The location was a casino which was build in the early twenties, it was owned by big glass manufacturing company who also owned all the houses in the area of that casino for their employees. In the Eighties they sold all the houses and the casino ended up in the hands of a building contractor who wanted to make office space out of it but they went bankrupt. So the last 25 years nothing has happened with it, currently it's owned by another building contractor who wanted to tear it down but there was a lot of resistance from people that lived around the area the last years and currently a court decided it has to be protected, no news about what will happen with it eventually but at least I got it on tape :)

about the Merlin vs blackbird question, you can't go wrong with either, they are both excellent crafted products. The Merlin looks a bit more refined to me but is also a bit more expensive but I"m sure that a blackbird can deliver exactly the same results with a trained user. You also get a very good support dvd with the blackbird with many tutorials on how to use it and I have found that they gives excellent service, the few mails I send with questions always got answered quickly.
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Old March 8th, 2011, 02:30 AM   #11
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Re: Blackbird vs Merlin?

I haven't tried blackbird. But I've had Merlin and have now swapped with Glidecam HD2000 and I am completely happy with my swap. I reckon Glidecam is easier to balance and is more versatile in its use.
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Old May 8th, 2011, 08:22 PM   #12
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Re: Blackbird vs Merlin?

I've used the Merlin and found it quite difficult to balance when it gets out of balance.
I shoot a lot of run and gun so I chose the Blackbird instead.

As mentioned above, having the retractable stand is great so that your camera and lens isn't on the floor and that the inclusion of numbers on the Blackbird when dialing in the plate's position allows me to know exactly what settings I have to change if I ever change lens (which I don't), or if my settings change by itself.

I also think the Blackbird is lighter than the Merlin and Glidecam2000.
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