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Old September 25th, 2008, 01:28 PM   #166
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Eric

Unfortunately I don't think that will work. If you mount the zoom controller on the camera, any time you touch it it will affect the camera's balance on the gimbal. Remember even adding a lens cover to the camera will result in changing the balance of the Merlin... so touching the camera even lightly sends it spinning. That balance is VERY exact!

My idea was to mount the zoom controller at the bottom of the gimbal. I was able to balance the set up initially but found the minute I rotated, tilted or otherwise moved the gimbal, the tension on the cable running up to the camera threw the balance off drastically.

The Merlin vest won't give you any advantage.

Last edited by Guy Shaddock; September 25th, 2008 at 01:31 PM. Reason: Add
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Old November 21st, 2008, 08:11 PM   #167
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I am going to buy a Canon XHA1 and was considering the Steadicam Merlin for it. I am a bit confused though, with conflicting information about the maximum supported weight. With the Metal Gimbal (sp?) is the maximum supported camera weight 5 Lb or 7.5 Lb WITHOUT the arm/vest?

And I see a lot of posts about Merlin with A1. I was wondering what was the reasoning for you to consider Merlin when the camera weight + accessories might possibly exceed the maximum capacity of the stabilizer?

Thanks!
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Old November 21st, 2008, 08:53 PM   #168
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I have had my plastic gimbal version of the Merlin for about 1 1/2 years now. I was using a Panasonic DVC80 with the Merlin (exactly like the DVX 100... but missing 24p and stuff) and found that it balanced very well. However, when I really extended my arm with the camera, physics came into play and shots were not as dolly/crane like…..plus were kind of tiring.
I have mounted my XH-A1 on the Merlin and was able to balance it fairly well. Using it was actually worse than my experience the lighter DVC80. Shots are not as smooth and definitely more tiring. A really great combination is the DVC 30 with the Merlin. I have used these two on shoots with far greater results.

Edit
I don't mean to imply that the Merlin/A1 exceeds the maximum weight capacity. I suggest the weight makes the combination impractical...unless used with the vest.

Last edited by Guy Shaddock; November 22nd, 2008 at 10:02 AM.
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Old November 21st, 2008, 11:15 PM   #169
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The weight capacity of the Merlin with the metal gimbal is 7.5 pounds, however if you are thinking of maxing it out without the arm/vest forget about it. I found it too heavy (maxed out) for hand held use, with the arm/vest it becomes magically weightless - and an incredible tool.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 09:55 AM   #170
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Yes as Nick suggests there is just too much weight at the end of your arm for the A1 to work successfully. You'll need the arm/vest.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 10:33 AM   #171
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Thanks guys. I'll save up for investing in a vest.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 02:20 PM   #172
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I just bought a Merlin with arm and vest on Thursday. It takes all the weights, including the extra ones you get with the vest to balance my XH A1 loaded the way I want it, which includes the Lee bellows mattebox, one 4X4 filter, Sennheiser wireless receiver on the hot shoe and Sony short shotgun on the mic mount, and of course battery and tape. There's still a little room for adjustment if needed, but it balances perfectly. You can use it hand held that way, but not for long. The Steadicam arm is excellent, better than a full size competing rig I've used before.
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Old November 22nd, 2008, 02:32 PM   #173
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Bill, might it help to mount the wireless down below with the accessory plate? That would free up a bit of capacity up top in case you need it (not to mention your hot shoe)
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Last edited by Charles Papert; November 22nd, 2008 at 02:33 PM. Reason: originally wrote "weight" instead of "plate", oy vey.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 12:07 AM   #174
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guy Shaddock View Post
Yes as Nick suggests there is just too much weight at the end of your arm for the A1 to work successfully. You'll need the arm/vest.
I've been using the Merlin hand held with the A1 and it can get heavy if I use it for a long time, but I shoot weddings and I am still quiet ok by the end of a 13-15 hour day and I would take plenty of Merlin shots that can run up to 20-30 seconds. I get very good results considering I don't spend too much time with it.. The Merlin is designed so you can use it in places where a vest/arm unit isn't viable like tight spaces etc..I know of another user who uses the same combo as me and he gets amazing shots out of it as well so its just practice.

If you go arm/Vest better just to go Pilot for the price of a vest+merlin the price difference isn't much at all and will get much better results, I will keep my Merlin once I upgrade to the Pilot because I know there will be places where I will be needing it.
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Old November 27th, 2008, 07:17 AM   #175
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Having owned both rigs, I found the results pretty much the same, just a matter of practice/skill level. The operating technique really is quite different for both rigs though. For event stuff the Merlin combo is much quicker to set up, DB etc... sort of miss it.
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Old November 29th, 2008, 12:22 PM   #176
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I've only worked with the Merlin/arm/vest for about 2 hours total. It's pretty easy to get smooth walking moves. Stopping and holding is a bit trickier. I get it right about 1 out of 3 or 4 times. A little practice should remedy that. The Steadicam guy who I met at Calumet was able to do it with precision every time.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 12:21 PM   #177
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Merlin Arm & Vest shaking problem I have

Hi Everyone

I'd really appreciate any advice you can give me on a Merlin Arm & Vest shaking problem I have.

I am now quite adept at using the Merlin 'handheld' on its own (without the Arm & Vest) and have gotten some particularly smooth, exciting results with my XH-A1 using the 4.98lb settings from the Merlin Cookbook. The only way I achieve 'balance' is only with the 4.98lb settings, the smaller Canon 950 battery and don't attach my lens hood or any other accessories.

I have videoed with the Arm & Vest 3 times now and discovered an unacceptable judder/shake when I watch back my footage on the television.

The shake occurs with nearly every step I take. It isn't noticeable at the time, but can be clearly seen when watching back the footage.

Today I took extra special care with all my Arm & Vest straps, to make sure they're symmetrical, to ensure that each part of my 'arm' was flying parallel to the ground, and that the chest spar around my upper torso was nice and tight, and the vest rested snugly on my shoulders.

I double-checked my camera-plate was attached correctly, and only very gently held my Merlin handle with the ends of my fingers and hardly touched the guide with my finger and thumb throughout, so I could be certain that any vibration or shake did not come from my touch.

I also experimented with the Gorgonplatz screw - I had the camera resting snugly against it, and got the shake in my final results. I also had the Gorgonplatz screw nice and tight up against my XHA1 - again, there was a judder/shake with nearly every step (say once every 2-3 steps).

Any suggestions would be really appreciated.

Thanks in advance


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Old July 10th, 2009, 03:34 PM   #178
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I've been having the same judder problem while walking.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 04:35 PM   #179
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Have you tried disabling the camera's optical stabilization?
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Old July 10th, 2009, 05:45 PM   #180
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Yes, I have. I don't know if Peter has or not. It is significantly better with it off, but still noticeable.
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