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Old April 28th, 2007, 12:49 PM   #76
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It's probably easier/cheaper to buy because you'd have to find a tap with the right threads.

I know it took Jim (the developer) quite some time to find a material both light and strong enough that would also grip the threads so as not to spin around when loaded. A too heavy plate would begin to reduce from the usable payload - the production plate weighs exactly the same as 1 regular Merlin weight.

- Mikko
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Old April 30th, 2007, 01:06 AM   #77
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Lots of good info here.

When I had finally gotten comfortable with the idea of essentially paying $800 for a stick (!) I found out it costs 50% more in Europe. Argh!

My plan is to use the Merlin with an XH-A1 and I am really psyched about learning this craft.

Anyone know a US dealer willing to ship it with "Value: $95" on the customs declaration? >_<

Edit: The only dealer in Denmark actually charged $1590 for a Merlin. These people have no shame. I could fly to New York and pick one up at B&H and it would still be cheaper.

Last edited by Rene Roslev; May 1st, 2007 at 12:20 AM.
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Old May 6th, 2007, 06:29 AM   #78
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Manfrotto 055DB/128RC and the Merlin

I was wondering how you switch between tripod and Merlin. I'm planning on buying the Manfrotto 055DB with the 128RC videohead. If I plan to buy the Merlin (later this year perhaps), will I be able to (quickly) switch between the to (without screwing / unscrewing)?
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Old May 6th, 2007, 06:36 AM   #79
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It has a quick release plate for the tripod.
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Old May 6th, 2007, 11:39 AM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Tsamandanis View Post
It has a quick release plate for the tripod.
This is a image of the head I'm getting: http://www.manfrotto.com/webdav/site...zoom/128RC.jpg. So the (supplied) quick release plate of the Merlin will fit onto this head? Does anyone have a picture of how the process works (I'm trying to visualize it).

Another question: can you film upside down (for low-to-the-ground shots), like the Glidecam 2000. I think it should be no problem, just asking.
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Old May 6th, 2007, 12:11 PM   #81
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Wilfred:

It's a very clever setup actually. For 30 years the Steadicam systems have involved a plate that screws into the bottom of the camera, which is then mounted onto the stabilizer via a clamp on the top of the rig. With the Merlin, the plate that mounts onto the rig contains the clamping mechanism, so that a simple block is mounted onto the tripod and the camera is then dropped onto the block and locked down via a lever on the plate. The block has a 1/4"-20 thread just like the base of the camera, so you simply screw it to your head's quick release plate or the head itself just like you are mounting a camera. It's very easy and quick to work with.

The Merlin is not designed to work upside down, but in normal mode you can achieve shots of less than a foot off the ground assuming you can actually find a way to operate that low.
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Old May 12th, 2007, 12:56 PM   #82
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I got my Merlin yesterday. Fantastic instruction DVD.

Probably a dumb question - but am I right in thinking the stage won't turn if I rotate the grip - I have to use the guide to do this?

Also - although I think I've got my Z1 pretty much in balance, when I pick the rig up it initally pans slightly to the left - doesn't tilt - spirit level remains central. Is this normal-ish?

I found the online spreadhseet much more accurate than the cookbook settings for the Z1. I can actually use one weight less using that calculation.

Great product.

Ian
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Old May 12th, 2007, 01:20 PM   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Briscoe View Post
Probably a dumb question - but am I right in thinking the stage won't turn if I rotate the grip - I have to use the guide to do this?
Yup, that's the idea! The camera's angular roatation is isolated from the grip by the gimble.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Briscoe View Post
Also - although I think I've got my Z1 pretty much in balance, when I pick the rig up it initally pans slightly to the left - doesn't tilt - spirit level remains central. Is this normal-ish?
There are many little "quirks" to Steadicam, what you describe is probably not a problem.

- Mikko
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Old May 12th, 2007, 03:28 PM   #84
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Hmmm...so far my Merlin footage is OK under certain conditions. For example, if I am doing a very short movement, with objects passing by the foreground, the footage is good. But when I actually walk with my merlin, and there are no objects moving past the foreground, there is a subtle bounciness to the footage. The drop time on my camera is fine, but I still can't master long smooth moving shots with it. Does this mean that I am not walking right with it? Am I not holding the gimbal properly? Thanks.
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Old May 12th, 2007, 06:57 PM   #85
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Walk as if your balancing books on your head.....

The rain in spain stays on the plane... da plane, da plane...

also like wlaking with a martini in your hand.

I digress..... must walk level and slowly or a least keep the cam at one constant height from the ground.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 08:53 AM   #86
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Is there such a thing as "too slow of a drop time?" Or is the slowest drop time always the best drop time? Thanks.
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Old May 27th, 2007, 12:23 PM   #87
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The best drop time depends on the needs of the shot.

Slower drop time simply means that the rig gives you less "feedback" as it tries to hang level less.

A faster droptime that makes the rig hang level harder is good for slower more delicate moves.
A slower droptime is better for shots with lots of acceleration (including deceleration and turning), so fast changes in speed, hard starts or stops, and vehical shots (where you can be accelerating for many tens of secconds).

Other that that, it's simply preferance.

- Mikko
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Old May 28th, 2007, 03:41 PM   #88
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Hello,

Had my first run with the Merlin/Z1 today and I'm really excited, seeing alot of potential. Felt pretty good about my operating results, too: running, stairclimbing, walking up ot a window on the third floor, sticking my camera out and panning, tilting!
But... especially when walking/running I'm seeing some artifacts that remind me of the HDV problems people talked about when the Z1 came out (long GOP-compression problems, never noticed it. Uptill now?). The movement is smooth but the playback is awkward, slightly jittery. Could this be due to bad balancing on the Merlin? The camera, stripped except for the NP970, balances very well on the Merlin. Maybe the Gesornenplatz-issue as was discussed here? I just tightened it a little more against the camera and will test tomorrow.

Love to shoot with this beauty, if only watch my camera 'fly' so gracefully!

thanks,

Wolf

Update: woke up this morning, set my Z1 on the Merlin and it was totally offbalance??!! Hangs forward. Which leads to my next question: according to the Cookbook, I have to set the Dovetail on the stage at position '5'. There is no 5 on the Stage but I assume I should fit the Dovetail as much forward on the Stage as possible.
To get my Z1 balanced, I tried trimming forward and backward as much as possible, but the camera kept hanging forward whatever I tried. (Trimming forward was better than trimming backward, which I didn't expect...)Then I adjusted the lower spar, making the Arc size smaller and that helped. I was able to get the camera level. Don't understand because I read that for the Z1 the Arc has to be as wide as possible for it to work...
I also noticed that the camera has become more wobbly sideways than yesterday, most likely because it's now less bottomheavy, is this right? On the plus side: the Gesornenplatz seems to have taken care of 'jitters' when moving.

Last edited by Jeroen Wolf; May 29th, 2007 at 06:07 AM.
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Old May 29th, 2007, 11:49 AM   #89
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Wolf,
Gald to hear you are enjoying your Merlin.

As to the change in balance; it sounds like something on the camera has changed. Perhaps you took a tape out, or used a lighter battery this morning.
It's amazing how precise the Merlin is.

Though this experimenting with settings and learning to balance is agood thing. It's an important skill to understand how to balance it - not just to know how to balance it.

Keep experimenting, and have fun flying!

- Mikko
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Old May 30th, 2007, 06:14 AM   #90
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Thanks for your response, Mikko. As far as the balancing problem was concerned: no changes to the camera whatsoever. I must have attached the dovetail differently to the stage, but I couldn't figure out what I did...
Finally I attached the plate all the way to the front of the stage, even a little over the edge, which didn't seem right, but it worked, even though I had to tighten the arc to make it work...
Really curious to hear (see?!) how other Z1 owners manage. Therefore the question about the stagenumber (5). Can someone who is very satisfied about the balance of his Merlin/Z1 provide some CU pics of the Dovetail/Stage connection? Would be greatly appreciated!

Took him out for a spin yesterday again but didn't count on the wind, which was quite strong. No way to keep that thing steady when the wind blows- I was back in within 10 minutes...

The Gesornenplatz definitely works like a charm!
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