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Old April 16th, 2009, 10:38 PM   #1
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Stedicam Merlin vs Glidecam 4000 HD

I am asking this here because of its usage, for weddings only. I currently have the Stedicam Merlin, about a year old so its the newer one with the metal gimble.

I have 2 XH-A1's and a HV30 and still not sure which way to go for my moving camera shots. Seems the HV30 is a little too light, hard to keep steady, where as on the merlin the XH-A1 may be pushing it as far as weight goes.

Anyone have a recomendation on which way I should go, I know they will all need practice, but which setup should I spend the time learning and practicing.
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Old April 17th, 2009, 12:02 AM   #2
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Hi Denny

I have the HV20 and XHA1 and Merlin. I only use XHA1 on steadycam, I use the standard battery not the larger one, I don't have my external shotgun when on the merlin, yeah it does push the limits and it can get a bit heavy after a while, but found it better than the HV20, is a bit less flighty, that being said plenty of guys use the HV's on the Merlin and have perfectly acceptable footage, as you said it does come down to practice.

With having 2 XHA1's I would set one up on Merlin permanently, HV30 for wider shots on tripod and remaining XHA1 on tripod or handheld for close shots. I have used the Merlin folded with XHA1 as a shoulder mount of sorts, works pretty good, particularly with IS on.

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Old April 17th, 2009, 03:51 PM   #3
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I've used the Merlin and the Glidecam. For your cameras, I would use the HD2000 with the smooth shooter vest for prolonged shots.
Glidecam is a more stable and controlable unit than the Merlin.
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Old April 17th, 2009, 06:09 PM   #4
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I have A1's and an HV30. I would go with the A1 on the Merlin even though it means you have to bear more weight on your arm. The Merlin is just steadier with the extra weight. As for pushing the limits, it's fine. At WPPI I talked with Steve from Tiffen (runs the Tiffen booth there every year). He said the A1 was fine in terms of weight.

I too use the standard battery, though, with no extras (mic, wide-angle, etc.).
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Old April 17th, 2009, 08:47 PM   #5
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Hi Denny,

I shot last season with the A1 on a Glidecam 2000 Pro, wtih the smaller battery and a wide angle lens. For extended shots I wear the Merlin vest and arm fitted with a diy post to fit the glidecam. I tried the Merlin for a few events and decided it wasn't for me for many reasons:

1. I couldn't get it to stay balanced. I'd set it up and it'd work perfectly, but the next time I went to use it was out of tune. Still can't explain that because others have had so much success with it.

2. You can't just set it down when you're not using it. Its awkward in that respect. With the glidecam you set it down and can forget about it. The design of the merlin doesn't allow that. I had a the steadistand but I'm really trying to carry less equipment.

3. The merlin also doesn't allow you to take the camera off without the need for retuning it again when you want to put the camera back on. This is because the camera adapter is part of the merlin rather than a standard tripod plate. I like to be able to throw any camera on the glidecam and on any tripod that takes the same plate, but that isn't possible with the merlin. I had considered getting extra stages and plates but it still meant fiddling with the stage to get it balanced every time I put the camera on.

4. Because it is so light any wind would make holding the horizon steady a battle. The glidecam has enough inertial weight to stay level in a breeze.

That being said it works great when it stays tuned.
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Old April 17th, 2009, 09:53 PM   #6
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Thanks guys, great advice here. I had a glidecam 4000 and sold it, now wish I had kept it to compare a little more.

Looks like most agree use the a1, so will do this. I did find a way to mount the camera that has the merlin plate on it to a tripod using the included adapter. I will start tomorrow practicing with the stripped down A! and merlin, if I can not get any decent results may give the glidecam HD another try.

Thanks again for the information, I do not mind putting in the practice time, just really helps to have confidince in what your practicing.
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