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Old August 27th, 2013, 01:56 AM   #1
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What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

We are pretty much all in the same boat here, so lets not talk about items which are probably over most people's budgets.

I use a Flycam Nano which has served me well, but has no fine adjustment knobs and gets out of balance very easily. From brides house to church, from church to reception, it will need five minutes of time to rebalance.

I've also rebalanced it with my new 6D and Sigma 50mm and while it is perfectly balanced, it now is very prone to what I can only describe as vibration with every step. Which i never saw with my 550D.

The flycam base can come loose, the shaft can twist, the top plate can get slightly knocked out of balance, the mounting plate can twist on the top, and the camera can twist on its base plate!

I have only seen one design that addresses most of these issues - but i suspect its too lightweight. The Skyler Minicam (or the very good replica) Xcam stabiliser.

The design of these means the bottom weights are fixed, and the shaft cannot twist. Its also got very good locking mechanisms, and folds up rather compact.

From what I can see, if you have this balanced. you can take your camera off and know that it will pretty much be spot on, any time you reach for it.

What do you guys think? Are there any other solutions that would make my life easier and lock down VERY solid for travel?

I was very impressed by Noa's clips of his Blackbird. And the kick stand I guess would help keep it balanced between uses. But its very long from what I see, and quite often I use it to fly over objects like low walls or hedges, and this would be a little of a hindrance to the way I work.


As a closing comment - I am so fed up with sample footage that is poor when the youtuber doesn't realise its poor. But also, it doesn't necessarily mean that stabiliser is poor, because so many people just don't fully stabilise their products properly!
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Old August 27th, 2013, 05:58 AM   #2
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Re: What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

I like that xcam mini steadicam, perfect for traveling as it fits in a backpack, from the examples I have seen on youtube it's fairly stable but a lot depends on the users experience. From what I have seen though I wouldn't be using it on paid assignments but when if I would be shooting for fun I wouldn't mind having it with me for some quick steadicam shots.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 06:56 AM   #3
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Re: What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

Noa, do you reckon the Blackbird is a winner? Better than Merlin or Glidecam HD series?

Do you find the length (height) to be a problem?

Does it keep balance if handled with care between uses?
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Old August 27th, 2013, 08:31 AM   #4
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Re: What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

The glidecam is a clear winner in my books - I have a Merlin, Pilot, Glidecam & a larger Liang rig.

For weddings you need something that's easy to use and will take a knock without having to rebalance all the time - I can put a DSLR on the Glidecam and sit it in the corner till I need it - use it and drop it back in the corner - no problems with balancing, no drama's putting on a vest - quick & easy
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Old August 27th, 2013, 09:08 AM   #5
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Re: What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

I'm still drooling over the Steadicam Solo, though I think the reality might disappoint me when it's finally released.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 10:12 AM   #6
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Re: What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

I've never used a steady cam of any sort, having found it quick and convenient to use my lightweight tripod as a simple stabiliser with the central column extended and the legs as a counterweight. However, having watched some of Noa's superb example footage, I decided to get a very basic entry level stabiliser to play about with, before investing serious money.

I took delivery of a Glide Gear Syl 3000 a few days ago, for the princely sum of 79 new. The reviews varied from 5 stars to 1, with most praising the construction and simplicity, with criticism being almost exclusively about the plastic gimbal. It seems that there is variation on the quality of the gimbal, with some being very satisfied and some finding horrendous sticking. I decided at that price to take a gamble.

The overall construction is very good, as is the finish, with ample weights supplied, an adapter plate for off centre mounting and a nice carry case. In spite of people seeming to have balancing problems, it only took about 15 minutes for a first time setup using my Panasonic Lumix FZ200. My initial attempts at filming were not too bad, being used to using the tripod as a steady camI didn't have any difficulty with moving, with a much smoother motion than I have achieved with the tripod.

It soon became apparent though that there was friction in the gimbal as it is easy to tilt the camera by tilting the handle, so rolling motion is not as well damped as I would want. I found the same with my Panasonic video cams and adding extra weight didn't improve things. So yesterday I bought some dry lubricating spray for the plastic gimbal, which immediately cut down the friction squeak and greatly improved the damping. I also spent a couple of hours researching and found that the gimbal is actually a plastic ball joint as used on car tailgate gas struts. I found a company that can supply the same size in stainless steel, so have ordered one today. That should reduce friction further and hopefully give me the results I am looking for.

At the price though, I can get useable footage and possibly with the new gamble fitted, up to a much higher standard than I expected. It also gives me the opportunity to practice gliding technique before committing to a higher spend, although I may well get what I want from the Glide Gear.

As a useful side note, I use a double camera mount on my tripod and find that I can mount the stabiliser to it with camera attached, to quickly loosen and lift off when needed throughout the day.

Roger
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Old August 27th, 2013, 10:20 AM   #7
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Re: What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

Adrian, the Solo is the first steadicam I've been interested in a while. I am anxiously awaiting to see how it pans out. Very exciting product, hope it lives up to it's potential!
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Old August 27th, 2013, 11:35 AM   #8
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Re: What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Adrian, the Solo is the first steadicam I've been interested in a while. I am anxiously awaiting to see how it pans out. Very exciting product, hope it lives up to it's potential!
Goodness only knows how much it's going to be though.

As you are attracted by one bastard monopod stabiliser hybrid perhaps you would consider another? I know a number of people who swear by the SteddiePod Barber Tech Video Products Last weekend I briefly had the opportunity to try one out & can see that it could be perfect for shooting weddings There are some nice demo videos on YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6sS...embedded#at=28

Last edited by Nigel Barker; August 27th, 2013 at 03:55 PM.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 12:01 PM   #9
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Re: What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

Nigel, the Solo should be around $799 last I read.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 12:25 PM   #10
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Re: What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

I find all these monopod types to be a bit gimmicky. How many of us would really use a monopod that has no pan or tilt ability? I wouldn't. (But in fairness I only just bought a Manfrotto 562b so I'm a little biased).

Like I said though, the major selling point for me over that little Xcam in the OP is this. Its completly locked down. It won't budge once you've set it. Are there any others that are THAT rock solid between uses? As in from one day to the next, thrown into your bag with your other tripods etc...

That would be a major major advantage to me.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 03:58 PM   #11
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Re: What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Harper View Post
Nigel, the Solo should be around $799 last I read.
I'll be amazed if it is as that's about the price of the Merlin.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 04:19 PM   #12
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Re: What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

I use the glidecam and love it. I have a quick release plate on it so I can pop the camera off, get a handheld shot, then pop it back on and be flying in no time. Of course now I have two cameras I run with so one is for handheld and the other practically lives on the glidecam. I've had good luck with hauling it around too. It usually rides on the floor board of my truck and when I get it out, it's just a minor tweak, if that, and it's ready to go. And not a bad price either. I also like that I can easily prop it on my knee for hand held shots.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 04:33 PM   #13
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Re: What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

I gave up with stabilazers, too much hassle to set it up AND KEEP it like that, so I have an almost brand new Opteka SteadyVid PRO Video Stabilizer System (just used it ONCE and for only a few minutes) for sale at $120 + Transport costs (depending where I ship).
You can email me at scstech@gmail.com


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Old August 27th, 2013, 06:46 PM   #14
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Re: What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

Quote:
too much hassle to set it up AND KEEP it like that
I see the opteka is 170 dollar new? I think you can't expect too much from this steadicam but it doesn't mean all steadicams are bad, you get what you pay for.
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Old August 27th, 2013, 08:54 PM   #15
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Re: What stabilizer do you use, or would like to be using.

Hey Stelios

I use my rig only during my shoot just before the photog takes the couple away for photos so I tend to have plenty of time to slip into the vest, click on the arm and hook it onto the sled. Probably a couple of minutes at the most. However I never seem to be lucky enough to have receptions with lots of space..even the dance floor is jam packed so it's hardly ever used indoors at all!

Bear in mind that very few cheap rigs can be expected to keep their balance as the gimbal (as Roger has already found out) is low quality ..it's really the heart of the system and you do need a precision bearing there to maintain repeatability. I last balanced my rig in February when I swopped from Panny cameras to Sony and my balance stays perfect.

I really cannot see the point of having a system that you have to fight.. if that's the case then rather just go handheld and do some careful camera moves. On a vest system you should be able to walk around (or even run) and only need finger tip control on the sled.

The rig that Steadicam brought out for the GoPro sounds interesting...has anyone bought and used one??

Chris
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