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Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit

B&H # CABBK Mfr # 2050A
You Pay: $669.95
Product Highlights
  • For DSLRs/Handheld Camcorders
  • Supports Cameras Weighing up to 8 lbs
  • User-adjustable Friction for Tilt/Roll
  • Quick & Easy Vertical Balancing
  • Camera Stage with Friction Pad
  • T-bar Assembly/Counterweights
  • Gimbal Extender for Cameras < 2 lbs
  • Built-in Tilt and Roll Bubble Levels
  • Docking Bracket with Table Clamp
  • Tripod Adaptor/Resting Stand

The Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit allows easy leveling, balancing and positioning of DSLRs and camcorders weighing up to 8 lbs. The handheld system includes a camera stage/chassis with support arm, mounting plate, locating pin, gimbal and extender, T-bar assembly with 2 horizontal bars, counterweights, universal docking bracket with table clamp, tripod adaptor, resting stand, and a custom case.

The camera is attached to the stage via a mounting plate that has a friction pad to securely mount the camera with or without use of the camera locating pin. The plate also provides additional front/back adjustments and has a safety pin to prevent the camera from sliding off the stage during adjustment.

The stage features a scale to reference the position of the plate so that re-balancing time is minimized when attaching the camera. Low backlash screw drives and internal dovetail guides ensure secure positioning of the camera when in use and the built-in tilt and roll bubble levels make balancing easy in both the axes.

The gimbal assembly with 6 precision ball bearings can take a minimum static load of 57 lbs in any axis; the main operator control ring gives you roll, tilt and pan control whereas the second ring below the gimbal controls only pan. The gimbal extension is used for cameras weighing less than about 2 lbs.

The SmoothTouch technology provides you with controlled friction (adjustable for different camera weights) to reduce roll and tilt motion artifacts. It also reduces the initial stabilizer motions from acceleration to avoid the pendulum effect. During outdoor shots, constant and smooth gimbal friction reduces the effects of the wind and results in better shots, irrespective of the operator skill levels.

The stabilizer can be easily adjusted to achieve correct vertical balance for different cameras by the use of counterweights. The weights interlock mutually as well as with the crossbar to prevent shifting that can create noise during movements. Finer adjustments can be made by moving the T-bar up or down, with the locking lever providing fast and secure locking. The gimbal vertical position can also be adjusted by rotating the gimbal up or down.

The horizontal counterweight bar can be positioned side to side to allow holding of the stabilizer close to the body; it can also be positioned front to back during shots that require the stabilizer on either side of the body. The 11" horizontal bar gives adjustable angular position for better performance, whereas the 15" horizontal bar provides maximum pan axis moment of inertia and stability.

The Universal docking bracket can be used to balance the camera and Blackbird on a tripod, C-stand or table edge; the table clamp has maximum open adjustment of 1-3/4 ".

The tripod adaptor has a similar mounting surface and clamping screw as that of the Blackbird camera stage and thus lets you quickly shift the camera between Blackbird and the tripod.

Made of stainless steel and anodized aluminum components, the resting stand is lightweight and yet strong. When not shooting, the stand can be used to set down the stabilizer with the camera attached on reasonably flat ground, or any such surface, in a safe and stable position. While shooting, the stand can be folded down.

Blackbird's compact case with die-cut foam protective pads ensures safe storage and transport of Blackbird and all its accessories. The chassis/stage gets separated from the T-bar to occupy less storage space inside the case and helps easily pack in the entire system in to the case.

A user manual and instructional DVD are included to quickly guide you through the setup.

Mounting Plate
  • For additional front/back adjustment
  • Safety pin to prevent the camera from sliding off the stage
  • Friction pad to mount the camera with or without use of the camera locating pin
Camera Stage/Chassis
  • Adjustment knobs for precise positioning of the camera
  • Convenient scale to reference the mounting plate position and minimize re-balancing time when attaching the camera
  • Low backlash screw drives and the internal dovetail guides for stable camera positioning
  • Built-in tilt and roll bubble levels to make balancing easier in both axes
Gimbal
  • Reduces motion artifacts with SmoothTouch technology
  • Low intrinsic friction and alignment
  • 6 precision ball bearings that can take up to 57 lbs in any axis
  • Main operator ring controls roll, tilt and pan; the ring below the gimbal controls pan
  • Gimbal extension for cameras weighing less than 2 lbs
T-bar
  • Quick and easy adjustment of vertical balance (drop time)
  • 2 horizontal bars (11" & 15") - 11" bar for highly adjustable angular position; 15" bar for maximum pan axis moment of inertia and stability
  • Finer adjustment of vertical balance by moving the counterweight T-bar up or down
  • Secure locking with an advanced clamping design
Universal Docking Bracket
  • Conveniently dock the Blackbird on a tripod, C-stand/any table edge
  • Has a tripod mounting nut and C-stand mounting hole for docking the stabilizer to the tripod and C-stand, respectively
  • Tripod mount has ¼-20 screw connection
  • C-stand mount fits standard 5/8" spigot with ¼ -20 stud
  • Table clamp has a maximum open clamp adjustment of 1-3/4"
Tripod Adaptor
  • Quick transfer of camera between Blackbird and the tripod
  • Same dovetail and clamp design as on the top of the Blackbird camera stage
Resting Stand
  • Strong and lightweight, made of stainless steel and anodized aluminum components
  • Used to safely set down the stabilizer with camera attached on reasonably flat ground, or any such surface
  • Maximum resting stability with 3 point support
  • Can be folded down while shooting
Case
  • Ensures safe storage and transport
  • Soft, die-cut foam protective pads for components
  • Chassis/stage gets separated from the T-bar to occupy less space in the case
Load Capacity 1-8 lbs (0.5-3.6kg)
Weight (stabilizer weight including camera mounting plate and resting stand but no counterweights)

2.4 lbs (1.1kg)
Minimum Height 20" (508mm)
Maximum Height 25" (635mm)
Case Dimensions 18 x 12 x 6" (457 x 305 x 152mm)
Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit
  • Chassis
  • T-Bar Assembly
  • Camera Mounting Plate
  • Counterweights
  • Gimbal Extender
  • Horizontal Bar (11"/279mm)
  • Spare Screws and Locating Pin
  • Universal Docking Bracket
  • Table Clamp
  • Tripod Adapter
  • Horizontal Bar (15"/381mm)
  • Resting Stand
  • Case
  • User Manual
  • Instructional DVD
  • 1-Year Warranty
  • REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

    by PowerReviews
    Camera Motion ResearchBlackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit
     
    4.6

    (based on 18 reviews)

    Ratings Distribution

    • 5 Stars

       

      (10)

    • 4 Stars

       

      (8)

    • 3 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 2 Stars

       

      (0)

    • 1 Stars

       

      (0)

    100%

    of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

    Pros

    • Easy to use (13)
    • Professional quality (12)
    • Improves performance (9)
    • Compact (6)
    • Highly compatible (5)

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Independent films (10)
      • Complex projects (6)
      • Home movies (6)
      • Documentaries (3)
      • HD shooting (3)
        • Reviewer Profile:
        • Professional artist (10), Business owner (7)
        • Was this a gift?:
        • No (16)

      Reviewed by 18 customers

      Sort by

      Displaying reviews 1-18

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      5.0

      The Goods

      By Powder Hound

      from Lake Tahoe, CA

      About Me Business Owner, Professional Artist

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Improves Performance
      • Professional Quality

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Complex Projects
        • Home Movies
        • Independent Films
        • In The Studio

        Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

        I use the Blackbird to film freestyle skiing... Total Game Changer!

        • Was this a gift?:
        • Yes

        Share this review

         
        5.0

        Sweet spot

        By Geno

        from Michigan

        About Me Business Owner

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Compact Design
        • Easy To Use
        • Improves Performance
        • Lightweight
        • Professional Quality

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Web Video

          Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

          This affordable & portable system takes a little practice to master, but gives great results. It smooths out the bumps in taking a video walk through w/Nikon D800 camera for both exterior & interior use. It is reasonably light-weight & easy to maneuver with.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Much faster set-up

          By cwinasia

          from Toronto, Ontario

          Pros

          • Easy To Use
          • Improves Performance

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Home Movies
            • Independent Films

            Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

            The design of this piece is not as slick as the Merlin but I've found it much easier to set-up and that is mostly due to the 2 level bubbles on the back of the blackbird. Functionally I find it superior. With the Merlin I was flying blind and always seemed to go past where I wanted to for balance and I found it difficult to eyeball "level" . With the blackbird I know where I am and how much adjustment I need. I've now got marks for my camera with various lens and use that as my jumping of point, then from there it's small tweaks. I find it useful to move in increments of 1/8th of a turn and 1/4 for larger jumps.
            The kit is great mostly so you have the bar for balancing on a stand or table, I like using a stand so it's at an easy level to work with. Also when working with it I know when I'm level when I start and when I'm drifting. It still takes considerable practice to get good, the professional operators that I know practice constantly and I am trying to keep that in mind.

            I sold my Merlin out of frustration, this was easier as it's my second crack at it but I feel they have made this more user friendly. The enclosed video helps demonstrate how to set it up and some tips, it helps speed up your learning curve.

            This is not a professional steadicam but it will add some production value to smaller projects when you don't have the resources or simply have to travel light.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Share this review

            (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            4.0

            Blackbird flies with the best.

            By Dundee10

            from Dundee, IL

            About Me Business Owner, Professional Artist

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Compact Design
            • Easy To Use
            • Improves Performance
            • Lightweight
            • Professional Quality

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Complex Projects
              • Independent Films

              Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

              This is well worth the money for what is does do. I was a Steadicam operator from the middle 1990's on, using the larger heavier cameras. As I migrated to the smaller HD, now raw cameras my work necessitated a stabilizer. I appreciated The Blackbird for quite a few reasons. First was the ease of use. Secondly the speed of set up from footplate mount to smooth stabile shots in seconds! Next the learning curve for The Blackbird unit was brief. I found the weight distribution to be much different from my old larger Steadicam unit. So, after finding my new center of balance, I am busy making smooth shots running, escalating stairs and awkward walk and talk shots through sand.
              As I said, there IS a learning curve before going out on your first serious shoot.
              What it doesn't do is make my lower back ache anymore.

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Share this review

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Great Product !

              By Pierre

              from Hong Kong

              About Me Professional Artist

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Easy To Use
              • Highly Compatible
              • Professional Quality

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Complex Projects
                • Home Movies
                • Independent Films

                Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                This stabilizer really does what it claim it can do if you follow the instructional DVD. The DVD last for over an hour and it is very useful. There are very important tips and techniques to show you how to make the best use of this piece of equipment. So don't just grab it and to. Spend some time on the techniques because you need to combine the equipment and techniques in order to make the best use of it. This package is quite complete in itself. I think it would be great to also include one more shorter T bar for smaller camera (the shorter T bar can be found on the producer's website)

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

                Share this review

                 
                5.0

                just buy it

                By PhotogRealtor

                from Asheville, NC

                About Me Business Owner

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Compact Design
                • Easy To Use
                • Highly Compatible
                • Improves Performance
                • Lightweight
                • Professional Quality

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                    Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                    Im sure a $3-4,000 model is better but I wouldn't know. I have used a flycam nano and this blows it away! Set up is easy and it is a very well made piece of equipment. It is more difficult to shoot with then it looks like it would be but it will just take practice. The instructional DVD is priceless.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Share this review

                    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    High quality, easy to use, great shots!

                    By Ricker

                    from Sydney, Australia

                    About Me Professional Artist

                    Pros

                    • Easy To Use
                    • Highly Compatible
                    • Improves Performance
                    • Professional Quality

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Complex Projects
                      • Home Movies
                      • Independent Films

                      Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                      I use this product to put movement into shots, and its a great tool for that. It is ridiculously easy to get set up perfectly, so that you have a 2 second-3 second drop time. I can switch lenses and have it set to go in about 1 minute. The product is high quality. Nothing comes across as cheaply made or stupidly designed. Its all a high quality grade metal, and each bit fits smoothly with each other. The design is brilliant, especially on the weights compared to say the Glidecam HD 2000. You can pull weights on and off very simply, though I have no need to do this once I've set it up with my main camera. The T bar being horizontal is fantastic as it really makes for much smoother pan's. I like how you can rotate it anyway you wish for when you do need to have it out of the way from your knees when doing various shots. The kit is very complete, and makes the purchase feel much more worth its money, as you get many stands, weights and documentation to complement the actual stabilizer.

                      I use mine with a GH2 and an olympus 12mm lens on most shots. I use a manfrotto 577 quick release plate adaptor to add some more weight, and the entire weight of it all comes to about 1.2kg. SO it works beautifully with a very light camera. The heavier the camera the smoother the shots.

                      I have noticed that the extra friction you can apply through the gimbal is actually very handy for a light weight camera like mine. With just a little extra friction I can greatly improve the pans and reduce the wobble induced from changes in acceleration, without any noticeable increase in non smooth movements.

                      I have no association with camera motion research, but thought i'd give them a good rap as I have just been so pleased with the quality of this product. Dont even look twice at the merlins or glide cams, they just ain't in the same game on this one.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

                      Share this review

                      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      4.0

                      Great Alternative to the Merlin!

                      By DaveT

                      from Edmonton, Alberta

                      About Me Professional Videographer

                      Pros

                      • Easy To Use
                      • Highly Compatible
                      • Improves Performance
                      • Professional Quality

                      Cons

                      • Slightly bulky

                      Best Uses

                      • Complex Projects
                      • Independent Films
                      • Weddings

                      Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                      I debated for many months on which stabilizer was best for me. After much deliberation, I picked the Blackbird and I couldn't be happier.

                      As a novice with camera stabilizers, the Blackbird is easy to set up and takes minimal practice before you can get it set up in about 5 minutes each time you use it. The set up is much more logical than the Merlin, which can be intimidating for some.

                      Also, unlike many similar stabilizers, the Blackbird can be configured to fly even the smallest cameras like point and shoots.

                      The 'kick stand' is a genius addition allowing me to set the rig, camera and all, down without having the camera touch the ground. It's also very durable. I've stepped on mine several times now while in the kick-stood position and the most that ever happened was a counter weight popped off...and was replaced in 5 seconds.

                      The only con compared to the Merlin, is that it can't pack as small and strap to a backpack. It's still very good compared to Steadicam offerings.

                      This kit also comes with many accessories that the Merlin doesn't...for less money!

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

                      Share this review

                       
                      4.0

                      Good for light weight camcorders

                      By burgoswill

                      from Boston, MA

                      About Me Business Owner, Professional Artist

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Compact Design
                      • Easy To Use
                      • Highly Compatible
                      • Improves Performance
                      • Lightweight
                      • Professional Quality

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Home Movies
                        • Independent Films

                        Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                        I used this rig for weddings with my Canon xh-a1s camcorder. "Very heavy" however, very easy to balance and fly it.... I would highly recommend it for camcorders under 3-4lbs.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

                        Share this review

                        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        4.0

                        Well made and kit is complete

                        By Vidman

                        from Vancouver, BC, Canada

                        About Me Aspiring Film Maker

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Durable
                        • Easy To Use
                        • Lightweight

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Documentaries
                          • HD Shooting
                          • Shooting Indoors
                          • Shooting Outdoors

                          Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                          The DVD really helped with set up and now I have to practice to get a smooth flow. I was impressed that kit is so complete and foam custom interior carrying case saves a lot of time to carry around and put together on location. I primarily use it with a Nikon D7000 but also have a Sony EX1. The fold out front stand is a very handy feature.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

                          Share this review

                          (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          4.0

                          Easiest Stabilizer

                          By Bob G.

                          from Toronto, ON

                          About Me Corporate videomaker, Film Professional

                          Verified Buyer

                          Pros

                          • Easy To Use
                          • Quick to balance

                          Cons

                          • Cann't do low mode

                          Best Uses

                          • Documentaries
                          • HD Shooting
                          • Home Movies
                          • Shooting Indoors
                          • Shooting Outdoors
                          • Travel

                          Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                          Of all the affordable stabilizers, this is simply the best because it is so quick to balance. It fits my merlin Steadicam vest and arm too.

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

                          Share this review

                          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                           
                          5.0

                          Blackbird Stabilizer

                          By MtnTvGuy

                          from Colorado

                          About Me Film Professional

                          Verified Reviewer

                          Pros

                            Cons

                              Best Uses

                              • Documentaries
                              • HD Shooting

                              Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                              I was very surprised at how quickly and easily someone like me, who has never used one, could balance it and fly it. I expected there to be much more of a learning curve, but with the DVD and the book I was able to get up to speed pretty quickly mounting my 5d MKII and my 60D on it.

                              I haven't done much "flying" with it, but it proved invaluable last week as I shot a flyfishing documentary and a tripod was not practical. Wow.

                              My Blackbird is worth every penny I paid for it.

                              • Was this a gift?:
                              • No

                              Share this review

                              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                               
                              4.0

                              Better then my other glide cams

                              By [@]

                              from puerto rico

                              About Me Business Owner, Professional Artist

                              Verified Buyer

                              Pros

                              • Easy To Use
                              • Professional Quality

                              Cons

                                Best Uses

                                • Independent Films

                                Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                                I use the panasonic gh2 and this works great. I see no real issues at all. The panasonic gh2 is a very light cam so I cant say how it will do with a heavy camera like the canon 7d. The price is right and works great.

                                • Was this a gift?:
                                • No

                                Share this review

                                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                                 
                                5.0

                                Great Product

                                By Dave

                                from Los Angeles

                                About Me Professional Artist

                                Verified Buyer

                                Pros

                                  Cons

                                    Best Uses

                                      Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                                      I use this rig for my 7D and 5DM2 with a 16-35mm canon lens. It's easier to set up than I thought. Smooth shots but takes some finesse. Light weight but hard to handle for long periods. Glad I own it.

                                      • Was this a gift?:
                                      • No

                                      Share this review

                                      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                                       
                                      5.0

                                      Blackbird stabilizer

                                      By Descant Productions

                                      from Lyons, CO

                                      About Me Professional Artist

                                      Verified Buyer

                                      Pros

                                      • Compact Design
                                      • Easy To Use
                                      • Professional Quality

                                      Cons

                                        Best Uses

                                        • Complex Projects
                                        • Independent Films

                                        Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                                        I use the Blackbird with the Sony NEX-VG10, and it works great. Easy to set up, very stable, great value for the money. The instructional DVD is very informative, gets you up and running quickly. It still needs lots of practice to use, but for a handheld stabilizer I don't think you can do better for the price.

                                        • Was this a gift?:
                                        • No

                                        Share this review

                                        (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

                                         
                                        5.0

                                        Refined and easy to use

                                        By MW

                                        from Los Angeles, CA

                                        About Me Professional Artist

                                        Verified Buyer

                                        Pros

                                        • Compact Design
                                        • Easy To Use
                                        • Professional Quality

                                        Cons

                                          Best Uses

                                          • Independent Films

                                          Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                                          I love using the blackbird. The craftsmanship and attention to detail shows and it's very easy to setup and balance. The supplied DVD & manual eased any concerns I had about learning how to operate a stabilizer without any formal training. Recommend the kit -- it gives you all you need for a very competitive price.

                                          • Was this a gift?:
                                          • No

                                          Share this review

                                          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                                           
                                          5.0

                                          The "Wow" factor you've been looking for

                                          By Yeah Yeah Creative

                                          from Nashville, TN

                                          About Me Business Owner, Professional Artist

                                          Verified Buyer

                                          Pros

                                          • Improves Performance
                                          • Professional Quality
                                          • Wow factor

                                          Cons

                                          • Learning curve

                                          Best Uses

                                          • Concerts
                                          • Live events
                                          • Outdoors

                                          Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                                          I use the Blackbird with a Canon 7D. When paired with a good wide angle lens, like the Tokina 11-16, it flies like a dream. There's definitely a learning curve, so don't expect to pick it up and nail your first day of shots. But give it time, and you'll add a whole spectrum of potentially dynamic shots to any event.

                                          It can be tricky to balance, but read the instruction booklet, watch the (included) DVD, and you'll be running and gunning fairly quickly.

                                          • Was this a gift?:
                                          • No

                                          Share this review

                                          (11 of 11 customers found this review helpful)

                                           
                                          4.0

                                          Unique advantages to Merlin and Glidecam

                                          By Mike

                                          from NJ

                                          Verified Buyer

                                          Pros

                                          • Adjustable Friction
                                          • Center gimbal
                                          • Handheld

                                          Cons

                                          • Can't be inverted
                                          • SIZE

                                          Best Uses

                                            Comments about Camera Motion Research Blackbird Camera Stabilizer Kit:

                                            Good: As a first time stabilizer owner I chose the Blackbird over the Merlin and Glidecam for its unique features. It has a gimbal centered under the stage like the Merlin. It's less stress on the wrist than the off-center Glidecam. It can take cameras weighing more than the Merlin's maximum weight. The stage has marking for easier replication of recipes unlike the Glidecam. Best of all it has the Smoothtouch feature which is useful when you need to add a tiny bit of slowness to its reaction. It took me half a week to learn to fly it reasonably well.

                                            This is the new kit with the resting stand and tripod plate. The docking bracket helps when you need to use two hands to balance. It's the most complete package vs Merlin and Glidecam.

                                            Bad: It's bulkier than the folding Merlin due to the T-bar. It's not heavier but is taller. The Arm is about as tall at the Merlin but the T-bar adds about a foot depending on the setting. It cam be shortened at higher T-bar settings. The Glidecam is telescoping and can be inverted for low mode that neither Merlin nor Blackbird can match. If you don't need to do really low to the ground shots it's great. I reasoned if I need something that low I'd use a skateboard dolly or a crane.

                                            The video and documentation isn't as encompassing as Steadicam's, this is mitigated by excellent personal support from CMR. But this may be a challenge for non-English speakers.

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                                            Bags & Cases

                                            Camera Motion Research -  Case for Blackbird
                                            • Price: $64.95
                                             
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