Hands-On Review: Steadicam Merlin-2
Designed by Garrett Brown, the inventor of the original Steadicam, the Steadicam Merlin2 has an efficient body that’s adjustable more than a dozen ways, all with the one aim of achieving smooth, flowing movement with your DSLR, small camcorder or point-and-shoot camera.
The very light and compact Merlin2 is designed with the same engineering principles on which the huge Hollywood Steadicam rigs are built. It features a patented 3-axis and 6-ball-bearing gimbal assembly that provides friction-free movement. The handle can be used left- or right-handed and can be adjusted to find a camera’s center of gravity. The dual rods of the body, called spars, connect at joints with efficient tolerances that allow for easy folding, unfolding and storage. This capability even enables shoulder-mounted operation. Merlin2 also features counterweights at two different points along the spars for more controlled counterbalancing.
Follow your subject down a street or up a staircase, and you’ll get shots as smooth as those enabled by Brown’s original Steadicam, which Stanley Kubrick used in his horror masterpiece, The Shining. The video before you discusses many features not mentioned here. You’ll learn about mounting options, long-lens support and maneuverability, and you’ll see actual footage shot using the Merlin2.
|Construction||Stainless steel, aluminum, brass|
|Gimbal||Rigid metal 6-ball bearing gimbal with adjustment lock|
|Camera Mount Type||Universal quick-release mounting plate|
|Camera Weight Capacity||0.5-5.0 lb (0.22-2.26 kg)*; 7.5 lb (3.4 kg) with optional Merlin Arm & Vest Accessory|
|Maximum Height Open||15.3" (39 cm)|
|Minimum Height Open||8.0" (20.3 cm)|
|Height Folded||5.3" (13.5 cm)|
(without balance weights)
|1.4 lb (0.64 kg)|
|Weight of Balance Weights||3.0 oz (85 g) and 4.0 oz (113.4 g) (Every 1.0 lb [0.45 kg] of camera weight needs 4.0 oz [113.4 g] of counter-balanced weight)|
|Dimensions of Carrying Case (WxHxD)||13.4 x 9.9 x 4.9" (34 x 25 x 12.4 cm)|