Steadicam Merlin 2 Camera Stabilizing System with Arm and Vest Upgrade Kit

Steadicam Merlin 2 Camera Stabilizing System with Arm and Vest Upgrade Kit

Steadicam Merlin 2 Camera Stabilizing System with Arm and Vest Upgrade Kit


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Product Highlights

  • For Small Cameras Up to 5 Pounds
  • Create Smooth, Elegant Shots on the Fly
  • Merlin 2 Camera Stabilizer Included
  • Swing Arm and Vest Included

Steadicam Merlin 2 Overview

  • 1Description

The Merlin 2 Camera Stabilizing System with Arm and Vest Upgrade Kit from B&H is a camera stabilizer solution for cameras weighing up to 5 pounds. The kit includes a Steadicam Merlin 2 Camera Stabilizer, a swing arm, and a vest. Use the Merlin 2 on its own for handheld use, or attach it to the swing arm and vest for longer shot capability.

The Steadicam Merlin 2 utilizes a metal gimbal to create smooth, professional-quality camera movements for your footage. It features a rigid camera plate, multi-angle viewable level, and large knobs for easy adjustments and use. When longer shots are required, attach the Merlin 2 to the included arm and vest using the secure metal interconnect. When placed on the swing arm, the weight of the camera is taken off your wrist and transferred to your torso, letting you shoot longer with less strain.

The Merlin Vest is one-size-fits-all and lightweight at only 2.6 pounds. The Arm is built to a 7/8 scale of the Steadicam Flyer, G-50, and G-70 arms, providing the same professional feel and performance but in a smaller package. The arm itself weighs 5.1 pounds, and it can support a camera payload between 2.5 and 7 pounds.

Please reference the links below for more information on the various components of this kit.

Table of Contents
  • 1Description

Steadicam Merlin 2 Reviews

Merlin 2 Camera Stabilizing System with Arm and Vest Upgrade Kit is rated 3.0 out of 5 by 3.
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Stedicam is great, Merlin not their best I'm a big fan of stedicam rigs. I went to a stedicam workshop and got certified. The supplied training video you get with the merlin has my instructor in it. I learned all about balancing and operating a stedicam zephyr rig and larger. The merlin 2 and vest rig has been a big dissappointment so far. First off in order to balance it you have several settings that need to be set just right; plate mounting hole, number of counter weights in two different locations, stage off-set, arc length, forward/aft adjust, left to right adjust, and the collar around the gimbal pivot point. There is an online cookbook that gives settings for several popular cameras - that is, popular cameras as of seven years ago. I have a GH4, a very popular small camera today and they don't have it (or any other panasonic GH series camera) listed in their cookbook. I tried to search a few forums for settings to see if anyone else had found the right settings, but no such luck. The closest things are a video of a guy balancing a GH3 - who doesn't give any of the settings besides the weights and even uses a plate hole that puts it way off balance right at the start when I use it. I found a GH4 user who had uploaded a video of him using the merlin, but it is so poorly balanced it basically looks like hand held footage. He's doing the same thing that i'm doing: playing the guessing game of what settings are best - hard to do when there are a thousand permutations of the various settings. I've contacted a guy at tiffin (the maker of stedicam) and he said he's going to help me figure it out, but we'll see. The moral of the story is that while I'm sure that it is possible to get this thing to balance (especially if your camera is in the cook book - for example I have an HVX-200 that I still use and there are settings listed for it, I'd expect it to work like a charm when set correctly) If you have a camera that's new you might be playing a guessing game trying to get it to balance just right. Also, because this is a review for the vest and arm I will say this: the arm is a very high quality build, similar in size to the Zephyr rig and could easily be used with the pilot/flier rigs and so this can be a good investment even if the merlin is a little unruly. The vest is a smaller vest, so it isn't as comfortable, but with some adjusting fit me fine (I wear an XL size t-shirt) Here's something to consider - because I'm pretty sure this arm was meant for a larger column rig it flies the merlin pretty high and requires the operator to put pressure on it to let it sit a the normal level, it came with two extra weight links so I think the intent is to weigh the merlin down a little more to compensate for this, but because I've had trouble balancing it as is, I haven't yet had time to see how these extra weights play in. I'm sure once I get a chance to sit down and read the instructions on the arm (I've already read the instructions for the merlin) it'll have a little more info on that. At this time I feel good about the arm and vest, but its use with the merlin is in question. I'll update my review if I get the balance to work. I know steadicam decently well and I found this product hard to use, if you're not experienced with this kind of stabelizer I'd look at something that requires less fine-tuning. You just have to accept that even if you're good at balancing steadicam devices you always need to be ready to dedicate an hour to setting up and balancing the camera. One last note: I bought the reccomended bogen 502 quick-release tray and plate and while I still think it would be great to use with this, balancing is hard enough without it. I'm still trying to make it work, but it just adds another domension of complication. The money would really be better spent on a c-stand to help you balance without wearing out your arm.
Date published: 2015-04-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Having trouble balancing it I have bought the Merlin 2 maybe a year ago and did not use it 1 day. I have the Same Panasonic GH4 and still today i did not find the best way to balance it. I cannot loose my time playing around with it for 2 weeks and still don't get the result i need. Very disappointed. Will the video guy , if you made any progress of balancing it with the GH4 would be very pleased to know
Date published: 2017-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Buttery smooth shots! This is the stabilizing system you hear all the indie filmmakers gushing about and for good reason. The Steadicam Merlin 2 gives you buttery smooth shots, but since no one can hold a camera all day long, you add in the Vest and Arm attachment and bizow! It's like heaven. You and your camera simply float around the shoot with ease. Go wherever you want. Up and down steps, swing around buildings, weave through crowds, run! Yeah, run if you want to! And all your shots come out silky smooth with no jitter. It frees you to shoot wherever you want to, and best of all your hands are ALWAYS FREE!!! You get a phone call? Answer it. There's nothing to set down, your camera just sits hovering next to you on the floating arm of your vest, waiting patiently for you. You want to take a second to chat about a shot? Do it. The ease and versatility alone makes this system great, but the simplicity of the design and attention to detail in the engineering just can't be matched. The two previous versions of the Merlin, the Junior and the Merlin 1, were good, but in the new Merlin 2 they thought of everything. And when the shoot is over, the Merlin 2 folds down in about a half second and fits snugly into it's sturdy carrying case. Bottom line is, if you want to shoot smooth video that looks professional, buy this system.
Date published: 2015-07-13
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