Video / Hands-on Review

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)

Discussion 4

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Can I use the Merlin 2 gimbal on my Merlin 1 version. If not were can I get a new Gimbal for my Merlin 1?

Hi Mike -

The Metal Gimbal/Handle Assembly for Merlin 2 Camera Stabilizer from Steadicam provides support and angular isolation for your camera. It is a replacement part for the gimbal and handle assembly that's included with the Merlin 2. It is also compatible with the original Merlin camera stabilizer.

Please contact us via e-mail if you have additional questions:

hi im a new user of the merlin two and I'm strugling with the setup of the merlin for my 5d mark lll, more specifically adjusting the the caliper adjusting knob the manual tells me to turn the knob clockwise or counter clock wise, but the knob is super stiff as if it wasn't meant to be turned can anyone ith experience point out the problem?

Please use a professional steadicam operator(who has experience with the Merlin) next time as the sample shots do not justify this wonderful product.