There’s plenty of stabilizers on the market in all different shapes and sizes, but finding one to support up to 8lbs. of weight narrows the playing field. Now when you’re talking about finding a portable lightweight stabilizer + carry 8lbs. the list gets even smaller. The Steadicam Merlin is one of the best performing portable stabilizers i’ve used, but has specs to support only up to 5lbs for about $800 dollars, the Glidecam 2000 up to 6lbs, and The Glidecam 4000 can support up to 10lbs for about $550.
The Blackbird stabilizer from Camera Motion Research is said to support up to 8lbs, is cheaper in price, and less than half the weight and size (making great for traveling) compared to the Glidecam HD4000. The Gimbal handle design with universal joint is found on other stabilizers, but this is the largest one i’ve seen. How well does it perform? Well, there’s videos of this stabilizer flying a Sony EX1 so any DSLR should be a breeze. Just by looking at the build quality, there’s quite a bit of thought placed into every detail about how this thing works. The stage has a quick release system, can be adjusted forward / back, and left / right with fine tuning knobs. The weights on the bottom are mounted to an adjustable post with clear markings for easy repositioning if you have to take the unit apart. (I often use nail polish on my Glidecam posts to make sure I can line things back up) One interesting feature addresses problems with what most people have issues with (stabilizer roll). By adjusting friction into the Gimbal it keeps the stabilizer horizon more consistent.
Here’s a great little review from Vimeo member Firewerkz Films
If you understand stabilizers, how they work, this one is clearly made to address all concerns for getting the camera quickly balanced, easy to fly, and travel light. I’ll be putting it together and testing it out later this week, but so far it looks like a great little product. I’ll have part #2 of this review up soon.
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