New – Opteka SteadyVid Pro Stabilizer

Opteka throws in a new Video Camera stabilizer with a fully adjustable top stage and upgraded 3 axis gimbal. Looks pretty similar to the Steadicam Merlin. The lower weights (stainless steel?) look almost exactly like the ones used in a real Steadicam Merlin (seen here), and the specs say it can handle up to 5lbs of camera.

Unlike the Merlin, it does not appear to fold up, but adds an adjustable front counterbalance weight. Of course nobody should expect the build quality to be up to par with a real Steadicam Merlin, but how well will this new stabilizer actually perform? The Steadicam Merlin will run you about $800 dollars (click here), and the new Opteka SteadyVid Pro runs just under $180 (click here).

Opteka SteadyVid ProOpteka Stabilizer Pro
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47 thoughts on “New – Opteka SteadyVid Pro Stabilizer

  1. Davehowto

    Hi, I got the Optika Steadicam Pro last Wednesday. I spent about 2 hours practising setting it up initially with my Canon T3i battery grip, manfrotto quick release plate and the Canon 24-105 "L" series lens but could not get it to balance even remotely. I then switched to my much lighter Canon 18-55 is kit lens and it seemed to balance v quickly. I was very relieved cos i was close to sending the steadicam back. The next morning I spent about an hour or so practising in the garden. I am not sure if it was balanced perfectly and it needed constant readjustment but i got better and was v pleased with the results. I then decided to trial it that afternoon at an art exhibition and you can see the results below. IT was a bit breezy and that made it harder to balance for sure. Some of the shots seemed pretty good to me, some were not so good, but luckily the entrance shot seemed impressive to me. I also then used the great warp stabilization feature in adobe premiere pro to make the shots even smoother tho to be honest the entrance shot itself probably didnt need it. SO my take on this is that it probably does a very similar job to the merlin steadicam but is priced way cheaper. I think all these stabilization devices are similar in that they involve a lot of practice and results in the hands of a person well practised makes more difference than the actual device. ALso consider using IS lenses and using software stabilization too when editing since they can also really make a big difference and require much less skill.A combination of al 3 methods I think can really give good smooth results even if your steadicam footage or hand held is not perfect.
    link to footage shot on OPtika Steady vid pro

    http://youtu.be/nri5eGMuFZI

  2. Thanks Emm! Looks like I'll be purchasing the Smoothee and a Opteka Steadyvid Ex (to cannibalize the lower weight part). Really liked the polished look that your modded smoothee has.

  3. @Emm - Thanks for the quick response Emm! Anywho, I'm guessing just modding the plate of the Steadicam Smoothee to fit the GH2 wouldn't be enough? You still need to put the weights at the bottom.

    Or actually, you think the smoothee can handle the weight of a Sony HX9V without adding weights to the bottom of the smoothee?

  4. Emm

    Post author

    @Paul Hidalgo - One of the problems with the GH2 is that it is very lightweight. If you use a stabilizer that is too large, then you won't have the minimum amount of weight needed to balance it. I think a modded smoothee would work great, but if you're not into DIY, then you can try other stabilizers and add more weight to the top stage. Maybe add a quick release adapter, an LED light, or microphone, or just add some heavy washers on top with the camera.

  5. Hi Emm,

    Was just wondering, which one would you choose to fly a GH2 w/ 14mm pancake lens?

    A modded smoothee or this new opteka steadyvidpro? Reallly need a stabilizer that best compliments the GH2.

    Thanks in advance!

  6. Hi all,
    Emm was very kind to post my guide to balancing SteadyVid Pro: http://cheesycam.com/tips-for-balancing-opteka-steadyvid-pro/

    I also wanted to share some footage I was able to get with this thing:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGlzKJYCYo8 (Cinco de Mayo parade 2012)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBfu9fs20pw (low tracking shot)
    Overall, it's a pretty capable stabilizer. I don't think it's too hard to balance once you get used to what each knob does.

  7. hi, i just got the my opteka steadyvid pro i ordered from ebay to sweden, and i just want to say that it does work even with a camera that's 400 g(legria hf 20) you just need to put like 1 additional weight on it in all, and you can also make homemade weight for best performance under 900g.

  8. Probe

    I bought a JuicedLink CX211 in part to raise the centre of gravity on the Steadyvid and make it better balanced with my Panasonic TM900 by increasing the weight and therefore letting the bottom weight drop to its lowest point in an effort to position it better. Of course, there's no way that I could actually USE a pair of balanced Shure SM58 XLR mics on 6m cables hanging off this thing while mounted on a Steadyvid, but on a quick release plate, well, it added the weight and height I wanted and it makes swopping over onto a tripod and plugging up the mics dead easy and fast. The weight and positioning of the un-mic'ed JuicedLink did improve the performance of the Steadyvid for me but not enough for my taste. Oh, and btw: the JuicedLink CX211 is a brilliant piece of kit that I DO recommend unreservedly for marrying up with a camcorder like the TM900 that doesn't support phantom power.

  9. Probe

    The steadyvid looks beautifully crafted but in fact its main counterweight tends to swing laterally and go out of adjustment. Moreover, it lacks any means of returning to correct settings accurately and quickly, and any attempt to touch the camera or adjust the orientation of it produces an immediate lurch. Undamped, it lacks any means of fine-manipulation of any camera function or orientation while in use. The bubble level is good but not omnidirectional. The main components apart from the beautifully machined stainless steel counterweight are made of aluminium. Unlike the Steadicam Merlin, there's no way to adjust the angle of the arc of the main limb of this 'stabilizer'. When it is adjusted, moreover, it is very vulnerable to buffeting in light crosswinds. So it looks nice, but I wish I had had a chance to try one of these things out before getting it on eBay!

  10. irvin

    Ordered one - but will return promptly. Product is well made overall, but balancing it is just too much work for me. spent the last 2 hours tring to get it to work and when it seems very close it begins to tilt in strange ways. Just too much effort required.

    I have a GH2, so the tiniy weight may be an issue. In any case, no more stabilizers for me. I dread even thinking on having to calibrate these devices more than once or somebody bumping into me and 'uncalibrating' the thing by accident.

    Ordered a pistol grip and a square (flash) bracket from Adorama ($30 total) and I'm getting decent footage in far less time and with much less effort.

    I had forgotten this is supposed to be fun for a hobbyist like me.

  11. Steve

    Deedré

    I hear a comment the steadyvid pro infringe in a US Patent
    don't remember on what page, I was looking to buy one for me too

  12. Deedré

    Does anyone know where to get one of these? they seem to be out of them on Amazon, eBay and B&H.

  13. Aries

    I was hoping you could add each of those counter-weights separately but they are in 2 sections.

  14. nick

    @Scott P, forgot to mention, instead of drawing your own units, you might want to try "Cardstick ruler stickers", comes in 3" and 9" lengths.

  15. Tony Tiger

    I am also wondering how this performs when running compared to the Flycan Nano DSLR... really wish there were reviews out there for this to compare them both.

  16. gerald

    How about some footage while running as well. Curious how this thing "flies" in the field. Thanks.

  17. Emm

    Post author

    @Scott P - Great news. Let me know if you have a chance to get an unboxing video or some close up photos of the unit.

  18. Scott P

    Hi Emm,
    Just wanted to let you know that based on your recommendation I purchased this stabilizer and just received it. I have to say, that is the best, inexpensive, stabilizer I've tried. (prev tried the Dragon Steady and the Lense Pro, plus I built one myself). It was relatively easy to balance after about 30 mins of trial and error and figuring out what changing the arc did (my first with a variable arc). It looks very well made and the moveable stage really helps you quickly get it balanced. Also, the gimbal is very well made without any "play" in it at all. Very durable looking as well. The grip is comfortable but a bit short for my larger hands. All it needs are some reliable markings so that it would be easy re balance in the future. I am thinking of getting out some white paint and tiny brush to put some degree markings on the arc so I can remember the settings. Thanks again for all the useful info you give us with each post. It is very much appreciated!

  19. Aries

    With a heavy quick release plate and minimum counter-weight, it might work with a Sony HX9v or similar.

    With all counter-weight, it may work with 7D and Tokina 11-16.

    If the gimbal is decent and the micro-adjustment work well, it may be the best of both worlds.

  20. Emm

    Post author

    @Bill - At 18mm it's not too bad, and it has IS which is helpful when using it handheld.

  21. Bill

    By the way emm, i meant to ask you if you thought the canon 18-55mm kit lens was worth using to fly. Its cheap, light. I know its not ideal but i am considering it, its $179. Thanks.

  22. @mike nice to say that.. It wasnt there yet when he was writing this.
    I think this stabilizer will rock so I orderd it. When I have it I give a review on it.

  23. Emm

    Post author

    @Bill - A modded Smoothee will blow away the Hague MMC. The Hague does not have an adjustable top stage like the Smoothee, nor does it have the same type of Gimbal the Smoothe has.

  24. Bill

    Emm, can you give an opinion comparing the Hague Mini Motion Camera Stabilizer and the Steadicam Smoothee?

    Thanks!

  25. imgpro615

    looks decent enough...might get one and cannibalise the topstage for use with my flycam since it has microadjustable knobs

  26. Emm

    Post author

    @DD - In my experience the Flycam style is easier to really whip around, but it can't balance lightweight cameras like a GH2 or NEX 7.

  27. syed

    well this looks promising, was thinkin about buying the nano dslr, will wait for a review of this before deciding between the nano and this.

  28. Anonymoose

    Hey Cheesycam, I am on the fence between this and the DSLR FlyCam Nano. I am completely new to stabilizers, so let us know which one is better between this and the flycam nano. Cheers.

  29. Luis

    Definitely interesting, all we need it's a solid review and this thing might fly out of the shelves.

  30. Hi emm, there are so many variation of steadicam equipments. But which type would be a better setup up in yr experience ? The flycam type , or the steadicam merlin type?E.g The flycam type seems to be able to turn 360 but not the merlinn type.

  31. Hey Emm:

    Do you consider the flycam nano a decent stabilizer? I basically want to put a small camera on it, maybe a GH1 or a 5n, and use it for a few short sequences for events. I don't have a budget for anything fancier right now. Anybody else with an opinion on this, I'd love to hear from you. I saw your video on the subject, but since you've tested quite a few products since then, Emm, I wonder if you think there's a better low-cost solution for a small camera than the Nano.

  32. HD-tography

    Interesting to see if you could cannibalize the steadycam smoothee's gimbal and swap it onto this heavier duty flyer?

  33. gerald

    Will cheesycam be getting one for review? I am on the fence between this and the flycam dslr nano for my 60d setup.

  34. Jerry

    Aaaah, I just bought the dslr flycam nano yesterday! Well, I guess I´ll just have to wait for the reviews of this new opteka...

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