Steadicam Merlin 2 – Review

YouTube member arthurwoo sends over his review of the NEW Steadicam Merlin 2. In this video he makes some very good points on Pros and Cons of the unit, and also shares with us some sample video footage from the little stabilizer. The Steadicam Merlin 2 has many new upgrades and supposedly a more robust frame than the original Steadicam Merlin. For about $800 dollars, you can find out more about the Steadicam Merlin 2 at the B&H product page (Click Here).

Steadicam-Merlin-2-Video-Samples-Review
find-price-button Steadicam Merlin 2 Video Camera Stabilizer



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21 thoughts on “Steadicam Merlin 2 – Review

  1. I wish you would go over what you did to stabilize the camera. I have a very similar rig and I can get it stable if i don't move, but once i start moving it flys all around.

  2. Stiv

    So.. Great review first off... Throughout the talk though, you were constantly stopping the Merlin 2 from rotating counter clockwise... Having not used one of these yet - prospective purchaser - would you not say that is a pretty major problem? How do you get good running footage for example if you are moving fast and the stabilizer is constantly listing to the left?
    Other than that it looks fantastic. And I travel a lot so the lightweight, compact design looks perfect.
    Love to hear what you think on that particular 'feature'..
    thanks!

  3. loui

    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?

  4. Great review Arthur. I was wondering if you had any updates since you've had the product for a few months now in regards to the about build quality? I saw a previous comment where they mentioned it wasn't a problem and they were heavy users. Secondly, are you making adjustments for different lenses, say a 50mm and a 14-24mm? Thanks again for the review.--Dave

  5. i could never get the merlin to balance properly. steadicam company offers no support. it's not user friendly, i.e. for the masses. the smartest thing a camera user can do is buy a camera that is already stable as it is built. i had a point and shoot canon and it would produce incredible footage with its OIS because it was already balance to a large degree. get something without an lcd or something that is off to a side. this device is a waste of money for the average user.

  6. peoplethesedays

    I dont understand why the cost is so high. I mean the technology isnt totally complex,im paying 800$+ to teach myself how to understand physics? I guess I dont really have a choice the flycam, glidecam, and the merlin being the cream of the crop all from what I understand take some time (weeks/months) to balance, but to me its like if im going to a shoot in a hurry or I need the stabalizer asap, why should I pay so much if I have to rebalance it everytime.

  7. Hello Arthur,
    I'm just getting into video with my DSLR since it has that capability.

    I opened up the box of my flycam DSLR nano and realized I made a serious mistake. My DSLR is a moose. Nikon D3s. Too heavy.

    So I calc'd the weights with Camera body, battery and lens. I had the idea that I could use my Really Right Stuff slide and clamp to make balancing easy but that's 1.3 lbs that will not happen. I also ordered a Rode Stereo Pro2 mic. .25 lb.

    My configurations configurations are:
    D3S a 14-24mm and the Rode is 5.5lb
    D3S a 24-70mm and the Rode is 5.4lb
    Forget the 70-200mm

    Just over the Merlin 2' 5 lb weight.

    What's you opinion on using the Merlin with my rig?
    Your comment on wrist fatigue make a lot of sense after trying to balance the Flycam Nano. I need to be in better shape to last more than 2 minutes. Max.

    With the nano you get the construction that you pay for. Not much.

    So $800 for the Merlin? or Glidecam HD4000 or perhaps the Flycam 5C?

    Since my rig is heavy I may need to chew off the additional cost of a vest. I thought that The Merlin Vest and Arm support looked great. But $1500 ouch.

    Thanks

  8. @Dan

    The Merlin 2 is a direct replacement for the first version. The differences are the build quality (more sturdy/rugged) and that you can include a record button on the handle for an additional cost.

    I'm not exactly where you saw the difference in price. From what I know version 1 was the same price as version 2. You can't buy version 1 new any longer from retailers.

  9. Dan

    @Arthur Woo I would also really like to hear more about how the merlin 2 compares to the original. Would the results be the same? There is such a huge price difference between the two that I would like to know why it would be worth it to get the updated version

  10. @Shelby

    I think there are way too many reviews that don't show enough good/balanced footage. From all the videos I've seen, I'd guess 80% of them are 'reviews' or 'test footage' where the stabilizer isn't even close to being balanced. I think Emm's are the closest non company ones that are the most legitimate

  11. @Jerry

    The biggest thing for me is the placement of the handle. It makes the most sense to have it right under the camera, whereas some of the other units have the handle to the side where the center of gravity isn't, which causes wrist stress. I think regardless of how much the different stabilizers weigh, the camera+batteries+lens is still going to add a bit of weight.

    I haven't had the chance to use a minicam but the website makes it look pretty legit, especially when running around with it

  12. Jerry also

    Arthur Woo makes a lot of this Merlin's lightness, lengthening max time of unbroken shots. Skyler Minicam's makers call IT the lightest of them all -- though I haven't been able to to find out what it does weigh. A table of the weights of these, Flycam, Glidecam and any other contenders, with uniform counterweight, would be an interesting contribution.

  13. From a functional standpoint it operates the same. The build quality is supposedly better according to Steadicam, and another option is the ability to add a remote record button into the handle as an additional cost.

    They also aren't producing the Merlin 1 anymore and from what I know this is the direct replacement for it.

  14. @Andrew Hart - I haven't heard of that brand. Search for it on YouTube, a number of videos came up but the test footage didn't look like it was balanced. The Flycam Nano DSLR is actually a decent entry stabilizer since it's relatively cheap and you can get some pretty smooth shots with it. I think the test of a stabilizer is how well you can run with it. The merlin 2, as you can see in my test shots, is pretty smooth while running. I tried with some other units and the cheaper ones definitely had a hard time staying stable while I was running, even when they were balanced.

  15. Andrew Hart

    Found a link to a stabilizer by Manyan - a Chinese brand. I can't find much detail on it. I know they have a Facebook page 'Manyancam' but I can't read the Chinese writing or see a shop link for a price. Do you know anything about it?

  16. @Rockie - seems to be a universal issue. The few people I know who have a Merlin report the same thing. I think it's a 2 handed operation; even Emm commented on that several times in previous posts for various stabilizers.

    @Fred - good to know! I've been babying it because I've been so paranoid about the gimbal connection point

  17. I've used the Merlin for about 6 years, all day long, six days a week. It is robust, and holds up quite well. I just toss it in my bag about 6-8 times a day and it really holds up well. Can't complain at all - I own two of them and would buy another in a heartbeat. And I am a VERY heavy, daily user of this tool.

  18. @Rockie I dont think its defective. I think it has more to do with the fact that the merlin doesn't seem to have any sort of inbuilt friction dampening in its gimbal (gimble?) mroe than anything else. So much so that any kind of wind/movement would set it slightly spinning around. So you really need to use your other hand to counter-act the random physical imbalances to keep it flying straight.

    But that's just my 2 cents xD

  19. Rockie

    One question, I noticed in the video that the merlin tends to rotate counter clockwise even after being properly balanced. I had one of these before and I thought mine was defective. It really was bothersome to be constantly trying to keep it straight if I was doing a walk and talk down a long road for example.

    Thoughts?

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