Let me start by saying I do own a Steadicam Merlin Vest and the Glidecam HD4000 stabilizer. These are two high quality pieces of gear that will give excellent results, but total over $2100+ US dollars. If you can afford this combination, you won't be disappointed with the results.
For those who can't afford such equipment, I have had the opportunity to try several different more affordable vest systems and posted a video about this (below) along with an Arm/Vest I recommend for budget shooters.
So If you are a budget filmmaker, this more affordable Vest/Arm with Stabilizer Combination that can work just as well as some of the more expensive kits out there. The dual ISO arm vest is easy to get in and out of, easy to adjust to fit, and the arm has a quick release system and can be found bundled with the Wieldy Carbon Fiber Stabilizer (Wieldy review found here). Below is a sample video of the Dual ISO Arm and Vest with Wieldy Stabilizer flying a BlackMagic Cinema Camera.
Even with the additional weight of the BMCC, the stabilizer works great. This has been one of the best alternative Vest/Stabilizer bundles i've used that can deliver results similar to my $2100+ US dollar setup, and the kit is often found for around $800. You can find this Dual Arm Vest + Stabilizer via eBay (click here)
Video Camera Steadycam Dual Arm Stabilizer Load Vest
The vest is very helpful for longer video shots, but is not required. You can always purchase the vest at a later time and just start with the Wieldy Carbon Fiber hand held stabilizer. I have additional information and sample video footage shot with a Wieldy (found here). So if you are just looking for the Hand Held stabilizer, that can be found via eBay (Click Here).
Out of stock previously, that new carbon fiber Wieldy Stabilizer I posted an article about (found here) a few weeks ago has listed a few more in stock. News update, I received my unit in also and this thing was really modeled after the Glidecam HD stabilizers. Check out the photo below showing the counterweights. One is the Wieldy and the other is for the Glidecam - dead on exact same shape and the holes line up perfectly on my Glidecam.
Build quality is good although there were a few loose screws when mine arrived that I needed to tighten up before flying around. The sled is almost exactly the same also, but the Wieldy is using a thinner sled plate which I could easily bend by hand if I really wanted to. The Gimbal adjustment works great and I was able to reposition it so I can fly my camera upside down, something I can't easily do with the Glidecam without the handle hitting the stage.
Balancing was very quick for me since it has the same fine tuning knobs that the more expensive Glidecam offers, so I was very familiar. FThis stabilizer can be compared to either the larger $570 Glidecam HD4000 (seen here) or smaller Glidecam HD2000 (seen here). The HD2000 will already run you about $500 dollars, while this Carbon Wieldy Stabilizer runs for about $300 bucks. Additional information, photos, and video examples of the Carbon Wieldy Stabilizer in use can be seen following the link to the product page via eBay (Click Here).
Wieldy DV Pro Iron Triangle Stabilizer
[Update] You can also find the Wieldy bundled with a dual arm stabilizer from another seller. The vest offered is different than the one I posted about earlier, and it's available with different stabilizers. A few listings from this seller show the dual arm vest bundled with this same Wieldy Carbon Fiber stabilizer.