Tag Archives: Steadicam Merlin Vest


Some people want to stick with big brand names - nothing with wrong with that. So if you're looking for my suggestion in this area, one of my favorite Stabilizer + Vests combinations still to this day is the hybrid Steadicam Merlin Vest + Glidecam HD4000 Stabilizer.

Obviously the Glidecam Stabilizer can be used without a Vest, when you just need to fly hand held. If you need the extra support for long hours of Steadicam work, you can mount the Glidecam to the Steadicam Merlin Vest (with an adapter).

find-price-button Glidecam HD4000 Video Camera Stabilizer

The ISO ARM on the Merlin Vest can be dialed to fly both lightweight cameras as well as medium weight camera systems. This is a true 'Steadicam' branded vest, and build quality on the ISO Arm is top notch. Typically this vest runs $1600 dollars (some retailers still list this price), but recently it's been discounted for just $995 $849 (found here).

Steadicam Merlin Vest Kit
find-price-button Steadicam MERLIN-ARMVESTPK Upgrade Kit for Merlin $995

Now i'm not a fan of the Velcro straps on the actual vest part. So the only other thing I highly suggest getting is the Buckle Upgrade Kit (found here). This little kit will get rid of those nasty velcro straps that are both noisy and will eventually wear out. You can find that kit below (click here).

steadicam vest upgrade buckle velcro
find-price-button Steadicam Merlin Vest Buckle Upgrade Kit

So if you're working with the Glidecam HD4000 (or similar post) Stabilizer, to mate the two you can either DIY an adapter (as seen here), or you can pick up a ready made post from Berkey designed specifically for this Hybrid setup. Here's a link to the adapter required to allow the Glidecam Stabilizers to work with this Steadicam Merlin Vest.

Steadicam Merlin Glidecam Mod PostSteadicam Glidecam Post
find-price-button Berkey Glidecam Post Adapter to Steadicam Merlin Vest


Guess what came in the mail recently? It's that cheap video stabilizer load vest I posted about a few weeks ago. I've had a bit of time with the gear, and as with any product there's Pros and Cons.

Cheap Stabilizer Vest Cheesycam

The cheap vest is a combination of snap buckles and velcro, while the Steadicam Merlin vest is based on just velcro. Constantly readjusting the velcro on the Steadicam Merlin vest causes the vest to wear out, not to mention it's a bitch for hangnails. I've already had to replace the velcro on my Steadicam Vest, but there is also a 'buckle upgrade kit' (seen here) I will probably do the next time I need repairs. I've been using the Steadicam Vest for a long time, and I find that the Cheap Vest is more comfortable than the Steadicam Merlin vest.

Single Arm Vest

The cheap vest I received came with a few scratches on the paint. Only slight blemishes, and nothing compared to how my Steadicam Vest looks like today. The Steadicam Merlin vest can be dialed down to fly light camera stabilizers. The ISO arm on the cheap vest requires a heavier load than the Steadicam. When flying just my 5D + Glidecam HD4000, the setup was not heavy enough to bounce the arm. I ended up adding some addition weight on the stabilizer setup for the cheap arm to work better.

scratch 1 cheap vestscratch 2 cheap vest

It's no Steadicam Killer, but the Cheap Vest has really good build quality for the price. I find it more comfortable than the Steadicam Vest and it works to carry your Flycam or Glidecam Stabilizers. If you're planning on flying a very light setup, this vest will not operate as smooth as the Steadicam Merlin Vest. The ISO arm of the cheap vest requires a bit more weight to put the proper tension on the spring. Below is a video showing pretty much the exact same vest setup from YouTube member Kirk Saber, along with his example footage from the vest system.

If you look carefully, you can see the bounce in his step due to the spring tension requiring more weight. The Steadicam Merlin Vest is a dual arm setup, while the cheap vest is only a single ISO arm. The Steadicam Merlin vest runs almost $1600 and the Cheap Vest runs for just under $400 dollars. There's a new listing in which they are also offering a Carbon stabilizer as part of a bundled package via eBay (Click Here).

find-price-button Budget Single ISO Arm Camera Stabilizer Load Vest

Steadicam Merlin Vest
find-price-button Steadicam Merlin Vest Arm