This is a test which served two purposes. Firstly, I simply wanted to know whether the Merlin would even be able to support my heavy AF-100 with Canon lenses. Secondly, I wanted to compare these two very inexpensive stabilization systems in order to pin-point their strengths and weaknesses for future jobs. These are my findings:
Long Shots: With the Merlin, I would most definitely not be able to shoot for a long period of time without rest. I could not find any rental companies which have the vest and arm in stock, which could be a remedy for this. The vest and arm for the Glidecam 4000Pro really took the weight off my arms, allowing me operation with little to no fatigue, even for long shots.
Setup Time: The Merlin beats Glidecam in ease of setup. It would take me about 20 minutes for an initial setup and then about 5 minutes between shots to adjust the fore-aft balance. Using the Glidecam would take about double the time due to it's somewhat clumsy design.
Wind: If outdoor shots are required, the Glidecam is much better. The Merlin is so small that any breeze pushes it around and makes it wobble like a drunkard!
Size: The Merlin is much more compact, and could fit easier within small interior shooting locations.
Versatility: The Merlin is excellent when switching from tripod to steadicam. It comes with a tripod adapter plate that allows you to use the same quick-release mount for both systems. It can also fold into a sort of strange, but effective shoulder-rig.
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