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Opteka SteadyVid Pro
  • Bought one for a laugh - will post results soon.

    You can get yours also at http://www.amazon.com/Opteka-SteadyVid-Stabilizer-Camcorders-Supports/dp/B007FDE4Y8/

  • 38 Replies sorted by
  • Please do post your findings i realise it wont be as good build. but pondering if it would be a cheap substitute until i can get my hands on a wondalan stabaliser

  • It's been despatched - there's currently an unboxing on youtube - haven't seen any more vids

  • You mean this one?

  • Aye Capn - was just being lazy not posting a link! :)

  • I wonder how it compares to my newly modded steadicam smoothee with GH1 (aka baby merlin)

  • would love to see a review with the GH2.

  • Arrived incredibly quickly from The States - 47th Street in NY are swift! Un-boxed it and initially looks well built - will have a fiddle this weekend.

  • @soundgh2

    Remember to post report.

    Cheap stabs are interesting and popular among newbies :-)

  • Looks like you can get some decent stuff if your camera's lightweight enough

  • found this one too...

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    Will do - looks like the fliers above are as wobbly as I am :)

  • I don't think this video was shot with the SteadyVid Pro, I think some older version was used...

  • I think many users of the Opteka Steadyvid Pro will get "tripped up"by the fact that the counterweights at the bottom do not come in fine individual increments like the Steadicam Merlin. Thus people will find themselves locked into very gross drop times and dynamic balance arrangements, resulting in lots of pendulum effect in their shots (i.e. According to the above unboxing video, the manual says Opteka supply 1 x 335g plus 2 x 90g weights. Compare this to Steadicam Merlin supplying 3 x 57g plus 6 x 114g). Users could find themselves needing to rever to the use of some sort of DIY 1/4" threaded rod and large bumper/fender washers instead of the supplied weights on the lower spar? Over time, i am sure some sort of "Opteka Cookbook" will emerge like the Merlin Cookbook to help users with weight settings for various camera/lens configurations.

    Putting aside the "smoothness" and build quality of the actual pivots, one possible advantage of the Opteka system over the Steadicam Merlin/Smoothee gimbal geometry is that (like the commercial Blackbird and the DIY Wsclater design) Opteka offers a pan wheel for independent locking or dampening of pan axis with the user's thumb. This can assist when tilting, as there is less likelihood of unwanted "pan wobble" being introduced when tilting. Such control relies on silken touch from the operator of course. Tilting when walking with the Smoothee for instance is almost guaranteed to have pan wobbles.

  • In basic operation, as a complete amateur, but with help from a (real) Steadicam vet, I concur, vertically when balanced it holds up, but left and right - there is some movement, but that may be my utter noobness with the operation - as I said bought it for a laugh!

  • """"Tilting when walking with the Smoothee for instance is almost guaranteed to have pan wobbles."""Not necessarily cp_from oz, the Smoothee also has a thumb and/or finger "wheel" > SteadyCam Smoothee and GF2.

    No processing other than 1080>720 for vimeo upload.

  • Same as Merlin and all designs with this build according to my terribly annoying director chum who's owned em all - as initially posted - for a laugh

  • There is a tiny thumb notch in the Smoothee pan wheel that when handled correctly, can prevent pan rotation. Same at the front of the wheel, there is a surface provided to place your forefinger.

    Once these affordable stabilizers are balanced correctly, the rest is up to the skill of the operator.

  • Clarification of definitions re rambo comments on pan wheels: - Smoothee/Merlin does not have a "separate pan wheel". It has one 360 degree surface of contact ( i.e. a collar) around the three dimensional gimbal which directly affects all three axes of pan, tilt, roll. Any effort applied to tilt (however careful) is likely to affect roll and pan. Greater the effort to tilt or angle of tilt, greater the likely effect on other axes. The notch on the front and rear of the Smoothee operating surface (collar) does not provide any mechanical isolation. [The pan wobble effect in a shot is best shown up if you are walking towards a tall street sign, starting flat and attempting to pan up and hold the sign in centre of frame as you walk very close to the sign.] - A truly separate pan wheel is offered on Opteka Steadyvid Pro / Blackbird / Wsclater geometry whereby the pan wheel is mechanically separate from the universal joint which controls tilt and roll. By applying slight or full pressure to the pan wheel, you canmechanically dampen and/or isolate the pan axis.

  • It's very easy to achieve the same result using the "collar" with the Smoothee, similar to what would do with high cost commercial steadycam main shaft, one just has to practice. The trick is to get the rig balanced dynamically as well as statically.

  • I got one to bring with me to places where I'm leery of bringing my Merlin - no sample footage yet, but... Pros: - Has an actual gimbal unlike some other budget stabilizers in which the gimbal is really a ball joint - Forward/back and left/right trim available which makes it easier to balance a DSLR - The camera mounting plate is decent

    Cons: - While the camera plate sort of acts as a quick release plate, it's difficult to place it precisely back on the stabilizer in the same place as one had it last. Also, there is nothing included to mount it on a tripod (similar to what is included with the Merlin) - The counterweights are not nearly flexible enough (heavy, light, superlight). For my GH2 w/ 7-14mm on it, I wasn't able to get things balanced even with the bottom arm extended very far. To get balanced with the heavier weight, I had to nearly completely close the stabilizer and it's hard not to bump it with my arm. I'm planning to get a quick release to mount which should add some weight to the top - that'll probably help. - Gimbal is not as smooth as my Merlin. I might try lubricating it a bit more to see if it gets a little better.

    Overall, it's better than I expected for something that cost less than 1/4 of what my Merlin cost.

  • Following up on rambo's comment on tilting control that *** It's very easy to achieve the same [stable tilting] result using the "collar" with the Smoothee, similar to what would do with high cost commercial steadycam main shaft, one just has to practice.***

    I have to disagree very strongly. The merlin and smoothee due to their light overall weight (i.e. incredibly low inertia) will always be extremely susceptible to pan/roll problems when tilting ... much more so than a heavy full-size commercial rig. The best analogy I have heard is comparing the inertia of a canoe v. that of an ocean liner. The baby stabilisers are the "canoes" ... transferring every little micro jolt and wobble from your fingers into your frame. The separate pan wheel of the Opteka/Blackbird/Wsclater design can significantly reduce the pan/roll problem when tilting if proper discreet pressure is applied to the pan wheel. Thus the Opteka could be well positioned to outgun the Merlin/Smoothee in terms of cost and tilt operating control, and the Blackbird on grounds of cost. (Other factors like gimbal smoothness, trim controls, size, transportability, ease of balance are obviously still to be considered.)

  • Video posted by Oedipax (above) was done on older model Opteka Steadyvid "EX" not new "Pro" as can be seen from shadows of rig at 00:17 and 01:36 showing flat construction of spars, not rounded.

  • @cp_from_oz , just want to clarify, the "pan wheels" you are talking about is the "thumb stabilizer" of first video @ 3:19?

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