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Customer Reviews: 3
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Helpful Votes: 54

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Mike W RSS Feed (Bellevue, WA)

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Steadicam Professional Video Stabilizers Merlin 2
Steadicam Professional Video Stabilizers Merlin 2
Offered by Kellards
Price: $399.00
21 used & new from $345.99

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Has a major design flaw, December 9, 2012
The engineering and construction of the device are superb. But the design of the device has a severe flaw.

The flaw: Adjusting the bottom arm up and down changes the front/back weight distribution.

This is why it is so difficult to balance this stabilizer compared to many others. The user will adjust the bottom arm up and down to change the top/bottom balance, but in doing so will also change the front/back balance. This makes the balancing efforts into a very long and difficult iterative process of needing to consider more than just the one factor (top/bottom balance) that the user is trying to adjust. I understand that other designs may have their front/back balance altered slightly by raising the lower weights straight up and down, depending on how the center of gravity of the camera/lens aligns with the entire system. But the design of the Merlin 2 has maximized this difficulty.

Additionally, the product does not seem to be made for DSLR's, despite Tiffen's claims to the contrary. Notice that the design of this product has few differences with the design of the original Merlin. The materials and construction may have been improved, but the design is largely the same. With a good DSLR and lens, the center of gravity is too far forward and off to one side when compared to the camcorders that the Merlin was designed for.

I would not recommend this product for prosumer/pro DSLRs and lenses. It truly does not seem to be designed for that task.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 4, 2014 12:54 AM PDT

Spyder 3 Elite
Spyder 3 Elite
3 used & new from $129.00

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad software renders the device useless, October 1, 2008
The device gives consistent readings. But the software that comes with it is so poorly designed, and so buggy, that it makes the product completely worthless.

All of my monitor calibrations would come out very red in the highlights, and very green in the mid-tones. I verified this by using the "colorimeter" tool in the software, that allows for entering RGB values and obtaining readings. It confirmed what my eyes were telling me. Even immediately after color calibration, the resulting color profile was highly inaccurate. Obviously, the automatic calibration process was very buggy.

I tried to adjust the color curves target, to get a more accurate result. But bugs prevented me from doing that, as well. The help document states that one can click the "preview" checkbox to see the changes as one makes the adjustments. But there was no "preview" checkbox! I did see a preview as I adjusted the blue curve, but there was none as I adjusted the red and green curves. Then when I did not like the result, I hit the "cancel" button. But the cancel button does not work. The changes I made stayed, until I selected a pre-set color curve.

So I tried using the "colorimeter" tool in the software to set the calibration manually. Even this was buggy. Some color spaces (such as lab) have positive and negative possible values. But the "colorimeter" tool does not tell you if the result was positive or negative. When you have the value close to zero, you must experiment back and forth to see if you are off slightly by a positive number, or off slightly by a negative number. This makes using the tool extremely frustrating and time consuming.

Various other bugs exist. For example, the "X" in the window of the main application does not function. It does not close the application. One must choose "File" and "Quit" to exit. There are places where I accidentally started the wrong wizard, but the "back" button did not work. I was unable to close it from there, and had to open up the Windows Task Manager to kill the process. There are numerous factual, spelling, and grammatical errors in the help file.

It is inexcusable that a company would ship a product with software this bad. It is easily one of the buggiest software products I have ever used. It is so buggy, it makes the device largely unusable.

This product is not able to function enough to provide me any value.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 17, 2009 5:41 PM PST

The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book: The Complete Guide for Photographers
by Martin Evening
Edition: Paperback
121 used & new from $0.01

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have seen on digital photography editing, August 23, 2008
I have a common complaint about most Photoshop and Lightroom books: they all go over the same basic information. Information that I have already learned by myself simply by experimenting with the software. How many times can people write the same basic-to-intermediate information on how to organize files, set white balance, adjust contrast, etc.? I am already an intermediate Photoshop and Lightroom user, so most books I have found do not offer enough new knowledge to make them worth the investment.

But Martin's book is different. In this book, I have been able to find detailed and advanced information that I have been unable to find in many other books. Everything I can think of in Adobe Lightroom 2 is clearly and deeply explained in sufficient detail to obtain the knowledge necessary to use the application at an advanced level.

Along with having the knowledge, the book does an outstanding job of communicating the knowledge. All information is discussed in full detail, with complete explanations of what the feature does, and detailed explanations of every step in the process of using the feature. There is never a feeling that some small amount of information was left out between the steps. Nothing seems to be "glossed over" as the explanations move from one step to the next. Additionally, the examples are detailed with lots of photos, with many of the examples having a photo for every step in the process of using the tool.

This review might not be useful to some if I don't find at least one thing to be less-than-ecstatic about. I can say that if you know absolutely nothing about Lightroom, are lost with it, and are looking for a very easy and basic book to get you started, this may not be the book for you. Martin's book is nearly 600 pages of deep detail. It may be a bit overwhelming if one is looking for an easy to read book on the basics. But if that is the case, I would recommend buying this book along with a more easy and high-level book on the basics. That would be a great pairing for someone who is just starting Lightroom, but is planning on becoming an advanced user.

If you would like to see some examples on the author's writing technique, he has written numerous articles on the Internet. Simply search for his name in an Internet search engine, and you will find some of the articles he has written. This can be useful if you wish to see an author's writing style before making a purchase.

If becoming an advanced Lightroom user is your goal, you owe it to yourself to get this book.

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