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on February 26, 2012
-----OLD (March 2012) ---------------
Bottom line: you get what you pay for.
It's 8 times cheaper than a Steadicam Merlin, but does it perform 1/8th of the shot quality?
Also, you can DIY/make your own for about $15, and it just might perform the same if not better.
Watch my video review to see a comprehensive review: assembly, balancing, pros and cons, and test footage/side-by-side.

-----------UPDATED PRODUCT, UPDATED REVIEW & VIDEO (March 2013)------------------
This the updated model of the MidX Stabilizer. The major upgrades include:

- increased range in gimbal
- smoother / more fluid gimbal
(note: I learned that a drop of WD40 will help motion)
- included 2 new washers, 1 fiber washer & 1 metal washer

Overall, I give the MidX an A-. The improvements they made on this new model are great advancements and should produce great results with the right camera gear on-top matched with practice and skill.

Maximum payload of the MidX is 2lbs, and with my small D5000 and light kit lens, I was at 1.8lbs. (Pushing it.) For my production needs, I need to use my full frame camera, 850 grams, plus my wide angle lens adds 470g, totaling 1320g (2.91lbs). Too much weight for this system, but I look forward to testing out Lensse's DSLRpro stabilizer which supports up to 5.5lbs.
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on January 10, 2012
This thing is awesome, and before you look at any low star reviews about this consider the following:

No matter how much money you dish out on steadicams, they wont work perfectly unless you tinker around and make it to your camera specs. Don't expect to buy this, throw your camera on and be steady! It doesn't work like that.

Now this product is rated for up to 2 pounds, I have a 2.6 lbs setup of a canon T2i with a Zoom H4n mounted on top. The weights provided didn't counterweight the rig enough so it flew all over and didn't work. But since my setups so heavy, i just added another pound and a half or so to the counterweights and voila, works like a charm. I'm pretty sure you need to have equal weight distribution on the camera and the counterweights.

Best one to get for this price, the gimbal is surprisingly smooth, and the whole thing feels very durable and sturdy. The hand grip is also very well designed and comfortable to hold.

Tips for use:

- When camera leans forward during use, move your camera back on the mount; and vice versa.
- If it tilts to one side or the other, move the arm which holds the counterweights towards the opposite side of where it leans towards.
- When trying to figure the counterweights, put your entire camera setup on the steadicam. Put the steadicam through a coat hanger so that it hangs on the coat hanger, and add/remove counterweights until you have perfect balance. Just be careful that it doesn't slide off!
- You can find thick washers at hardware stores, or i first used ankle weights for working as extra counterweights.
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on February 29, 2012
I ordered this thinking it would be a cheap alternative so that I could get away with having to buy a glidecam or whatever else for $300+. I used it for a few days and it's actually fairly easy to get a somewhat desired result. Side sway is a problem but if you know how to move with it it works.

The huge problem came when I mounted the screw on the bottom to a tripod mount. I had my Olympus epl1 on the steady cam. I figured to get a little bit more stability and height I could put the steadicam on my tripod via the tripod mounting system. I picked the tripod up and moved around my little room when all of a sudden the Lennse system fell off of the tripod. I thought that maybe I didn't lock the mount down successfully but when I looked the bottom piece that hold the screw mount on the Lensse system fell apart. The bottom is just a barely glued on cap piece. So the weight of the camera (olympus epl1 and kit lens...a light camera) made the cap separate from the handle.

That should not happen! I assumed that the handle was all one piece. So if you are going to put this system on a tripod or any screw in system my guess is that it will fail. There was barely any glue holding that cap on the bottom. I should have taken pictures but I've already packed it up to be returned.

I'm so very lucky that I didn't try to test this out with my 5dii or my 60d or I'd have a broken camera/lens. The bow on the Lensse system hit the hardwood floor first and I don't think the camera came in contact with the floor. However, if I had a heavier camera on the stabilizer it would have definitely messed something up. It fell from about shoulder height as I leaned the tripod forward and up to get a different perspective.

If you are just going to handhold this system exclusively then maybe it will work for you. Lennse should redesign handle so it is one piece instead of a hallow handle with a cap on the end. They should know that the screw adapter is going to bear all the weight if you are wanting to lean it forward/backwards and with the design it WILL fail.
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on May 20, 2011
We use this excellent piece of indie equipment with compact camcorders and DSLR's. An added Manfrotto quick release plate (323) makes it easy to move the camera from MidX to tripod, or to other rigging equipment. As soon as you understand how to balance your camera, using the sliding camera mount and the swivel-able counterweight, it's as easy as having the runner get you a double latte. ;o)

The MidX is well designed and made with durable, yet light materials. The black finish is quite strong and everything feels roadworthy. An excellent tool to create smooth moving shots, even while running, for those who can use their body as an advanced extension of their own eyes and the camera. The results can be really stunning, thanks to the relatively small investment it takes to get this great tool.

The Lensse MidX is a recommended piece of equipment for the independent filmmaker on a budget.

By the way, our only wish is a bag or case to transport the MidX in, to and from locations. Any suggestion would be welcome.
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on July 8, 2011
I will write a more detailed review soon, but out of the box, within 30 minutes I was running around my back yard with the Lensse steadicam , and it worked fantastic.
It is obvious that it cannot accommodate a camera more than 2-2 1/4 pounds so don't bother if you have a heavier camera. For those of you who can't get it to balance with
a camera that is 2 pounds or less I suggest you exercise some patience before bashing this product. Sure it's not high quality like a $900 manfrotto, but come on give it a break.Lensse MidX Camera Stabilizer Steady Cam steadicam DSLR Camcorder
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on March 6, 2012
My Lensse MidX Pro came yesterday - took 10 minutes to set up and balance using my Lumix GH-2 and the standard kit lens (14-42mm or equivalent to a full frame 28-84mm lens). I quickly flew it through the house with great results - exactly as I had hoped for.

I then used my C-mount Tamron 4-12mm lens. This is a tiny lens that can be used with the micro four thirds cameras like the GH-2 using the in-camera Extended Tele convert (ETC) mode which gives about a 21mm full frame equivalent lens.

This one was tougher to balance because the lens is so small and the GH-2 is already light. The solution was to add a weight to the handle arm's top bracket (at back) and then use a small weight at the bottom and add several small metal washers (not included, grabbed them from my shop).

What works for me in balancing is:
1) Add one of the included weights to the bottom and then move the camera on the mount forward or backwards to get a rough balance point so that the camera is not tipping downward (camera is too far forward) or up (camera is too far rearward). If you added a weight to the top (back) mount, you may have to adjust the horizontal rod, pushing it rearward by a little, and then also re-adjust the camera location. Only move the camera about 1 mm at a time. Tiny movements can make big changes to the balance point.

2) Adjust the bottom bracket by twisting to one side or the other to get a rough left and right balance (so the camera is horizontal left to right).

3) Hold the Lensse by the handle and move your hand back and forth, left to right. If the camera and bottom sway in and out, you have the wrong amount of weight on the bottom - and you are not balanced yet. Add or subtract weights on the bottom until you can move the unit left and right without sway.

4) Keep a stash of small metal washers (mine are 1" or so in size) as they help fine tune the weight and balance.

Once you've figured out balance points and weights for a given lens, write down what you did, Having a log makes it easy to set up the Lensse with different lenses.

I left my camera strap on my camera and sort of wound it around the camera. While very light, this gave another bit of weight shift to make very minor corrections.

Dynamic stabilizers like this require that everything be balanced. If the system is swaying back and forth, you need to work on the balance some more!
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on March 16, 2012
I'll make it simple: most of these Merlin-style stabilizers work the same way, but the difference in quality depends on two critical things: 1. The gimbal used and 2. The way to adjust the left-to-right balance. And these are precisely the areas where this product suffers.

The Gimbal: it is not a real gimbal (of the universal connector type), it's more like a very small brass ballhead that has a LOT of friction and very limited movement. That makes this stabilizer essentially useless.

Side-to-side balancing is achieved by twisting the weight attachment at the bottom, so it will be a complete pain in the neck to adjust with the precision that a stabilizer requires. The knob holding the weight in place is not very strong, so it easily gets out of position. The more expensive units (like the Merlin) balance at the top, by moving the base of the camera.

I'm returning mine - it just doesn't do the job.
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on October 25, 2012
The Lensse MidX is one of many camera stabilizers built similar in concept to a Merlin, but sold at a lower price. Let me be clear. This is NOT a Merlin. The balance is achieved with a standard tripod mounting screw with a large comfortable knob to make it easy to tighten and loosen by hand. In fact, the whole affair is designed for setup and takedown without tools or damage to your fingers (unlike certain competitors). Instead of a Merlin style mounting plate, you simply slide the camera forward or backward until you find the center of gravity. While this sounds simple, a camera stabilizer is very delicately balanced such that even a 3 gram difference in weight is enough to make a difference. So getting the camera balanced is the tricky part. The left-right balance is adjusted by moving the counterweight at the bottom. You can easily see how this would work from the pictures, so I will not go into detail. It suffers the same difficulties mentioned above.

The MidX does not have a level, but, assuming you are good enough videographer to be looking at stabilizers, you probably have a decent eye and can figure it out. So, up to this point, it is similar to a Merlin, costs about $600 less, and lacks a few of the refinements of the big name in small stabilizers. But, and this is the big one, it is on a ball and socket joint, not a gimbal. While flinching at the high price of the Tiffen Merlin, I considered a DIY version on a ball and socket joint. This does not move as freely as a true gimbal, or even a good universal joint such as on the U3X Longbow stabilizer. The heavier your camera gets, the worse the effect. While the unit is rated to two pounds, I tried a Nikon D7000 with a 50mm f1.8 lens and could not advise this setup, which was slightly under the 2 pound weight limit. I also tried a Canon HF M41, where I got something more tolerable. The footage was much better than handheld, but it was not the liquid smoothness you see from high end stabilizers. Also note that Lensse advises you lubricate the ball and socket joint with WD40 from time to time, and I did this for my testing.

So, if you are using a compact camcorder like all the consumer grade models today, or perhaps an iPhone on a tripod mount, this will serve you better than handheld footage for a reasonable price. It is also a good way to practice, as there is a fair bit of skill in getting good stable footage. It is light weight and not terribly difficult to set up. It is not a bad product by any means. It is just one you are very likely to outgrow if you use it a lot.
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on January 22, 2012
So, this is a very well built piece of equipment, very light, easy to assemble, etc.

That said, it is pretty worthless for smoothing your steps. The handle adjusts nicely for horizontal movements, but there is absolutely no adjustment for rising and falling movements. You have to walk veeeerrry slowly with bent knees in a gliding motion. Through trial and error, I found that the lighter the weights, the less the rocking your steps will cause and walking backwards gives you a smoother image that walking forwards.

If your camera moves are basically static, i.e. you're standing in one place and just want to pan, this is a great, inexpensive option. But if you want to do any tracking or following, this is not what you're looking for.
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on October 5, 2011
This is a pretty decent product and you can't beast the price. I use it with my Panasonic SD90 HD Camcorder. It's been very difficult to get it just right and perfectly balanced. The directions are pretty skimpy so i actually watched a YouTube video for a similar product from another company and got the gist of things that way. All in all though the price was right and it is built well and I'm sure once I get the balancing act just right it'll be a great tool.
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