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Upgrading Steadicam Mini

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#1 Surinder Singh001

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 07:37 PM

Hi all.

I purchased a Steadicam Mini well over 10 years ago. Unfortunately I had a serious road traffic accident and sustained a spinal injury very shortly after acquiring my rig.

I have not used my Steadicam for many years. Only just getting back into using it again now. I think I could do with updating the arm. I may need to look at a new vest too as the mounting on the newer rigs have a different fitting. My current Mini vest also has a broken buckle to be replaced. I'm primarily using DSLR's.

Any suggestions and advice would be very much appreciated.
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#2 Mark Schlicher

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 12:27 AM

The mini arm was...not good. It WILL hold you back as you return to operating. Today's lightweight Tiffen rigs are MUCH better.

The mini as you may know, was replaced by the original Flyer, and then by the Flyer LE, and finally by the Scout and Zephyr.

The mini's sled was very similar to the original Flyer sled, but with a different gimbal clamp and handle.
The mini's vest is essentially the Flyer (original)vest, but the Flyer vest was updated with a socket block that is similar to (but smaller than) big rig socket blocks.

If you tried to buy Flyer parts to upgrade your mini you may not be able to buy them, and if you could, the price I bet would be more than buying a used Flyer.

For $4000 or so you can find a used first gen Flyer, which will be a significant upgrade for you and very sufficient for most DSLR setups. Some of your mini parts (vest parts and dovetail plate mainly) will be compatible and you could keep as backups.

For a little more you could get a used Flyer LE or a new Scout. Heavier payload (20lb) and newer technology--carbon fiber extendable post, primarily. The scout is an even-more-improved sled with essentially the same vest and arm as the Flyer LE. None of the parts of either of these rigs (except the camera dovetail and maybe one or two parts from the vest) will be interchangable with the mini.

The Zephyr can be thought of as a bulked-up Flyer LE or Scout with an improved bottom spar, 25 lb payload, and HD upgradability built-in.

You could buy a Pilot for less but will be even more limited on payload, and the vest is a real step backwards.

Hope this helps...
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#3 Surinder Singh001

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 06:13 AM

Thank you very much for your reply Mark.

I will follow your advice and look into a Zephyr. I will sometimes need to mount heavier cameras like the Scarlet, Sony f3 and may be the new Canon C300 when it arrives. I also will be adding a Teradek Cube and a Hocus Focus for remote focusing and occasional iris pulls. Taking all this into consideration along with your advise the Zephyr seems like a logical choice.

In the meantime I will continue to use the Mini to practice, get back into shape and earn a few £ to fund my upgrade :)

I used the Mini for a job recently with a Sony F3, Arri 16mm ultra prime lens and a Hocus Focus unit. It was a bit of a struggle as the arm was at the limit of it's capacity. I just about got the job done.

I took a few minutes out to follow the link in your signature and looked at some of your work. It was very good and inspiring. I hope I can get back into shape and someday achieve results similar to yours.
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