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On-camera monitors

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Chris Poisson
On-camera monitors
on Sep 24, 2007 at 12:16:05 pm

There are a dozen or more pages on LCDs on B&H's website, about a third of which are 7" or less, many suited for on-camera use for a Canon A1.

I have a halfway decent 7" monitor that cost around 300 bucks, but it doesn't seem sharp enough for critical focus, which is my main concern. On the other hand, if money was no object, I'd just shut up and drop the $2700 for the Panasonic, but I can't do that.

Buying a monitor online is really tough, one of those things you have to try before you buy, but I can't do that either. So, I've narrowed my choice down to 3 or 4, and I'm hoping someone who has seen these can tell me how they work.

1. Ikan 7" the one for $795, claims to be HD.

2. Nebtek NEB58 Pro XL widescreen. Around $950. This is really cool as it has a Canon battery pack on it.

3. Tote Vision LCD 703. Around $626. This is even cooler since it has component in, but no H&V flip switch like the Nebtek. Plus no battery pack.

4. Marshall V-R70P-HDA. This pushes my budget limit at over $1300. But it seems moxt professional, component in, but I don't think it has an H&V flip.

Anybody have experience with or seen any of these working?

Have a wonderful day.

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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: On-camera monitors
on Sep 24, 2007 at 1:34:34 pm

Sorry to rain on your parade, but this post is not going to make you happy...

This has been discussed here before.... look VERY carefully at the technical specs. There are a lot of little (7" or so) TTF LCD monitors that say they are HD or "high definition."

What almost ALL of these actually are, are more or less standard-def monitors that will TAKE an HD signal and display it. However, their RESOLUTION is not HD by a long shot.

That Ikan monitor, for example (if I am looking at the right one), claims to be HD, but look at the specs and you'll see it's resolution is really just 800x480.

The Nebtek lists it's resoltuion as 1200 x 234 (that's gotta be a mistake) but it's not really HD either.

The Tote Vision's resolution is 800x480. Not HD.

The Marshall, also 800x480.

The sad thing is although all of these monitors at some point call themselves "HD," none of them actually are. Not by a long shot.

In short, they may have great-looking pictures but none of these monitors is going to be good enough for HD use IF you want to use it for critical focus. Something that looks razor sharp in them might turn out to be very soft indeed. If you happen to be shooting with a DoF converter and/or cine lenses where your depth of field is very narrow, these will be especially useless.

Sadly, unless something has come out in the last very few months that I know about, there really just aren't any small budget-priced TTF monitors that are true HD. The "industry standard" is the little Astro monitors, which are great and a legitimate 1080 lines... but they are roughly the price of a good used Buick (probably around $6000 these days). I think there is one other manufacturer as well, whose name escapes me, but their prices are up there with the Astros as well.

I'm hoping this changes soon... I myself would love some lower cost HD on-camera monitoring. Last year Sanyo announced development of a 7.1" 1080 line monitor for use in auto headrests, etc., for HDDVD and Blu-Ray players, so the price is expected to be more reasonable... but it is not available yet.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Chris Poisson
Re: On-camera monitors
on Sep 24, 2007 at 1:59:24 pm

Hey Todd,

Thanks for the quick answer, a lot to mull over.

Have a wonderful day.

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