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salim

D810 external monitor/recorder recommendations?

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Hi all - 

I shot one cover music video with my D810 and Sigma 50/1.4 art. I was very impressed with the colors. I thought it was just me, but then I read other reviews (including some comments on this site) and it looks I'm not alone. However, I had a hard time with the focusing. Especially shooting at 1.4

So I want to know what you recommend for an external monitor. I'm hoping a larger/sharper monitor or focus peaking might make keeping focus during the capturing much easier and reliable. 

I'm looking at Atomos Blade 5". I like the size...I can attach it to my gimbal handle. And shoot with the gimbal and ensure I'm keeping my focus distance.

So here are my thoughts/questions: 

  1. Do I need the external recording? Does the 422 ProRes vs 420 make a big difference?
  2. I like the compactness of 5" because I think it'll be easier to manage connecting it to my gimbal handle or on the hotshoe. But should I be thinking 7"? 
  3. Should I just get an external monitor, that might be lighter and cheaper and use it for false color and focus peaking? 
  4. Should I spend more and get a future proof recorder that does 4K? I might get a A7S or A7SII in the future?
  5. For the future-proof 4k recording are there other options than the Atomos? 

Thanks in advance! 

 

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

I am buying a SmallHD Focus myself. I want a 5" small and light, but other monitors ain't very bright on sunny days (and we got a lot of those here!), so I assume this one for a very good company will be sufficient. Another good, cheaper one, is the Ikan 5" 1080p (Focus is 720p), that accepts 4K and has touch screen functionalities too, and is like 299$ in US, but it seems flimsy.

I have mixed feelings about monitors/recorders. I would take the monitor for monitoring, but I am not very experienced with those. The Blackmagic 5" seems a worst option than the Focus, so I would get the SmallHD.

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interesting, but I meant this one https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1261643-REG/ikan_dh5e_5_signal_support.html the one above seems like a 7" one.

Honestly, I was looking for something at the 500$ segment most which could be very small and light, so a 5"  and the difference in brightness is huge vs the Focus. You should check the Ikan thought, if it enough for you, that 299$ price is excellent; in Europe it is still around 500euros (so, it is a no brainer to go for the Focus). I can get an Ikan for 300euros slightly used (maybe used once or twice) and I am still thinking about it, but it seems to me the Focus is a better option.

(I hate those Secced tripods by the way, I have seen a lot failing terribly through the years, and the sound man needs an indoors mic!)

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On 12/1/2017 at 3:27 PM, Kisaha said:

interesting, but I meant this one https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1261643-REG/ikan_dh5e_5_signal_support.html the one above seems like a 7" one.

Honestly, I was looking for something at the 500$ segment most which could be very small and light, so a 5"  and the difference in brightness is huge vs the Focus. You should check the Ikan thought, if it enough for you, that 299$ price is excellent; in Europe it is still around 500euros (so, it is a no brainer to go for the Focus). I can get an Ikan for 300euros slightly used (maybe used once or twice) and I am still thinking about it, but it seems to me the Focus is a better option.

(I hate those Secced tripods by the way, I have seen a lot failing terribly through the years, and the sound man needs an indoors mic!)

Thanks! Actually my first link had the same model, https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1261643-REG/ikan_dh5e_5_signal_support.html

So looks like we're talking about the same thing. 
So I'm getting two different feedback. Some people are telling me, it's better to go 7" and some are telling me for mobility better to go 5". 

If I had the time I would try each of them by renting or something, I guess. 

 

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Ok!I saw the Antos video I guessed it was the same! Well, someone must have a 7" monitor for you to try. Everyone has one! For me it isn't (and not "ain't") even close. 5"! 

When I am working with bigger cameras/rigs, the C300mkII usually, a 7" is alright, but for C100mkII/mirrorless/dSLR the 5" is perfect. Actually a 5.5" would be ideal (I like this dimension for mobile phones).

When you have a worst monitor, then the inches play some role (visibility purposes), but with a better 5" that is not the case. Anyway, that is a personal preference.

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Been talking to Salim a bit on PM about the Atomos I have.  The more I think about it, the more I believe he has adequate equipment for his shoot.  An external monitor may help with getting shallow focus, but it will  will create a host of other problems.  

First, shallow focus: I'm sure others have more experience than me here.  I find it difficult enough in photography.  In video?  Unless the person is very still, shallow focus is almost impossible to track.   When I see it attempted on TV there's always a second or two when the subject gets out of focus (and that's after they've picked the best clip from a bunch of footage).  What I find difficult about shallow focus in a moving object is determining the direction of someone moving from a 2-dimensional screen.  Having stereoscopic vision allows us to make the determination, somewhat. A monitor is like looking at the scene with one eye. So, though I can see when the focus pixels fire on the screen, getting them back once the subject moves, that's a challenge unless I know the marks they subject is going for.  Generally I don't.  So I can't quickly figure out which direction the subject is moving. Camera autofocus doesn't have some magic in this AFAIK.  That's why Canon came out with new STM lenses for the dual pixel (which have special, quiet, focusing micro motors).  I believe the camera essentially focus hunts back and forth, but so quickly that you don't notice it.   This is the same reason Nikon struggles in video focus.  The autofocus system is designed to find focus as quickly as possible, for the photo, not keep in focus once it's there.

So the question, often posed here on EOSHD, is, can you manually focus as well with a Nikon say, as Canon's computer can with its DPAF, or even the new Sony cameras?  My 2-cents is, not any more.  I either use DPAF or I zone focus.  

All that means an external monitor, to me, has marginal benefits over either the focus peaking on the camera, a magnifier on the back LCD.  Salim might be better putting in time practicing with what he has with talent that is given marks to hit.  The A6000 has very good autofocus with the 35/1.8.  

The reason I stopped using the Atomos is mounting it puts you between a rock and a hard place.  You with use a small swivel, which due to the leverage of the screen, always threatens to come lose and the monitor crashing down onto the camera, or you use a cage where now you have a big rig that will CERTAINLY draw attention in the tube, or any place where cameras are not welcome.  The cable to the camera adds huge mental stress to me, at any rate.  Then there are the batteries.   Like light rays, every additional wire or battery you add to your rig exponentially raises the risk of some failure if not your anxiety.  That why such setups need a crew.  You need to delegate those worries.

Some proof to what I'm saying is I never see youTube videos with a single shooter using an external monitor.  It's always a crew of some sort.  Once you get into that, then you really have to balance your investment in the monitor with everything else.  And if you have a crew, my guess is the talent will want to put time into learning their marks so as not to get cold looks at the evening post party ;)

 

 

 

 

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That is why the Focus is a brilliant option. It is meant to be used by single shooters. Not only that, but from its own battery, you can power your camera (there are dedicated bundles officially, by SmallHD for most cameras. I have ordered the GH5 one, even though I do not have one, everyone around me seems to getting, or have one, so there are plenty of cases that this may help somehow, and it is only 100$ more).

Blackmagic Video assist 5"  is 143x90x30.5 and 362and the Focus is 133x83x19mm and 106gr, do you get the point here?

As about the focusing, people were focusing without Canon Dual Pixel for 100 years, and they did fine. I am a big fun of Canon, and nothing is even close right now, but you can do great things manual, that not even Canon can. Recently I was doing focus pulling on a feature documentary, Canon C300mkII and Zeiss/Arri lenses, most of the times I was doing everything by the eye looking through a TV Logic 7" on the camera rig, which is worst in daylight than the Focus (and cost a few times more). The problem here, is most people using photographic lenses, which are not right for our job. That is another issue though.

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@maxotics - thanks for the wonderful reply as well as to our PMs on this topic. You've helped me a lot about how to think about my approach. 

I'm looking and reading the reviews of the 35/1.8 oss. That might be an option. I'm looking at if the AF on A6000 is good or if I should be thinking about A6300/A6500. Maybe I shoot in 4k and downsize to 1080 in post for optimal quality and maybe mix cuts with A6000 as my B camera or something. 

So far I have not found any good review on 35/1.8. Mostly looking to know how well the OSS works for handheld work. And also if there is a compound results of combing the 6500 IBIS with OSS. Also how well the AF works.

@Kisaha I want to mostly shoot from a gimbal. So need the AF. If the IBIS or OIS + IBIS was like olympus maybe I could manually focus and not worry about the gimbal. I would actually prefer that. Just handhold something. Carry around an easy gear and just shoot. I need to steal some shots, that would be the ideal setup. Actually it would be by optimal dream. An APSC camera with olympus level IBIS/OIS  smoothness. 

 

I'm posting all the reviews that I have found useful. So if anyone else lands here, can save some time: 

 

6500 steady shot on gimbal + touch focus using the gimbal. I really like this setup. Minus the issues with screen darkness: 

 

6500 on gimbal vs 6300 on gimbal. Looks the IBIS does add some incremental smoothness:

 

 

 

Max Yurev review of SmallHD 5" model

 

 

 

 

That being said, I was looking at Max's Facebook group regarding A7Riii and his initial test shows no dimming for the A7Riii screen during video work.  I'm not ready to spend $3200 yet and would rather wait to see what Panasonic and Fuji have planned out. But If there is a bright screen and good IBIS, that could make this a dream camera that I can use both for photography and my video work. 

Max was asking for questions on what to test and show on his next review video. And I listed some of my questions including low light AF, IBIS and screen brightness to test. 

 

Anyways. So I guess...this is where I'm now...

A6000 with the 19/2.8 sigma (it worked fine for my last shoot) and the 35/1.8. 

OR

Get the A6500

 

I was also thrown a big curveball and suggested to look at the Fuji Xt20 and the kit lens(18-55) for $1100 

 

I'll keep you guys posted and thanks again :)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 12/2/2017 at 12:08 PM, salim said:

'm guess this is the ikan you're recommending?  ikan 5"

I also found this article on Tom Antos blog:   MOST AFFORDABLE BRIGHT ON-CAMERA MONITOR WITH PRO FEATURES


No waveforms.
No SDI. 

Kinda lacking in the "pro features department" :-/

On 12/3/2017 at 3:58 PM, salim said:

So I'm getting two different feedback. Some people are telling me, it's better to go 7" and some are telling me for mobility better to go 5". 

 

Very rough rule of thumb to consider:

AC => use 7 inch (or bigger)
Op => use 5 inch (or smaller)

Edit: 

Hmmm... been looking into this out of curiosity, and the 5.7" HDMI monitor which is the Feelworld F570 is very tempting.  Yes, it is very bare bones, and lacks features I wish it had, but at only US$190 with free shipping, it looks like quite the steal!

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34 minutes ago, IronFilm said:


No waveforms.
No SDI. 

Kinda lacking in the "pro features department" :-/

Very rough rule of thumb to consider:

AC => use 7 inch (or bigger)
Op => use 5 inch (or smaller)

Great formula. 

I don't need SDI and any camera I'm looking at for this project or foreseeable projects wont have SDI. At that point, I'll probably need something which also handles external recording. So Ii guess I'm okay with no SDI. But the waveform is a bummer. So that might be a deal breaker. The way I look at it, I pay few $100 more and I save time in post. 

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3 hours ago, salim said:

Great formula. 

I don't need SDI and any camera I'm looking at for this project or foreseeable projects wont have SDI. At that point, I'll probably need something which also handles external recording. So Ii guess I'm okay with no SDI. But the waveform is a bummer. So that might be a deal breaker. The way I look at it, I pay few $100 more and I save time in post. 

As an a6500 / a6300 / a600 user, a few things to think about:

If you get an a6500 / a6300, then I would suggest that you strongly think about getting an a6000 as well as a B camera / 1080p camera. The 1080p out of the a6000 is better than that of the 1080p our of the a6300 / a6500 (I am working on a comparison video on this).

Unfortunately the a6000 only does 1080p at 60fps, so in case you need 120fps, you would have to use the 1080p of the a6300 / a6500 (or a different camera).

The 4K of the a6300 / a6500 is really gorgeous.  the problems are the screen dims so you have to be good at shooting blind, it tends to overheat (a6500 is better at refraining from overheating), and the rolling shutter.

I prefer the colors of EOSHD Pro Color profile (I just have the original version... was there a version 2? I know I don't have version 3).

But I actually might like Dom Blond's profiles as well (uses Cine 1 and Cine 4 Gammas). I encourage you to look them up on youtube.

The AF of the a6300 / a6500 is much better than that of the a6000, espescially with adapted lenses. The Sigma 19, 30, and 60 f/2.8 primes are sharp but they don't take advantage of the full autofocus functions of the a6300 / a6500.

I think there is a subtle improvement in stabilization when using my a6500 with IBIS on the crane compared to using the a6300 (or a6000) with no IBIS (only lens-based OSS) on the crane when walking. If I am using my crane and PANNING, I prefer to turn stabilization off... at least, that is how I feel about it today. Tomorrow I might find that having stabilization on when panning using the crane is better. We shall see.

And if you think that you are going to be using some cheap manual focus primes than the a6500 is the way to go because of the IBIS. The other route might be an MC-11 adapter and a couple of Canon EF lenses or Sigma for canon lenses (people love the 18-35 f/1.8 on an a6500). 

The a6300 and a6500 are really excellent stills cameras, by the way. The a6000 is no slouch at stills, either, to be honest. I prefer the a6500 the most but, of course, it is the most expensive. The IBIS is not bad (for stills). I was able to shoot some clean stills with my 85mm lens on my a6500 around 1/20th of a second (holding my breath, very GENTLY pressing the shutter button, while leaning against a wall for stability). Since 85mm on crop sensor is around 130 on full frame, that is around three stops of IBIS functionality for stills in the real world (if you are very careful).

I have a D750 and since I NEVER used the viewfinder (neither on my Nikon bodies nor on my Sony bodies), the LiveView AF of the D750 can't keep up with that of the a6500 / a6300 (or even a6000).

Having said all that, the a6500 is not for everyone. Be sure to re-read the negatives I listed above.

As Max Yurev said in one of his videos, for MOST people the Panasonic G85 is going to be a better camera than the a6500. 

Hope this helps.

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5 hours ago, salim said:

At that point, I'll probably need something which also handles external recording.

Is it really that important? Unless you get a resolution boost (like with the a7S mk1) or a bit depth boost (such as GH4 or F3), then I don't see the point. Not a compromise I'd lean towards. 

1 hour ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

...snip...


And this why I struggle to see why people would prefer Sony over a Panasonic G80/G85. 
(ditto it kinda applies to the next tier up too, GH5 vs a7S/A7R series)
 

1 hour ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

As Max Yurev said in one of his videos, for MOST people the Panasonic G85 is going to be a better camera than the a6500. 

 

Exactly!

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Quote

If you get an a6500 / a6300, then I would suggest that you strongly think about getting an a6000 as well as a B camera / 1080p camera. The 1080p out of the a6000 is better than that of the 1080p our of the a6300 / a6500 (I am working on a comparison video on this).

I have the A6000 and the Sigma 19/2.8. I also adapted my contax c/y 28/2.8 on it too and used the focus peaking. The 19/2.9 works well. I shot a few video. I wasn't happy after iso 1600 or so. The A6500 AF and some IBIS appeals to me. That's reason I'm thinking about it. And some of the basic focus racking I've seen on youtube with the touch screen actually looked good. 

 

3 hours ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

If I am using my crane and PANNING, I prefer to turn stabilization off... at least, that is how I feel about it today. Tomorrow I might find that having stabilization on when panning using the crane is better. We shall see.

I've seen a few mirrorless cameras that are not good at image stabilization and panning. Probably why many IS lenses from Canon/Nikon have a panning switch option. 

 

3 hours ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

I prefer the colors of EOSHD Pro Color profile (I just have the original version... was there a version 2? I know I don't have version 3).

But I actually might like Dom Blond's profiles as well (uses Cine 1 and Cine 4 Gammas). I encourage you to look them up on youtube.

This is super valuable. Do you use any X-rite or neutral gray color cards to color match?  

3 hours ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

As Max Yurev said in one of his videos, for MOST people the Panasonic G85 is going to be a better camera than the a6500

Yes, I watched t

 

his video. I'm still open to M4/3. I also fly drones so I can use my lens investment on DJI Inspire potentially. But I mostly shoot full frame with camera, and I'm not sure I can get use to such a small sensor, especially in low light high ISO situation and not to mention the look of a larger sensor. And I don't want to do speed boosters, etc. 

 

3 hours ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

The other route might be an MC-11 adapter and a couple of Canon EF lenses or Sigma for canon lenses (people love the 18-35 f/1.8 on an a6500). 

I still have a couple of canon lenses left so I ordered the MC-11 when it was on sale. But I think the 18-35 on A6500 + an adapter seems so big and out of balance on a gimbal. But the images look good. So that could be an option, still. I love prime lenses mostly, but the 18-35 is such a great looking lens from what I've seen. 

 

3 hours ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

The a6300 and a6500 are really excellent stills cameras, by the way. The a6000 is no slouch at stills

A6000 with the 19/2.8 I've taken some nice photos. I either use it as a camera around my neck when we are hiking with my nikon on my backpack and I need something light and easy to access for photos that I don't care that much but I still want a better quality over the iPhone image. 

 

1 hour ago, IronFilm said:

Is it really that important? Unless you get a resolution boost (like with the a7S mk1) or a bit depth boost (such as GH4 or F3), then I don't see the point. Not a compromise I'd lean towards. 

I was thinking something on the Canon cinema line. But I have not research that enough to make an informed comment. My point basically was, I don't see a need for a monitor with SDI. 

 

1 hour ago, IronFilm said:

And this why I struggle to see why people would prefer Sony over a Panasonic G80/G85. 

Mostly low light...I'll be shooting some stuff inside a metro station (which is not allowed). So I need to shoot high iso, wide open for maximum light and just pray the AF will be just fine. 

 

@IronFilmand @Mark Romero 2 - thanks for the great feedback. It's extremely helpful. 

 

I'm including a A6000 - 19/2.8 still. I put this camera around my neck while snowshoeing up very steep climb with full backpack of gear. So it's easy to just pull the camera out of my pocket and take a photo without removing my Nikon D810 out of the backpack. 

 

 

 

 

12440441_10153811518137673_3044405699331718896_o.jpg

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I too am looking for external monitors to replace the external LCD on my camera. I've tried a 7" before which looked great, but it's a bit too clunky. I suppose a 5" will be plenty to judge focus?

Also I'm a bit confused about the price difference between the FOCUS and the SmallHD 502, could anyone clarify what the 502 offers, besides ports & battery slots, that the Focus doesn't?

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8 hours ago, IronFilm said:

And this why I struggle to see why people would prefer Sony over a Panasonic G80/G85. 
(ditto it kinda applies to the next tier up too, GH5 vs a7S/A7R series)

Well... for me personally, it was the low light ability, dynamic range, the 4K image resolution, and the quality / usability as a stills camera (since the VAST majority of my work is stills).

I mentioned that Max had suggested the G85 is a better camera for most people, and certainly I would agree with it. But he also posted a head to head video a year ago (which is when I bought my a6300)

 

And in that head to head video, the a6300 really appealed to me.

Also, Brandon Li uses Sony and his work is beautiful.

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7 hours ago, Mark Romero 2 said:

Well... for me personally, it was the low light ability, dynamic range, the 4K image resolution, and the quality / usability as a stills camera (since the VAST majority of my work is stills).

I mentioned that Max had suggested the G85 is a better camera for most people, and certainly I would agree with it. But he also posted a head to head video a year ago (which is when I bought my a6300)

 

And in that head to head video, the a6300 really appealed to me.

Also, Brandon Li uses Sony and his work is beautiful.

@Mark Romero 2 - to my eyes...the XT-2 was a better camera. Especially in the highlights. The center building is all clipping on every camera, except the Xt-2.  At the same time the midtowns on Xt-2 seem lower by 1/2 to 1 stop. So maybe the ISOs are not the same between these cameras. But purely on highlights, I would pick the XT-2

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On 12/6/2017 at 10:23 PM, salim said:

Mostly low light...I'll be shooting some stuff inside a metro station (which is not allowed). So I need to shoot high iso, wide open for maximum light and just pray the AF will be just fine. 

 


That certainly is not the kind of "low light" scenario where a GH5/G80/etc would be unacceptable. 

23 hours ago, sondreg said:

I too am looking for external monitors to replace the external LCD on my camera. I've tried a 7" before which looked great, but it's a bit too clunky. I suppose a 5" will be plenty to judge focus?


Check out the Feelworld F570 (or F550)

5" is ok ish for pulling focus, but bigger is better. 

This is why 7" or large is ideal for a 1st AC. 

While 5" ish or less is ideal for a cam op. 

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I say try for yourself. For me a 7" monitor for a dSLR/mirrorless rig is overkill. Even on a smaller C100/FS5/JVC LS300 setup 7" is overkill.

If you have a bigger camera/production, then a Feelworld monitor is silly. Imagine Feelworld quality when I did that documentary, when the camera and lenses were more than 100.000euros.

I was the one linked the F550/F570 monitors, but just if anyone needs absolutely the minimum, on the other hand, it is just a good (or bad) old Feelworld, on a better chassis.

One way or another, cheap monitors will disappoint you. Ask the people here how many Freeworld/Lilliput/Whatnot have on their closets. I am waiting for my Focus, and because, that too, is a cheap monitor will disappoint me in the end, I just believe it will be alright for a couple of years.

Monitors are like tripods. In the end, you will pay for them!

 

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