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Canon XL H Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XL H1S (with SDI), Canon XL H1A (without SDI). Also XL H1.


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Old March 17th, 2008, 02:38 PM   #1
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Which field monitor are you using? What monitor to buy.

I am currently searching for an external monitor for my XL-H1.

It must have a HD-SDI input and a proper resolution. I am looking at a few different monitors right now from Marshall, Nebtek and Panasonic:

Marshall V-R151DP-AFHD
http://www.lcdracks.com/racks/v-r151dp-afhd.html
$1,999 -- lots of slots. 1,024x768 resolution. Big.

Marshall V-R70P-HDSDI
http://www.lcdracks.com/monitors/vr70phdsdi.html
$1,649. Widescreen. Small. Light.

Marshall V-R104DP-HDSDI
http://www.lcdracks.com/monitors/v-r104dp-hdsdi.htm
$2,299. Slightly better specs (contrast ratio, lux) than the V-R70P, 4:3.

NEB70HDS
http://www.nebtek.com/proddetail.php?prod=102NEB70HDS
$2,349. Looks very nice.

Panasonic BT-LH80 + HD-SDI board
http://catalog2.panasonic.com/webapp...Model=BT-LH80W
$2,800. Ouch. Build-in Waveform.

Are these mounts any good or are there better solutions available?
http://www.lcdracks.com/accessor/mounts.html

What about the quality of these Marshall and Nebtek monitors. Do you use them for focussing or can they also be used for checking colors, exposure and those kind of things? That would be perfect.

And what exactly does the Nebtek upgrade do? I cannot find that.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 07:43 PM   #2
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Floris...

We spent almost a full year searching for a good field monitor.
I'll save you all the major details. We had a Marshall...but had so many problems...Marshall finally took it back and refunded our money. I know people on this forum like them...but we had a bad experience.

We tried an Astro monitor...but it only did HD...and we still shoot SD on ocassion. So...therefore it didn't work for us. But I will say, we have rented Astro monitors before and they look spectacular.

We tried a Sony LCD...and it looked BAD. That's all I can say.

We ended up with a Panasonic BT-LH900A. HD, SD, HDSDI inputs with switching, composite, component, and waveform with a remote. Bottomline...what you see is what you get. No surprises in post. I know, I know...it's expensive. But we figured over the course of 2 years it would pay for itself..and we wouldn't be buying a new monitor every year or so.

The "little brother" of this is the BT-LH80W. I've seen it twice..and it looks nice.

Think about it...don't go cheap if you can. You'll use this on EVERY SHOOT, use it to make CRITICAL decisions and adjustments and with HD...count on it for focusing. Amortize a good monitor over 2 or three years...and it's dollars a day. Small price to pay for "peace of mind".
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Old March 18th, 2008, 12:04 AM   #3
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just to back up Kevins post, my first monitor for my xlh1 had a nice 8" screen, image flip, mutiple types of mounts, and was battery or a.c. powered and best of all it was cheap! it wasn't HD but "high resolution".
When it arrived, I hooked it up and saw that I had the biggest useless image available. this IS were to spend a little extra.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 02:04 AM   #4
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Thanks Kevin and Joe. I will think about what you say. The problem is that the Panasonic is $4,000 which is an awful lot of money. The Marshall can be had for $1,748 with the Anton Bauer gold mount. That's more than half the price, and like you say, overall people tend to like them. Did you have bad luck with your monitor or does it have major design flaws that every model has?

If you don't mind, please do share some details with me. I would like to learn what went wrong and if it could have been a "monday morning" model.

Kevin, which Astro did you buy? I found this one at BH Photo Video:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...3008_8_4_.html
It appears to have HD-SDI/SDI.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 09:38 AM   #5
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Hello Floris,

I haven't tried them, but I read on the dvxuser.com forum that LS Design make great HD monitors, and they do not seem too pricey for what they can do. They're not full HD monitors though, their res is 1024 x 768 pixels.

They're called Carrion monitors. Here's the address where you can check 'em out :

http://www.lsdsgn.com/

3 different designs, but you'll have to scrounge around the internet to find reviews about these monitors. Might be a good idea to start by contacting the company and ask about warranties and such, as it's not as big a company as Panasonic.

Good luck!

Gabe
Fotonik Films
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Old March 18th, 2008, 09:58 AM   #6
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Thanks Gabriel. I am definitely going to look at that monitor. Looks pretty sweet and I really like these homebrew stuff as it is most often very decently constructed and you are handled as a customer and not a number.

I am looking at the most expensive one with 2xHD SDI.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 10:02 AM   #7
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Thanks Joe for the backup !

Floris...

The Astro we USED was an older version...but this is very very similar.
It's an excellent monitor...has an EXCELLENT off angle viewing (170 degrees)...but it's only HD. If you only need HD....then seriously look at it.

FYI...don't be afraid to call the manufacturer like Astro...and have them send a demo. They require a credit card...and you can return it in usually 3-4 days. Also...if you have a local dealer...get them to provide you with some "demo" monitors...so you can try them for yourself. You're about to pay some bucks for a monitor...take them for a test drive. REALLY ! This is what we did.

On the Marshall issue...we owned the V-R84P-SDI. The picture was fine. We had problems where it just quick working. 3 times. We sent it back...and it was a thermal problem. Marshall admitted that it was a design problem...and it wouldn't go away. So you could be in the middle of a shoot and "poof". No picture. Sorry...not acceptable. Also...if you turned up the brightness...all the whites in a scene would "blow out". You would think your exposure was over by 10 IRE. Initially...2 of our DP's came back with footage that was 10-15 IRE UNDEREXPOSED...because they were judging the scene by the monitor. I showed this to Marshall at NAB...made it happen on THEIR monitor at NAB...and got...."well...yeah..."

So...I personally havent' had luck with their product.

I'm not trying to push Panasonic on you...but for 4k...it does do everything...and if you're shooting any SD....it looks as good in SD as the HD does. Call up your rep and get one of those and the LH80W and see the differences/features for yourself.

Again...this isn't the place to skimp. I truly believe I'll have that Pana monitor for easily the next 8 years (we've owned it for 2 now). What piece of video equipment (that's electronic) can you say will last that long ?

There's my little opinion...for what it's worth ! :)
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Old March 18th, 2008, 10:11 AM   #8
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Kevin, I do value your feedback. The only thing I have to consider is my wallet. There is a big difference between a $1,700 marshall and a $4,000 Panasonic. If I had a stockpile of cash, I would not have to think about this and would have already bought the Panasonic monitor. I am not only looking for a monitor, but also at a battery system (AB or IDX) and the 6X WIDE or a 35mm adapter system. So if I could save on the monitor, that is welcome. An on-board waveform is very handy, but it comes at a price. I just have to decide what is good enough for me and how much I am willing to spend / can afford to spend. I am a starting company so I have to spend my money wisely. I have some projects in the weekends but during weekdays, I work for a regular company selling multifunctional printers to businesses.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 08:11 PM   #9
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Floris,

totally understand where you're coming from...Been there and done that.
Every dollar does count.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 05:58 PM   #10
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Kevin,

What are the main differences between the Astro and the Panasonic in terms of quality (besides the waveform monitor and focus in red features)? I am thinking about image quality, brightness, ruggedness, quality of information on the screen overlays). I shoot 90% in HD and if I go to SD, I downconvert in the final stage of my project so for me, a HD only monitor is not a problem. And from what I read on Astro's website, their monitors are HD/SD so I do not understand why they are not compatible when shooting SD footage?

I am also looking at the Panasonic monitors. The BT-LH80 is affordable, around $2,700 and has the same resolution as the Nebtek/Marshall monitors but with a better image quality (from what I have read) and also a waveform and focus in read feature so i guess this one is an option.

The more expensive BT-LH900A has a 1,024x768 resolution. How big is the difference between that and a 800x480 resolution? Does it really matter that much for focussing/exposing or is it just a nice extra to have a bigger screen? I have thought about what you told me and I guess I agree with you. A good focus monitor can have a big impact on the quality of the footage and will reduce errors. Also, having a waveform with me can teach me how to better expose scenes which is something I need to develop.

At this moment, I guess I am leaning towards one of the two Panasonic monitors. I have one big advantage: the EURO - DOLLAR exchange rate is in my favor. It used to be 4000 DOLLAR = 4200 EURO a few years back but now it is like 4000 DOLLAR = 2800 EURO. A big difference.

But please tell me a bit more about the Panasonic and Astro monitors.
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Old March 20th, 2008, 07:58 PM   #11
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Floris,

The Astro model we used (not sure what model number any more)...looked great in HD. The overlay feature is really nice and helpful. But...in SD...it only displayed the image approx. 1/4 of the screen. In essence...it didn't use the entire screen..it was just a small box in the MIDDLE of the screen. I would question them about this feature....can they display a full SD image on their HD monitor. The monitor we had DID NOT...I called them...and they said...yes...that's how SD was displayed. Curious if they "FIXED" that feature on their newer models.

This is not a problem on the Panasonic monitors.

Resolution is everything...so 1024 vs. 800 is quite a difference. I have seen the BT-LH80...and it does look good...but havent' really "tested" it.

Again..if it's possible for you to get any demos from dealers or the manufacturers...I highly suggest it...only YOU can determine what you like and dislike about each monitor.
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Old March 21st, 2008, 05:04 AM   #12
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Kevin, can you mount the BT-L900A on the XL-H1 with an adapter, or is it too heavy to put on the camera? Are there adapters to mount it to the sticks of a tripod? I think that would be the best place to mount it. Thanks!
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Old March 21st, 2008, 06:40 PM   #13
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Really...you couldn't mount the Astro or either of the Panasonic monitors to the camera. It would be way too heavy.

The Panasonics will accept AntonBauer batteries...and with that additional weight...wow...super heavy.

I have Noga arms...of different weight capabilities...for the monitor.

What I suggest is mounting a Noga arm...or something like it...to the base of your camera plate....then bring it around to a side for your viewing.

You aren't going to move your camera/tripod quickly...but it's an okay setup.

I'll take some photos this weekend....and post them so you can see what I mean.
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 04:16 AM   #14
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Thanks Kevin!
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 04:32 AM   #15
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Floris have you looked at the Ikan v8000HD

Alan
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