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Old March 5th, 2011, 05:09 PM   #1
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Minimum size LCD for perfect focus?

EX1R here. Question is, what would be the minimum size portable HD monitor that would pretty much eliminate focus problems? (Indoors: sports events, speakers, or conferences.)

Have a Hoodman Loupe but don't want to be glued to it. I recently shot a 4 day conference, 25+ hours of footage. Like all of you, I'm very picky about focus and there were a few times when I was really out to lunch — just for a few seconds mind you but with no b-camera there's no hiding it. *ouch!* I found that using the camera's LCD combined with peaking and a pair of low power 1.25x magnifying glasses really helped, but I need a proper HD monitor.

Any ideas as to what minimum size the HD monitor should be to prove useful? Thanks in advance for any input.

Keith

Last edited by Keith Dobie; March 5th, 2011 at 07:59 PM.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 10:16 PM   #2
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Re: Minimum size LCD for perfect focus?

Keith I still use the 6inch LCD monitor I had with the Z1. It's fitted to the Tripod head via a Manfrotto arm. The key really is a) how bad is your eyesight and b) how far away from it are you working?

For me the key is to have the screen independent of the camera so that when the camera's high or low the screen can be tilted to me and when the camera comes off the tripod to go on the fig rig the screen stays where it is.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 10:50 PM   #3
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Re: Minimum size LCD for perfect focus?

Thanks for the response Philip. I hadn't thought about how close to the monitor I'd be that of course would make a world of difference! I like the idea of it being attached to the tripod like you suggest with the 6" monitor. Would prefer it to be close -- less than 60cm or about 20 inches.

I had thought about even using a regular consumer HDTV in the 24 - 32" size but of course it's not always easy to place it close enough to be useful and it would need a table or stand.

My close-up vision is fine (for a 48 y.o.) recently had eye exam. I do like the magnifying 1.25x glasses - recommend them even to people with good vision. With this particular project the venue's light level was quite low and i had to go to 6dB just to get proper exposure. The low-contrast image doesn't make for easy focus. I'm editing it using a 50" plasma so it's very obvious when the focus is out even a bit.

I used to shoot entire hockey games (for news highlights) using just the small LCD on my old JVC DV5000 - focus was just never a problem! HD is a whole lot different.
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Old March 6th, 2011, 07:10 AM   #4
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Re: Minimum size LCD for perfect focus?

The key isn't the size of the LCD, but the resolution. There will be a night and day difference between a 6" 640x480 LCD panel and a 6" 1920x1080 panel, both in cost and use ability. The EX1 LCD is remarkably good with 1920 Horizontal pixels, but it is very small. If the monitors resolution is lower than the cameras resolution then there is the possibility that you may never be able to see those last "sharps" that make the difference between spot on and just off.

I would say that as a minimum you need a full resolution 1280x720 monitor with a good peaking or focus assist system. 6" is the minimum size I would use, 10" is nice. Too big a monitor and you won't be able to work with it mounted on the camera and then you end up looking away to check focus, just as something happens and you miss the action.
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Old March 6th, 2011, 03:04 PM   #5
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Re: Minimum size LCD for perfect focus?

Thanks for the reply Alister. I will look for one with a resolution of 1280x720 as you suggest. I like the idea of the monitor having built-in peaking/focus assist, will put that on my list (I don't think the EX1R has peaking/zebra output).

I'll do some research and report back.
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Old March 6th, 2011, 10:54 PM   #6
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Re: Minimum size LCD for perfect focus?

Hey, I am also interested in anything you turn up. I have about had it with my EX-1 on-camera screen. My visual acuity is well below normal and I just can't focus on the fly. I have one of those sock magnifying glasses which is good in some situations, but takes fiddling with.
The choices I see are:

SmallHD DP6 5.6 HD Monitor > 1280x720 $1300 SDI

IKAN VX7 1024x600 $1000

Marshall ?
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Old March 7th, 2011, 04:05 AM   #7
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Re: Minimum size LCD for perfect focus?

I'm also about to invest in an HD monitor for working with my PMW350 and 5D MK2. The front runner at the moment is the new TV Logic VFM 056W.

'Everything a Broadcast Display Should Be-TVLogic'

It's 1280x800 at 5.6" so should be very sharp. It also has peaking and many other features which put it ahead I think of the other similar monitors available - at a premium price of course. There are two versions - the more expensive model having 3D-SGI, HDMI-SDI loop thorough, Waveform / vector scopes and a few other things. It's 800 for the cheaper of the two versions which still has both HDMI and SDI inputs I believe and around 1,050 for the fully featured one.

Anybody seen one of these yet? The other TV Logic monitors I've seen have been very nice...
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Old March 7th, 2011, 10:10 AM   #8
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Re: Minimum size LCD for perfect focus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
It's fitted to the Tripod head via a Manfrotto arm.
What is the Manfrotto model number on this? I have been looking for one of these.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 10:30 AM   #9
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Re: Minimum size LCD for perfect focus?

That TV Logic looks great. Just looked at a youtube video of it. Love that little transparent, resizable picture in picture waveform monitor. And magnesium! < half pound.
Thanks for the post. Anyone tried it?
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Old March 7th, 2011, 10:51 AM   #10
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Re: Minimum size LCD for perfect focus?

It's probably cheaper to get this: YouTube - It Changed My Life: Mike Kershaw - Operation

;-)

(It was something I shot last year)
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Old March 7th, 2011, 01:26 PM   #11
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Re: Minimum size LCD for perfect focus?

Pretty good surgery video. Eeek! Unfortunately, my visual problems go deeper than the lenses. But that surgery will come my way one day and fix part of my issue. Til then, still looking for a monitor.
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Old March 7th, 2011, 01:46 PM   #12
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Re: Minimum size LCD for perfect focus?

I usually think about 7" is a min good size for a monitor, but anything up to 8.5" is great and still practical to use. Some of the Panasonic ones are awesome, newish Sony OLED looks interesting, esp if using outdoors, and Marshall still seems to be well priced and used by a lot of others I see out and about working.
However, I have been hearing a lot of stories recently about Marshall failing and the being very difficult to get replaced on warranty? Anyone else had problems with new Marshall 7 or 8" hdsdi monitors?
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Old March 7th, 2011, 03:19 PM   #13
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Re: Minimum size LCD for perfect focus?

I use Smallhd DP6-SDI with my PMW-350 and I find it the best in money/screen category.it has everything you need like peaking,focus assist and many other stuff that probably you will never use!!!
The BTLH1700W Panasonic would be the best, I have used it several times and it's just one of best monitors I have ever seen on field and it's about perfect...too bad it's too expensive.
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Old March 8th, 2011, 03:38 AM   #14
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Re: Minimum size LCD for perfect focus?

You have to see an OLED monitor in the flesh to truly appreciate how much better they are. Blacks are black, no motion smear and very bright.
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Old March 8th, 2011, 03:08 PM   #15
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Re: Minimum size LCD for perfect focus?

Alister,
Which smallish monitor(s) do you use or like best?
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