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Old July 13th, 2008, 03:46 AM   #1
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jib monitor stream of thoughts

Ok, so i need a small 7-8 inch LCD monitor for the advantajib. I was jotting down my options/thoughts and thought it might be useful to share. Got anything to add? Bring it on!

The options seem to be:

1. crappy dvd player with video input and 360x248 rez (eg. every chinese noname model, sony 810fx, etc.)
2. less crappy dvd player with video input 800x480 rez (eg. sony 820fx, some select models from philips, coby, etc.)
3. "car monitor" (generally brighter than #2) with crappy 360x248 rez and DIY battery solution (lilliput, xenarc)
4. decent "car monitor" 800x480 rez and DIY battery solution (lilliput, xenarc etc.)
5. crappy "professional video monitor" with 360x248 rez but component/digital vid inputs ( models by ikan, tote vision, marshall, delvcam, sony and panasonic etc.)
6. decent "professional video monitor" with 800x480 rez with component/digital inputs and usually a battery option (models by ikan, tote vision, marshall, delvcam... sony and panasonic etc.)
7. serious professional video monitor with rez from 1024x768 to actual 1080p (astro, sony, panasonic, etc.)

As a framing monitor, #1 is probably fine, although the cheap displays are often very very dim and extremely fuzzy. You spend over $100 to get one with a moderate backlight, and then you are close to the price of #2, which could be helpful with focusing. On the plus side they have batteries, on the downside, its almost always proprietary.

If you work NTSC, then the $170 sony 820fx is so cheap it would be tempting to stop there and use it as a stop gap until good quality HD monitors are cheap.

Since i work in PAL, and the equivalent sony is over $400US here, that seems like a crappy option. I have considered a phillips or coby dvd player, but coby is... coby. A philips cheapy dvd player with pal input might still be something to consider, but doesn't seem like the best use of funds.

#7 is out for me because the price of these "pro" lcds is really inflated. There are new 1080 lcd panels being made, so the price will drop in the next year as it has the last 12 months going from 320x248 to 800x480. $5,000 for a monitor that should/probably will depreciate 80% in the next 24 months just seems like a bad investment. Plus, for $5k, i can hire a lot of set monkeys to carry around big heavy CRTs for me. hehe.

#5 is out because the image really doesnt look any better than #1. Brighter perhaps, but so is #3 at way less cost. Who cares if it has component "HD" inputs if they are scaled down to icon resolution.

#3 and #1... i'm eliminating those, because we now have viable 800x480 monitors for not much more, so i dont see the point in paying real money for a fuzzy image. 800x480 can have other uses on set. 360x248, not so much.

So that whittles things down to 2,4, and 6.

2. less crappy dvd player with 800x480 rez
4. decent "car monitor" 800x480 rez and custom battery solution
6. decent "professional video monitor" with 800x480 rez with component/digital inputs (and usually a battery option)

#2 varies around $150-250
#4 varies from $250 to $700 (plus battery)
#6 varies from $600 to $3,000

Now the next consideration is brightness.

#2 is usually rated (IF rated) from 80 to 150 nits of brightness. (silly sounding measurement, but its actually candelas per square meter... whatever that means). That puts these units as nicely viewable in total darkness and pretty much invisible in any strong ambient light.

#4 varies from 300 to 1000 nits. 300 is good for indoor sets, even lit ones. 1,000 allows you to see the screen even in direct sunlight with no hood. How well does it look in direct sunlight? I have no idea, but its considered "readable" where 500 requires a sun hood and can still be hard to see on bright days.

#6 also varies from 300 to 1000 nits, but with most units under $2k being closer to 300. Most of these units concentrate on the variety of inputs and assume you'll be in a dark room or at least inside.

After being on several outdoor shoots where we took turns huddled under a towel trying to see the pro sony CRT, it seems that I should be aiming to the high end for nits, especially for jib shots, which are often outside.

So if nits are a priority, then #2 is out. That leaves #4 and #6.

The problem is that on the high end monitors, they dont bother listing nits. The specs sure dont imply they are meant to be daylight readable, say nothing of sunlight readable. I found 1 unit that touted sunlight readibility, but it was $8,000 (and still 800x480).



That all leads me to thinking that #4 might be the ideal solution for a jib monitor. Most companies dont bother with daylight viewable screens, but for around $500 you can get a xenarc 702tsv. This monitor is 7", 16:9 but with a 4:3 inset mode. It has VGA and composite video input and 1,000 nits. it comes with a touch screen for if you hook it up vga, but you can take the unit apart and remove the touch screen to reduce glare. Reports are that you can read the screen even when it is in direct sunlight. Try that with most lcds. In a pinch it could be a battery powered second monitor for a laptop (albeit small) and in theory one of the HD scalers like a mayfly would let you scale down from HD component to vga, if that really is better than the camera scaling down to PAL/ntsc.

Alternately, you can buy a xenarc unit with 380-450 nits for closer to $350, but I'm thinking the "sunlight viewable" might come in handy fairly often on set. For an extra $150 to not have to drape a towel, even at noon, rocks.

You'll need power and a mounting solution for a xenarc. I've looked around at a few. The Tekkeon allpower is a fairly small lithium ion battery solution that could probably be velcroed to the back of the monitor. Also, places like batteryspace have combo packs of chargers and li-ion batteries for $130 or so that are pretty small and neatly contained in a pack with an on/off switch. At a draw of around 8w, a 5000mah li-ion battery pack should go a pretty long time on one charge.

On the cheap side, the 12v 7Amphour (7000mah) lead acid batteries you use in alarm systems should last ages as well, and cost you closer to $15. The lead acid batteries are fairly big, but this is a jib. If i can devise a clean way to hang the battery off the back, then its just more counterweight which i'd be lugging around anyways. For a "directors monitor" i'd either mount the monitor in a hard case w/ the battery or just spring for the tekkeon for such occasions.



I know I've made a few leaps in logic and I'm hoping that anyone with firsthand experience will jump in and confirm/deny them. Any other thoughts/input are welcome too. If i'm being dumb, please tell me.


My assumptions/leaps that I can think of: (in no particular order)

1. I'm assuming that composite video from the camera, scaled to fit 800x480 wont be substantially worse looking than component/digital HD footage scaled to the same size. I mean, in the end, 800x480 is 800x480, right?

2. I'm assuming that the pro features like histogram or blue-only arent worth the additional thousands to get them. (this is more opinion than assumption, really. But thinking about it I can always whip out onlocation for color setups and stuff, then use the lcd for focus/framing.)

3. I'm assuming a 1,000 nit display will be decent to look at. I know it'll be bright, and sunlight readable, but... I can read a lot of stuff that doesn't look very good.

4. I'm assuming that the 702tsv can be dimmed to the point where you can look at while on set indoors without going blind.

5. I'm assuming the colors on a xenarc monitor wont be substantially worse than on other pro monitors.

6. Many 8" lcds have 1/4-20 screw mounts at the bottom. I'm assuming the xenarc does too, or comes with some adaptery thingy to convert from the 1/4-20 to the t-mount track.

7. I'm actually assuming that the 800x480 is significantly better than 320x248. seems like it'd have to be, but until i see something in person, its still an assumption.

8. I guess really, I'm assuming (hoping?) that any two 800x480 screens are going to look somewhat similar, and that a vga touch screen with video scaling circuitry will render good lookin footage. Primary is framing/focus for the jib, secondary is lighting/color of the shot. Not looking for perfection, but how bad is it really?



So thats my thoughts/ramblings/assumptions so far. See anything worth responding to? Major lapses in logic/process?

I'd be curious for any feedback you guys might have.

thanks!

Last edited by Andrew Dean; July 13th, 2008 at 09:56 PM.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 08:17 AM   #2
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If framing is your only concern, then yeah, you'll be fine with any of your listed options. But if you want to be able to get good, solid focus, then you may want to re-think your options and go for something with some really good resolution.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 04:02 PM   #3
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From searching various approved dvi vendors for 8" monitors, it looks like you have to jump up to about $3k to get anything above 800x480(or 800x600 for 4:3) and even then you are only at 1024x768 or 1280x768. Hmm.

Obviously there are features like SDI, blue gun, weight etc that affect pricing/value, but this is just a scratch comparison to find the "sweet spot" for my jib in terms of resolution and brightness. Quite a few people are claiming the 800x480 sony fx820 dvd player with composite input is good enough for critical focusing. I dunno, but thats what they said.:

(i'll edit this post to add more as i find them... at least until i get bored)

Astro Systems DM-3010
8.4" LCD
Screen resolution: doesnt say
Nits: doesn't say
battery: no
price: $5,995

Ikegami HLM-1710WR
Resolution: 1280x768
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
Price: $3,995

Ikegami HLM-910R
Resolution: 1024x768
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: v-mount compatible
price: $3,995

Marshall V-R841DP-AFHD
Resolution: 1024x768
Nits: 400
Battery: v-mount compatible
price: $3,134

Sony LMD-9050
Resolution: 640x480 (4:3)
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: doesn't say
price: $3,010

Marshall V-LCD84SB-AFHD
Resolution: 800x600 (4:3)
Nits: doesnt say but has "sunbright" daylight image enhancements
Battery: no
price: $2,599

Marshall V-R84DP-HD, HDSDI, HDA, 2SDI, 2C (different input options)
Resolution: 800x600 (4:3)
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
price: $2175, $1799, $1699, $1599, $1169

Sony LMD-9030, 9020 (different input options)
Resolution: 640x480 (4:3)
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
price: $2090, $1675

Tote Vision LCD-840TS
Resolution: 800x600 (4:3)
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
price: $1229

Ikan V-8000HD (kit w/ bag and arm)
Resolution: 800x600
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: Sony style lithium ion mount (battery incl)
price: $1049

Cambo CM-840
Resolution: 1024x768
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
price: $885

Tote Vision LCD-840VL
Resolution: 800x600
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
price: $880

Ikan V-8000HD/DK
Resolution: 800x600 (4:3)
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: mount for sony batteries
price: $850

Tote Vision LCD-703HDA
Resolution: 800x480
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: Anton Bauer Gold mount
price: $760

Ikan V-8000HD
Resolution: 800x480
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: sony battery mount
price: $750

Tote Vision LCD-801
Resolution: 320x234
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
price: $589

VariZoom VZ-TFT7U
Resolution: 480x234
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: yes, provided, w/ sun shade
price: $485

TV One LM-701M
Resolution: 380x234
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
price: $429
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Old July 14th, 2008, 04:52 PM   #4
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Hi Andrew...........

If it isn't a rude question, what sort of camera do you have?


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Old July 14th, 2008, 05:40 PM   #5
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A quick profile check.........

tells me FX1.

That still so?


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Old July 14th, 2008, 06:06 PM   #6
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for less than 200$ you can get a Xenarc or Liliput (too bad you mentioned it as crap #3 with low res, because some of these models are among the highest res you can find: 800x480 or 600) with composite input.
you will get nothing else than a decent picture for framing, but just a question. How much you paid for your crane ? and for your camera ?
i do not expect you to pay 3 time the price of your crane for a monitor, so your list is pretty shortened.
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Old July 14th, 2008, 06:44 PM   #7
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I personally have an fx1 and hv20, but most of the use of my gear is for other people's shoots. I have a bit of a ghetto grip truck with matthews dolly, advantajib, various tripods and specialty mounts and a ride-on crane that can fly a camera op and focus puller around 4 meters up. What I hang on the cranes ranges all over the place from dv to hdv on up. I'm flying a red in a few weeks...

I'm in a weird situation because my day job and income is all doing animations and post work, mostly for ad agencies. I have some abstract dream of shooting an indie feature, so i've been slowly "investing" income from odd jobs and istockphoto into the slowest depreciating film gear out there: grip and sound. When i'm between freelance gigs I offer it out along with myself cheap/free to low/no budget filmmakers to get more time on set watching other people making the expensive mistakes, and also to rack up a bunch of favors from other film geeks that I'll be able to call in should I ever get my film together. (Also to have some fun. When a shoot goes well, gripping is a blast)

So it puts me in a weird place, because i have no intention of reclaiming much income from any of my gear, but have a strong motive to get the most bang for the buck. Since LCDs are changing so quickly, they arent a long term gear "investment" strategy, but the advantajib really needs something in order to be useful, so i'm trying to sort out what the best balance is between image quality, brightness, portability, etc. (currently i use the hv20 as the monitor for whatever is flying, but 2.5" is really too small)

If the sony fx820 accepted pal input, i'd probably have gone with the recommendations here and just bought one. Its cheap enough that you aren't risking much. But for $400 for the pal model, i might as well spring another $100 and get a xenarc that you can see in sunlight... (or should i look at something else entirely, hence this thread)

Giroud, I also placed xenarc and liliput in #4, and ended up leaning towards that category at the end of the (absurdly long) post. Sony/Ikan/etc. also make crap resolution monitors as well as good ones.

Anyways, this is all just a stream of conciousness. I've seen other similar posts and found them useful so i thought i'd ramble out loud for others trying to feel out the lay of the land. Apologies to anyone bored/offended by it.
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Old July 15th, 2008, 12:47 AM   #8
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Hi again.....

Can't see why anyone would be bored/ offended by your posts, quite an interesting amount of thought has gone into it - wish a lot more DVinfo'ers would do the same.

The reason for the question re - cam was I had noticed you had an HV 20, and just wanted to make sure you're "significant other" wasn't either an A1 or G1 Canon, which would have made an external monitor for remote focusing a complete waste of time.

However, as it ain't (and you description above of your circumstances was fascinating) guess it's back to the chase.

Sorry I can't help much, as I have a crappy 7" LCD which is truly about as much use as an ash tray on a motorbike for anything other than gross framing, so I'm not in a position to comment on other offerings.

If you're ever down this way, give me a hoi, with your gear and my gear, heck, we could corner the market!


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Old July 19th, 2008, 07:40 AM   #9
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monitors update.

I've updated the list to include most of the monitors i originally discussed:
Please note that many of the below dont have standard 1/4-20 mounting holes. You'll have to be creative.

I've made no consideration for types of inputs. I'm still unconvinced that an in-monitor downscaler to 800x480 from HD is any different/superior to the downscaler to SD composite already on most cameras.


Astro Systems DM-3010
8.4" LCD
Screen resolution: doesnt say
Nits: doesn't say
battery: no
price: $5,995

Ikegami HLM-1710WR
Resolution: 1280x768
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
Price: $3,995

Ikegami HLM-910R
Resolution: 1024x768
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: v-mount compatible
price: $3,995

Marshall V-R841DP-AFHD
Resolution: 1024x768
Nits: 400
Battery: v-mount compatible
price: $3,134

Sony LMD-9050
Resolution: 640x480 (4:3)
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: doesn't say
price: $3,010

Marshall V-LCD84SB-AFHD
Resolution: 800x600 (4:3)
Nits: doesnt say but has "sunbright" daylight image enhancements
Battery: no
price: $2,599

Marshall V-R84DP-HD, HDSDI, HDA, 2SDI, 2C (different input options)
Resolution: 800x600 (4:3)
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
price: $2175, $1799, $1699, $1599, $1169

Sony LMD-9030, 9020 (different input options)
Resolution: 640x480 (4:3)
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
price: $2090, $1675

Tote Vision LCD-840TS
Resolution: 800x600 (4:3)
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
price: $1229

Ikan V-8000HD (kit w/ bag and arm)
Resolution: 800x600
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: Sony style lithium ion mount (battery incl)
price: $1049

Cambo CM-840
Resolution: 1024x768
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
price: $885

Tote Vision LCD-840VL
Resolution: 800x600
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
price: $880

Ikan V-8000HD/DK
Resolution: 800x600 (4:3)
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: mount for sony batteries
price: $850

Tote Vision LCD-703HDA
Resolution: 800x480
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: Anton Bauer Gold mount
price: $760

Ikan V-8000HD
Resolution: 800x480
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: sony battery mount
price: $750

mp3car transflective LED backlight
Resolution: 800x480
Nits: doesn't say, but transflexive helps.
Battery: no
price: $675

Tote Vision LCD-801
Resolution: 320x234
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
price: $589

Xenarc 702tsv
Resolution: 800x480
Nits: 1,000
Battery: no
price: $499

VariZoom VZ-TFT7U
Resolution: 480x234
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: yes, provided, w/ sun shade
price: $485

TV One LM-701M
Resolution: 380x234
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
price: $429

manhattanlcd 7.2 Sharp Kit (seems to be component input only, no composite)
resolution: 1280x768
Nits: doesn't say
Battery: no
price: $399

xenarc 700tsv
Resolution: 800x480
Nits: 500
Battery: no
price: $365

Lilliput 629GL-70NP
Resolution: 800x480
Nits: 300
Battery: no
price $299

xenarc 705TSV
Resolution 800x480 (lower quality scaler than other xenarcs though)
Nits: 450
Battery: no
price: $299

lilliput 889GL-80NP/C/T
Resolution: 800x480
Nits: 400
Battery: no
price: $268

Lilliput: 809GL-80NP/C/T-BLACK
Resolution: 640x480 (4:3)
Nits: 380
Battery: no
Price: $260

Lilliput 619GL-70NP
Resolution: 800x480
Nits: 300
Battery: no
price: $253

Sony FX820 dvd player (ntsc)
Resolution: 800x480
Nits: unknown
Battery: yes
price: $170
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Old July 19th, 2008, 02:20 PM   #10
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The other < $200 External Monitor thread played to completion and was mostly about DVD players. I bought the Sony FX820 which is convenient and useful. However, I learned after the fact that the zoom focus is not output to the component and video outputs. Major bummer. So, the LCD + zoom is equivalent to having the DVD player viewer.

Here is an interesting 1280x768 7" LCD kit posted in a thread from dpreview.com . The interesting part is that the ability to mount the LCD with a long tether to the main board. I could see the LCD on a very thin jib arm while the rest of the package would sit in the back of a shoulder mount brace such as the Vortex. I wonder how sturdy the LCD would be without a major plastics casing project. The remote control is interesting. I wonder if there is any support for zooming.

7" LCD at 1280x768
http://www.manhattanlcd.com/ProductD...Show=TechSpecs

10.9" Toshiba 1366x768
http://www.manhattanlcd.com/ProductD...oductCode=1001

15.4" Samsung at 1900x1200
(1900 probably a typo as specs say it supports 1920x1080)
http://www.manhattanlcd.com/ProductD...oductCode=1004
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Old July 19th, 2008, 04:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gints Klimanis View Post
Here is an interesting 1280x768 7" LCD kit posted in a thread from dpreview.com .

Actually, I saw you mention that monitor in another thread, so i included it in the list i posted yesterday. I didnt bother with the 10 or 15", since they are beyond the 7-8" range i'd been sticking to.

Thanks for the input!
-a
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Old July 20th, 2008, 12:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Dean View Post
Actually, I saw you mention that monitor in another thread, so i included it in the list i posted yesterday. I didnt bother with the 10 or 15", since they are beyond the 7-8" range i'd been sticking to.
-a
Thanks for those lists. Your 7-8"size limits are about right for portability, but after using the Sony FX820, I'm left needed something better. I like the 12v 7Amphour (7000mah) lead acid battery you mention as it will function as a counterweight on the Vortex shoulder mount I'm using with my Sony EX1.
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Old July 27th, 2008, 07:19 PM   #13
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hmm.

This is kinda cool.

i-techcompany.com's DOD8400AV
Resolution: 800x600
Nits: 800
Battery: no
Price: $2,700

What makes it cool is that it is waterproof to IP68 NEMA 6P standards. You could use it as a director monitor without worrying about spit-takes.
vga, composite and s-video inputs.

hmm. I think what i really want is a monitor that doesn't exist now, but will probably only cost $400 in 2 years.
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 12:16 AM   #14
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cowon a3? hmm.

Ok, so this is the most off the wall consideration i've had so far, but the cowon a3 portable media player (i-pod like thing) also has an 800x480 screen. The unit has no published nits measurement, and the screen is only 4". The up side is that you can record the takes as you shoot for instant playback... cool for continuity and great for directors that cant seem to pay attention during the shoot and are constantly asking for playback..

4" is mighty small, but in theory could be mounted further back on the jib. As a director monitor it might be even better (built in battery, less cumbersome) and ultimately its the exact same resolution as the larger monitors... hmm. i dunno. also might be too dim for outdoor use.

Anybody out there know anyone with a cowon a3 they could plug a camera into and see how the image looks? I'm also wondering whether you can use it as a monitor without encoding (which would likely induce lag)

With 7 hour battery, the ability to record and a usefulness betweeen shoots and only a $350 price tag for the 60 gig version, i'm at least curious.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 06:38 AM   #15
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cowon a3 revisited

I went and did a hands-on with the a3 today. man that is a sweet screen. Its *so* close to what i'd want that it is frustrating. 7-8 hour real world battery life when viewing OR recording. . screen is nice and bright and seems to have something transflexive going on, as it looked quite clear in bright lighting.

The big downfall is that you can only view 4:3 when recording. If you are shooting 4:3 then you'll have 640x480 pixels displaying your image... Which is amazing. However, if you are shooting 16:9, then to display the whole image, you'll have to letterbox the output on your camera. So the actual useable screen rez when shooting 16:9 is is 640 wide by (check my math here) 360 tall. and an image that uses a lot smaller amount of the screen.

I dunno. 640x360 isnt a terrible rez, certainly better than last year's 360x272 "pro" monitors. But i'm not sure if thats much better than the onboard lcds on most cams. Not sure about the rez, but the image would be around the physical size of the lcd on the hv20.

As soon as you are finished recording, ( 720x480 image, regardless of pal or ntsc... weird) you can play the clip back using the full screen size... but that doesnt really help while shooting.

Here's an interesting picture of the a3 showing a 4:3 source. You can visualize a letterboxed image within that space. http://nightwing.smugmug.com/gallery...68755067/Large

If i were shooting 4:3, i'd be all over this. I might be anyways. Its really hard to describe how nice the high rez screen is. It feels like you are looking at a high end field monitor that is a foot or so further away.

I also found out that you can record from an s-video source. I dont think it would make much difference but the option is there.

hmm.
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