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Old January 31st, 2010, 06:02 AM   #1
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Marshall LCD70P v Ikan VX9 v SmallHD

Marshall LCD70P v Ikan VX9 v SmallHD

Oh for a place that you can walk into with your gear and try out all three monitors, there is only so much you can get from posting on forums…still…here goes.

Im all but set on purchasing the LCD70P HDMI after much deliberation but to be honest Im still wondering if the smallHD isn’t the way to go. I like the features on the Marshall of 1:1 pixel mapping and focus assist peaking and Im sure false color would come in handy BUT I like that the SmallHD is 9” and offers true 720p resolution. Now I see that Ikan have something that is (for me) the middle ground between these two – it is 8.9” plus offers 1:1 pixel mapping and is ALMOST 720p. I guess what I really want to know is how often do these features like 1:1 mapping, peaking etc really get used in the field – particularly in the rush of run and gun type shoots?

Ill be using the monitor with my XH A1s and canon 7D and my theory goes I will start with the Marshall – see how I like it and how often I do use the features and if im not convinced – look to purchase one of the others – try it out, evaluate and sell the one less fitting to my shooting style.

Having said that I was talking with a pro at a hire store and he said that 1:1 mapping on a screen with an 800*480 can be like finding a needle in a hay stack (which I can understand given how tricky the zoom feature on the LCD of the canon 7D can be) meaning the only other thing the Marshall has going for it in terms of focusing is the peaking – which I have heard (one post mind you) can be quite aggressive in that it will supposedly highlight contrasty objects as in focus even though they aren’t?

So I don’t know – should I start with the smallHD or maybe even the VX9 instead? Is there anyone else who has used one and moved to the other?
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 06:11 AM   #2
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Feeling a tad unloved here...

Oh well - Ive ordered the Marshall and it should be here in a week (hopefully). Id be interested in doing some comparisons if anyone in Sydney has either a smallHD or VX9 - drop me a line...
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 09:03 AM   #3
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Peaking is a real nice thing to have esp for the 7D. If SmallHd could implement that into their next model it would be a hit.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 10:40 AM   #4
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Paul,

It will be interesting to see how well you fall in love with the features of the marshall, or out.

Peaking is great but spend some time setting it up w2hile hooked to an HD TV, then spend some time practicing with it. It is not a guarentee against being out of focus, particularly with hd!!

That is why most people are looking for tru HD res monitors!!


wait to hear what you have to say about it.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 10:15 PM   #5
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Paul - I've been agonizing over this issue myself, and kept bouncing between the Marshall 70P/651 and the SmallHD. I just popped for the SmallHD as the 70P was going to be a fair bit more after I got finished with batteries, battery mount, sun cover, all that good stuff that the SmallHD includes in it's $989US price. If only we were closer we could do a side-by-side. Perhaps an internet side-by-side will suffice instead?

My concerns with the SmallHD, as I've pointed out in a couple of other threads on the same issue:

* No peaking
* No exposure/false color except WYSIWYG (hopefully)
* blue-gun mode is a bit "hacky" to me
* no quick-access to features like the marshall has (but doesn't have many special features on top of that anyway)
* not bright in sunlight (comes with hood, though)

My concerns with the Marshall 70P:

* 480p (SD) resolution
* Aggressive and locked-in peaking (I've read this too)
* Price / performance
* Smaller screen than the SmallHD
* Not bright in sunlight (hood will cost $70)

My concerns with the Marshall 651:

* Price / performance - WOW that thing is expensive
* Same aggressive peaking
* 4x3 aspect (not sure that's a big deal for me, though)


I'm tired of sitting around hemming and hawing about the options and trade-offs. I quote a wise man with a sword when I say "ENOUGH TALK!", but then without actually throwing the sword through a dude standing about 20 feet away (Conan). The SmallHD's are going to start shipping on Feb 12 so hopefully I have mine before the end of the month. Drop me a line to ask me how it went.
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Old February 4th, 2010, 05:25 AM   #6
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I realize I must sound like a smallHD shill, but I'm really sold on the resolution thing. I feel like I can tell whats in focus just by looking at the screen. I'm more of a grip than cameraman, so probably a more useful anecdote is the DPs who have played with my dp1 on set and complained when returning to their viewfinder/monitor. If you are used to peaking, you obviously want it. On the other hand, I've had nothing but praise from the DPs who used my smallhd, and have heard the revelation "you can just SEE what is in focus!" several times. It has replaced the primary focus monitor on shoots more than once. (and a few have bought their own dp1)

However, in the end, they are all tools. I'm positive you can find examples of people creating stellar work and people botching focus, contrast and color with every single monitor brand. Its more about the cameraman and how he uses the screen.

My experience is that with the crispness of the dp1's image I never have a desire to switch to a 1:1 mode. I guess it would be cool to have the option, but I certainly dont long for it.

thats my 2c anyways.

Let us know how you like the Marshall. Good kit?

just noticed Ryans post.

about your concerns:
* No peaking
I basically covered that above.

* No exposure/false color except WYSIWYG (hopefully)
I've found the extra resolution to help a great deal with whites. I can see fine details in drapes that look completely blown out on the fx1/ex3 monitor. Because of this, i've been able to "see" overexposures without assistances. But, it certainly doesn't draw you to the problem like a zebra/false color.

* blue-gun mode is a bit "hacky" to me
yeah, its just turning the r and g values to 0. But then... thats really all blue mode does on any monitor. Using blue gun I can get everything -almost- perfect, but never quite gets the reds just right. Very close, and enough that I wouldn't normally notice at all unless looking at the blue bars or a super saturated red object.. Its good on skin tones, so, for me its a non issue. I can at a glance see if a scene is exposed and focused how i want. Its not like i'd start twiddling with the camera settings if something red looks a little undersaturated. On the other hand, other people might. Haven't seen much in the way of forum complaints, but then, the purists might have shied away from buying the dp1.

* no quick-access to features like the marshall has (but doesn't have many special features on top of that anyway)
True. switching inputs is kinda funky, but i never have any reason to touch the controls on a shoot once i have the monitor set up, so its kinda a non issue for me.

* not bright in sunlight (comes with hood, though)
Yup. Can't argue there. Still waiting for some super accurate transflective oled or something that would let us see a perfect image in all conditions.

Dunno if that helps, but thems my 2c!

cheers!
-a
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Old February 4th, 2010, 10:33 AM   #7
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Thought I'd pass on a video link...

It'll give you guys a closer look at the ikan VX9 if any of you are still considering it. Check it out and let me know what you think of it.

We just got it yesterday and posted it to the blog, as well as our Vimeo page.

ikan News Blog

As far as my personal opinion, having only played with the smallHD and the VX9 (of course, lol), I see pro's and con's to each of them and would most likely fall in with Andrew's assessment that while I have a favorite, they are all simply tools to get the job done and different shooters will need different features and their purchases will ultimately be determined by pricing.
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Old February 4th, 2010, 02:15 PM   #8
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Carlos - thanks for the link. I'll check that out.

Andrew - great post. I actually put my order in for the SmallHD yesterday and it starts shipping again on Feb 13th. Based on your comments and the fact that I got tired of flipping back and forth, I decided to pull the trigger and I'll figure it out from here. Worst case, I end up with what is apparently a great monitor missing a few features that I'd want but the trade-offs appear to be worth it. I'm sure I'll love the hell out of it as it'll be better than what I'm used to.

A couple of questions for you since you have some experience with it:

* Do you use the matte screen protectors, or do you stick with the standard glossy look that it comes with? Any mismatch between what you see there vs. what comes out in post to a large enough degree that it bothers you?

* With the EX3 specifically, can you output to the DP1 and still see the built-in LCD as well? I'm thinking that if I really needed peaking, I can still use the built-in LCD for that purpose and use the DP1 as my go-to monitor for the majority of my shooting reference.

* I'm planning on mounting the DP1 on my RedRock shoulder mount - any experience with that set up? Other than increasing the front-weight of the rig (which will be counterbalanced now by pushing the EX1 back further now that I don't need to see the built-in LCD), any thoughts there?


Thanks again for the comments - VERY much appreciated!
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Old February 4th, 2010, 07:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Mitchell View Post
Carlos - thanks for the link. I'll check that out.

Andrew - great post. I actually put my order in for the SmallHD yesterday and it starts shipping again on Feb 13th. Based on your comments and the fact that I got tired of flipping back and forth, I decided to pull the trigger and I'll figure it out from here. Worst case, I end up with what is apparently a great monitor missing a few features that I'd want but the trade-offs appear to be worth it. I'm sure I'll love the hell out of it as it'll be better than what I'm used to.
Now that is an understatement. If you are used to the viewfinder, the dp1 is like you are looking through a window at the scene. Whole different experience.

Quote:
* Do you use the matte screen protectors, or do you stick with the standard glossy look that it comes with? Any mismatch between what you see there vs. what comes out in post to a large enough degree that it bothers you?
I just use it bare. I have my monitor set up with the blacks a little light. This allows me to see what is actually being crushed. So thats not 100% accurate to what i see in post, but its intentional so if i want to grade something up, i know that there is detail there still. To answer your question more directly, I'm never surprised with what i get in post. The small discrepancies i might see while shooting aren't something i'd ever stop to change in-camera.

Quote:
* With the EX3 specifically, can you output to the DP1 and still see the built-in LCD as well? I'm thinking that if I really needed peaking, I can still use the built-in LCD for that purpose and use the DP1 as my go-to monitor for the majority of my shooting reference.
I've messed with a bunch of cameras and things get blurry, but from memory, yes, you can see both. Its hard to break the habit of looking at the built in screen too. heh. With a few cameras we've used both for that reason. (displays on the built in, not on dp1, etc.)

One note: the component connector is horrible on the ex3. Its that tiny little jack with the stupidly long connector on the cable. Its just begging to get snapped off. If you are runnning a rails system, i'd consider getting some extra block or something that you can clamp the component cable to so in case it ever does get whacked, the tension isnt taken by the ex3. 2 of the three ex3 that float around town have unreliable component connectors. i usually have to rig something with gaff tape to keep it from flaking out. Very annoying and disappointing.

Anybody know of a low profile right angle component connector for sony?

Quote:
* I'm planning on mounting the DP1 on my RedRock shoulder mount - any experience with that set up? Other than increasing the front-weight of the rig (which will be counterbalanced now by pushing the EX1 back further now that I don't need to see the built-in LCD), any thoughts there?
My only thought is... a 9" monitor on a shoulder rig is pretty huge. I mounted mine to the pag orbiter kinda as a joke. I liked it more than i thought i would, but its ginormous. Its also kinda hard to find a good place for the monitor that doesn't block your view. My favorite in the end was to hang the monitor down below, facing up at me so when i was looking at the dp1, i could also see my feet (kinda like how a steadicam is mounted, only higher). The funny angle was a bit much for the noga arm, but it was nifty enough i'm thinking i'll try a more solid version. Having the monitor up and above shoulder height i found very awkward as you lose all perspective of what is around your feet when looking up.

As a further gag, i mounted the hv20 to the shoe mount of the camera on the pag, and hooked my mate's dp1 to that on its own noga arm, so i could monitor and shoot 2 angles at the same time. It looked absolutely absurd and the usability was suspect... but you'd get lots of attention walking in with the entire examination sphere from 12 monkeys strapped to your shoulder. I certainly wouldn't want to do an action scene with over half of my field of view blocked, though. hehe.

She's a good little box. Looks sexy too. I reckon you'll be stoked.

cheers!
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Old February 5th, 2010, 08:52 PM   #10
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Andrew - thanks again for the great info. I'm anxious to start shooting with it.

Concerning the connector on the EX1, I'm with you there. I really wanted to grab a monitor with both SDI and HDMI inputs and the VX9 looks like it might be great for that, but I see more comments on the DP1 and the price is great for a comparative feature set. That said, perhaps I can figure out a way to visit Ikan in Houston after I get my SmallHD and see how the two compare if the component output really bothers me. I was trying really hard to avoid it but this is the best I could do for now. I really wish SmallHD had an SDI input... oh well.

Once I get my rig outfitted with the DP1 (I've got some parts on-order from RedRock including their microArm to give the monitor some flexibility for positioning as well as the "missing link" to mount my 7D on their microShoulderMount), I'll try to remember to take some pictures and post them here. A 9" monitor might be huge on a shoulder rig but we'll have to see how it goes - with the articulation arm I'm guessing I can push it out a bit further if I need to. Absolute worst case is that I have to go back to the drawing board a bit wiser about the world of monitors and their uses in various situations and go pick a smaller one up. I can't imagine it'll come to that, but stranger things have happened.

I guess one of the other options is to use the S-Video output on the EX1 - I know very little about S-Video in terms of HD vs. SD, but I'm not sure you can get an HD signal out of S-Video, which would make that approach pointless.

I'm going to take a look around for a compatible component cable and see if it's something I can pick up since I know I'll be using it with the monitor.
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Old February 7th, 2010, 11:16 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the input - appears Im going against the grain with the Marshall but as they have a local distributor here in Sydney for warranty issues PLUS the fact that i can get compatible batteries ( I ordered the CM canon mount battery plate) all over Sydney, those things helped push me that way.

Actually specifically when it came to the battery issue - not sure if ive blown it out of proportion in my mind but Im sure ive seen a number of posts praising SmallHD customer service for quick turn around on dead battery replacement - which for me actually sent up a red flag in that if there is a QC issue with said batteries - I didnt want to be waiting around for overseas deliveries when Im in the middle of a shoot.

Anyway Im also about to order a redrock shoulder mount and plan on attaching the monitor to this - I was a bit concerned how a 9" monitor would fair on this set up so let me know how you go with the DP1 Ryan.

Would still love to check out the DP1 if anyone in Sydney wants to catch up.
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Old February 8th, 2010, 12:35 AM   #12
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Hey Paul - I totally understand your position, and I don't think you're going against the grain at all. Marshall appears to have a great product and people love it. Me, it's still on my list if the DP1 doesn't work how I want it to - and if I ever get to the point of needing two monitors, I'm not sure the Marshall wouldn't be my second or something. I'd love to see one and really try it out, but that's not easily done, it appears. The rental houses over here have marshalls but they don't have the 70P or 651 for some reason - and those are the ones I'd really like to see.

I'll definitely take some pictures once I get the rig finished up. It'll be towards the end of the month is my guess - the DP1 is backordered until the 12th, so I've got a bit of a wait there...

On the RRM shoulder mount, I added both the microMount (just a single - don't need more than one for now) and the extension arm. Pictures I've seen show the monitor mounted directly on the microMount and the arm, so you have options there. I ordered the arm figuring there will be times that I'll have to tilt the monitor up at an angle that the microMount can't manage, or I need to position it closer or further away from me than the handle bar rod would allow directly. We'll see...
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Old March 16th, 2010, 11:55 AM   #13
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Not thrilled with my SmallHD

I shoot HD video for our church service (JVC GY-HD110U). I've been using a LSDesign Carrion monitor for the past year and recently "upgraded" to a SmallHD DP1. I really liked the fact that it was true 720p and was less than half the thickness of my Carrion monitor.

Well, I shot with it on Sunday morning. I was pretty disappointed.

The first thing I noticed right away is the color banding. I thought that I must have something misconfigured, so I looked up the specs (something that should have been done BEFORE we ordered it) and found that it's only 18-bit RGB. So this monitor simply isn't capable of accurately displaying the video I'm shooting.

The next thing I noticed was the background strobing. We use color LED lighting fixtures extensively. Apparently the refresh rate on this monitor is low enough that it catches the LEDs cycling and begins to strobe in waves. REALLY distracting.

Despite the increased resolution, the picture just looks soft. Yes, I played with the brightness, contrast and sharpness until my fingertips were sore from mashing the tiny buttons (a whole other set of gripes). I followed the calibration tutorials on the web site and dialed it in as well as I could. (I've been shooting HD for 3 years. I *know* how to calibrate a monitor.) I never could find the sweet spot on the SmallHD and had to fall back to using the focus assist on my tiny flyout to try to keep the picture sharp.

Even though the resolution is lower on my Carrion monitor, placing them side-by-side the Carrion just blows the SmallHD away in brightness, contrast, color and sharpness.

So overall, I do have to thank SmallHD. They helped me feel a LOT better about the $1,600 we paid for the Carrion. The SmallHD is back in its box and my Carrion is back atop my camera.
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Old March 16th, 2010, 06:31 PM   #14
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Mark - this is good information. However, other than the Carrion, I'm not sure how many professional monitors have 24-bit color. For instance, the Marshall 70P also has 18-bit color (as stated in the product manual), so I don't think that's a reason to discount the DP1.

I do agree with you on the calibration issue - I'm having some issues as well but mostly got it dialed in (I think) - and the buttons I agree with you totally. They evidently changed the way the buttons worked in this last batch such that you can't hold them down to scroll through a value - you have to click them repeatedly and if you hold them down for too long it takes you completely out of whatever setting you're adjusting and to another menu - basically using them as a shortcut. Terrible TERRIBLE change if you ask me and makes adjusting the monitor such a pain in the butt. I asked them about this and they're setting it back in the next set of firmware, but it requires the monitor being sent in for the firmware upgrade.

I haven't shot a project on the monitor yet but am looking forward to it - so I can properly determine the performance of the monitor myself.

Did you send your monitor back or are you selling it?
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Old March 19th, 2010, 06:35 AM   #15
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Hey Mark,

Interesting observations - I looked at the Carrion - DAMN thats one heavy brick of a monitor. Ive actually tried to find the weight of the smallHD but for some reason its completely absent on their website - anyone chime in?

I went for the 7" Marshall but Ive only used it a few times on actual shoots. The first time I didnt use any of its features but remember thinking it was still a bit soft for focusing (could just be me) but then on another shoot I was outdoors on an overcast Sydney morning and I could hardly see a thing on the screen (dont have a sun hood) but I really used the peaking and false colour constantly for focus and exposure as nothing else was really usable in such bright light. So they were a big help then.

Back to the Carrion, off the specs its very close to the SmallHD resolution so I wouldnt expect that you would be blown away by the slight pixel count increase. As Ive always said Id LOVE to compare the monitors (Carrion now included) in a few side by side field tests...
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