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Old February 3rd, 2010, 02:36 PM   #1
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Focusing Monitor

I am looking to get an LCD, LED or OLED screen to make focusing a lot easier on the 7D, I think 7" should be sufficient, at least it's better than the current tiny screen on the camera, and it's cheap, I am looking at this one.

Amazon.com: Viore PLC7V95 7-Inch Handheld LCD TV with Built-in Tuner: Electronics

Does anyone own this? Anyone have any sub $100 battery powered LCD screens they are using for focusing? I am mostly looking for one that would use disposable batteries or that I can find cheap backup batteries for as well (I have 4 generic backup batteries for my 7D, no problems).

I'm also considering using something like this

Amazon.com: Myvu Solo Plus EV - Standard Edition (Black): Electronics

I am just looking for the cheapest possible solution to help me focus!

All suggestions welcome!
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 03:04 PM   #2
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I'm thinking this probably wont work as well as your hoping. It's probably very low res and I did not see an HDMI input in my quick look at the product.

I've only been able to confidently nail focus with an HD monitor. The cheapest battery powered 720p HD monitor that I'm aware of is the Small HD DP1. It's a great monitor but it's around $800 bucks.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 03:56 PM   #3
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I'm far more willing to rig up a $120 17" monitor with several additional $90 400W mini generator than pay $800 for that, seriously.

Amazon.com: Wagan 400-Watt Power Dome Jumpstarter with Built-In Air Compressor and LED Utility Light: Automotive
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 04:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Burk Webb View Post
I'm thinking this probably wont work as well as your hoping. It's probably very low res and I did not see an HDMI input in my quick look at the product.

I've only been able to confidently nail focus with an HD monitor. The cheapest battery powered 720p HD monitor that I'm aware of is the Small HD DP1. It's a great monitor but it's around $800 bucks.
Hi Burk - I'm in the same boat with my 7D and have been thinking about the Marshall 651ST given Phillip Bloom's glowing recommendation, despite its price. Given the super-bright display, exposure view, and peaking for focus, it looks like THE THING to nail complicated DSLR focusing issues including rack focus, which I understand to be difficult even on an HD monitor unless you're a really good focus-puller.

The SmallHD was on my list as well but I was thinking that resolution alone wasn't good enough for a DSLR - that peaking was important as well, and if price were the limiting factor, I'd go with the Marshall 70P over the SmallHD because of its feature set matching the 651.

Have you had any challenging shots with the SmallHD that the monitor's resolution wasn't enough to help you solve (i.e. rack focus)? Have you used it outdoors and if so, how was it in bright sunlight?
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 04:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonny Norquist View Post
I'm far more willing to rig up a $120 17" monitor with several additional $90 400W mini generator than pay $800 for that, seriously.

Amazon.com: Wagan 400-Watt Power Dome Jumpstarter with Built-In Air Compressor and LED Utility Light: Automotive
Jonny - if you want the cheapest solution for a DSLR, you might consider the Z-Finder by Zacuto as it also adds an element of stabilization to your rig when using it hand-held as well as much improves the focusing capability of the 7D or 5D.

I find that with certain types of equipment you get what you pay for and although I don't know your exact use of your equipment (i.e. in front of paying clients, etc.), but personally I wouldn't want to take away from one of the primary advantage of a DSLR as a portable video device by attaching an inexpensive monitor not built for video-assist and attaching a generator-type thing as a DIY solution. If I were in front of paying clients, the professionalism factor of that sort of set up would also be a concern of mine.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 04:24 PM   #6
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That's not something I considered, but I'm a student and I am not quite shooting video professionally yet. And if professionalism is a factor, I wouldn't expect most clients to understand that a DSLR shoots professional quality video in the first place, they'd probably expect some big fat camcorder.

I'll definitely accessorize with the most aesthetically pleasing gadgets when I can justify the money, but a big power brick like that could serve purposes like powering lighting in addition to a 25watt 18.5" HD LCD monitor.

I know there's better solutions out there than $800 mini-HDTV's, evidently they don't have much competition, yet.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 04:57 PM   #7
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You get what you pay for and an investment in quality always pay dividends in the long run. At present the best sub-$1000 solution is the SmallHD DP-1. It's built like a tank and produces a beautiful image.

In the same price range, you can also get the Ikan v5600.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 05:12 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice guys!

I guess I'll be going with the Z-Finder for now. DP1 is backordered as well.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 05:51 PM   #9
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Hey Ryan, I'm not a fan of Marshall monitors. I've used a bunch of them, granted these were their early models, but have always had problems with them. Noisy picture, low res, power issues introducing noise into the picture, etc.

From what I understand they have sorted that out and the new ones are quite good but pricey. Figured I would take a chance on Small HD because I really liked whet they were trying to do and word of mouth was good. Got the DP1 kit and have been super happy. The monitor is very sharp, great for focusing. I've used it a ton already, outside and inside, rain and shine and the little guy has been a champ.

Great support from the company as well. Had a battery croak and they put another one in the mail right away. One of my favorite things about the monitor is the cool sun hood. It just snaps on, stays put and works great in sunlight.

One of the reasons I like an HD res monitor is I can use it to spot dead pixels. This comes in handy with my JVC GY HD100. I also like the wysiwyg nature of an HD display. It's been my experience that if focus looks sharp on the DP1 it's going to look sharp on my big 1080 set at home.

Jonny - The Zfinder is awesome and should be a big help. I still find it hard to rack with confidence visually using it thought because the camera LCD is still pretty low res. It's a fair bit better than the bare lcd though.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 07:22 PM   #10
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I took a look at a few other monitors, I liked the DP1 the best, but way overpriced. So I dove for the bottom and got this: 819AH 8 HDMI TFT LCD VGA Monitor (no touchscreen) (new) [819AH] - US$219.20 : COOLLCD.com

It is much better than the Ikan, and although its not as good as the DP1 its also $219. I'm sure the resolution and quality on small HDMI monitors is going up and the price is coming down, a year from now we'll probably be able to get something comparable to the DP1 for half the price.

So I figured in the meantime I would try the 819AH 8" HDMI TFT LCD, I needed something for the jib and this monitor is actually surprisingly good.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 07:25 PM   #11
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Hey Ryan, I'm not a fan of Marshall monitors. I've used a bunch of them, granted these were their early models, but have always had problems with them. Noisy picture, low res, power issues introducing noise into the picture, etc.

From what I understand they have sorted that out and the new ones are quite good but pricey. Figured I would take a chance on Small HD because I really liked whet they were trying to do and word of mouth was good. Got the DP1 kit and have been super happy. The monitor is very sharp, great for focusing. I've used it a ton already, outside and inside, rain and shine and the little guy has been a champ.

Great support from the company as well. Had a battery croak and they put another one in the mail right away. One of my favorite things about the monitor is the cool sun hood. It just snaps on, stays put and works great in sunlight.

One of the reasons I like an HD res monitor is I can use it to spot dead pixels. This comes in handy with my JVC GY HD100. I also like the wysiwyg nature of an HD display. It's been my experience that if focus looks sharp on the DP1 it's going to look sharp on my big 1080 set at home.

Jonny - The Zfinder is awesome and should be a big help. I still find it hard to rack with confidence visually using it thought because the camera LCD is still pretty low res. It's a fair bit better than the bare lcd though.
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Old February 3rd, 2010, 09:18 PM   #12
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Yeah, the SmallHD has been my runner-up behind the Marshall and based on price it's edging closer and closer. I'm really going to miss the peaking, and I wish they had SDI input, but oh well. It's a tough call but I'm leaning more and more that direction over the Marshall, given that the price is roughly half after you accessorize the 651 (although you theoretically don't need the sun hood with the 651). Decisions, decisions.
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Old February 4th, 2010, 10:27 AM   #13
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This kind of great info makes me so happy I joined this site! Thanks guys for all your shared information and wisdom!
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Old February 5th, 2010, 01:52 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Spaulding View Post
I took a look at a few other monitors, I liked the DP1 the best, but way overpriced. So I dove for the bottom and got this: 819AH 8 HDMI TFT LCD VGA Monitor (no touchscreen) (new) [819AH] - US$219.20 : COOLLCD.com

It is much better than the Ikan, and although its not as good as the DP1 its also $219. I'm sure the resolution and quality on small HDMI monitors is going up and the price is coming down, a year from now we'll probably be able to get something comparable to the DP1 for half the price.

I think you just convinced me to not go with the DP1 as well...If the technology is advancing as quickly as it seems, by the time I'm proficient shooting on the 7D I should be ready to upgrade my onboard LCD to something in the Marshall range.

Great info brethren! And an awesome site. I've been researching and piecing together my 7D kit to buy this month, and would love to post my choices before taking the plunge to see what you all think.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 02:23 PM   #15
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I just bought the 669 7" model from CoolLCD. Right now, the guy at CoolLCD is letting you contact him and get the $188 price that you typically get from a group buy.

You've probably already seen this?
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